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Mortal Engines

Written by Philip Reeve

Part of the Mortal Engines Quartet Series

Key Stage 3 Adventure Stories Science Fiction

LoveReading View on Mortal Engines

The first book in the award-winning Mortal Engines quartet.

A stunning blend of past and future technologies, Mortal Engines sets the scene for a stunning quartet of action-packed novels set in a richly inventive world in which wheeled cities hunt each other across the dried up sea bed. Big cities gobble up smaller ones and London rules above them all. Tom Natsworthy, a third class apprentice in the Guild of Historians, has the adventure of his life after he sets out to try to find out what has happened to his parents. With a cast of inventive characters including Shrike, Anna Fang and Stalker, a deadly robot killer with a human brain, and cities whose imaginary and multi-layered architecture dazzles, this is a creation on a vast and imaginary scale.

Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

More About This Book

Chosen by our Guest Editor April 2021 Geraldine McCaughrean; I reckon the inside of Philip Reeve’s head must be the size of a small country. Inside there are airships, cities on wheels, hurtling trains, half-human robots and black holes.

Begin with Mortal Engines, because if it grabs you, there are continuation and spin-off books enough to keep you busy for a year. ..And then there’s RailHead – a different, equally fraught, futuristic maelstrom of adventure.  

Chosen by our Guest Editor June 2020, Martin Brown;  The first in the series about a bleak future where monstrous mobile cities roam the wasteland. This is ripping yarn and wild imagination at it’s best.

Chosen by our Guest Editor April 2021, Charlie Higson; "Reeve is my favourite living children’s author. His book, Here Lies Arthur, is a really clever and exciting reworking of the King Arthur legends that looks at the power of story telling, and his Predator Cities quartet was one of the series I looked at when I was starting to write for kids. I wanted to take the temperature, get some tips and pointers – how complex could you make the stories? How much violence was permitted? Could you kill off swathes of favourite characters? The answer was you can do what you like if you write well and draw your readers in, two things that Reeve does masterfully. The concept of this series – that in the future the oceans will dry up and our cities will be placed on giant caterpillar tracks so that they can trundle around fighting each other, is irresistible. Even if you think you don’t like sci-fi, you’ll love these adventures.

Mortal Engines Synopsis

In a dangerous future, huge motorized cities hunt, attack and fight each other for survival. As London pursues a small town, young apprentice Tom is flung out into the wastelands, where a terrifying cyborg begins to hunt him down.

Mortal Engines launched Philip Reeve's brilliantly-imagined creation, the world of the Traction Era, where mobile cities fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic future. Mortal Engines won the coveted Gold Smarties Award.

Now a feature film of the same name, starring Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan and Hugo Weaving. Produced by Lord of the Rings director, Peter Jackson.

Mortal Engines Press Reviews

'No 11-to-16-year-old should miss the superbly imagined debut novel from Philip Reeve' - The Times

'This big, brave, brilliant book combines a thrilling adventure story with endless moral conundrums' - The Guardian

‘The Mortal Engines quartet is one of the most inventive and ambitious
children’s novel sequences of recent years’ - Nicolette Jones

Praise for Philip Reeve's Fever Crumb:

‘Conveys big truths while being witty and playful...clever and moving’ - The Sunday Times 

‘Intelligent, funny and wise’ - Literary Review 

‘I felt as if the pages themselves were charged with electricity... Fever Crumb is a terrific read, a sci-fi Dickens, full of orphans, villains, chases and mysteries’ - Frank Cottrell Boyce, The Guardian

‘Reeve drives his juggernaut of a talent through the streets of a mob-crazed futuristic London with Cecil B DeMille grandeur. Resent being suckered into sequels? Fever Crumb is a complete story – but it may prove addictive’ - Geraldine McCaughrean, Daily Telegraph 

‘Mind bogglingly well-imagined’ - Independent

‘Brilliant… an absorbing and emotionally engaging work’ - Amanda Craig, The Times

Book Information

ISBN: 9781407189147
Publication date: 5th July 2018
Author: Philip Reeve
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 336 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 3
Topics: Adventure Stories, Science Fiction

About Philip Reeve

Philip Reeve was our Guest Editor for June 2012. Click here to see his books and some that inspired him. Philip Reeve was born and raised in Brighton, where he worked in a bookshop for years while also producing and directing a number of no-budget theatre projects. Philip then began illustrating and has since provided cartoons and jokes for around forty books, including the best-selling Scholastic series Horrible Histories, as well as Murderous Maths and Dead Famous. He's been writing stories since he was five, but Mortal Engines was the first to be published. Mortal Engines defies easy categorisation. It is ...

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