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Authors: Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines

BOOK: Mortal Engines
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Praise for Philip Reeve’s novels

“Big, brave, brilliant”
Guardian

“Phenomenal… Violent and romantic, action-packed and contemplative, funny and frightening”
The Sunday Times

“A marvellous book, utterly captivating in its imaginative scope and energy. The only flaw I can see is the difficulty of putting it down between chapters”
Daily Telegraph

“Witty and thrilling, serious and sensitive, the
Mortal Engines
quartet is one of the most daring and imaginative adventures ever written”
Books for Keeps

“Reeve is a terrific writer”
The Times

“A masterpiece”
Sunday Telegraph

“Mind bogglingly well-imagined”
Independent

“If you’ve never read a Philip Reeve novel before, you’re in for a treat. His storytelling is accomplished and his use of language most ingenious and irreverent”
Waterstone’s Books Quarterly

“Philip Pullman fans will love Mortal Engines… I didn’t want it to end”
Daily Telegraph

“Intelligent, funny and wise”
Literary Review

“Philip Reeve is a hugely talented and versatile author… the emotional journeys of his characters are enthralling, never sentimental and always believable”
Daily Telegraph

“A magnificent story and one of the most compelling things I have read so far this year”
Bookseller

“Wonderful fantasy… Reeve has managed to marry the hugeness of his imagination with an utterly compelling story line”
Anthony Horowitz

“Ripping and intelligent”
The Sunday Times

“Astonishing”
Scotsman

“Reeve’s writing style is as spare and muscular as a whippet”
Geraldine McCaughrean

“Beautifully written without a dull word”
Independent

“When I first read Mortal Engines, I felt as if the pages themselves were charged with electricity”
Frank Cottrell Boyce,
Guardian

“Extraordinary… The book has pace, depth, action and violence”
The Sunday Times

“There’s a fabulous streak of frivolity running through everything that Reeve writes…Like many of the great writers who can be read happily by both adults and children, Reeve uses the frivolity to hide his own seriousness”
Guardian

“Much more than a ripping yarn”
Books for Keeps

“Reeve writes with confidence and power. He is not only a master of visceral excitement, but at every turn, surprises, entertains and makes his readers think”
Books for Keeps

“Its violence, conflict and rivalries are beautifully offset by its wit and jocular mischief… sparkling, brilliantly paced pages”
TES

“Post-apocalyptic fiction does not come much more entertaining than this”
Irish Times

“A brilliant central conceit… The story has a dreamlike intensity”
Independent

“Electrifying”
Booktrust.co.uk

“Superbly imagined”
The Times

“A staggering feat of award-winning storytelling aplomb”
John McLay

“The idea behind Philip Reeve’s
Mortal Engines
books has other authors crying ‘I wish I’d thought of that!’”
Geraldine McCaughrean,
Daily Telegraph

“Original, vivid and thrilling”
Scotsman

“Reeve’s villains are never wholly bad, nor his heroes wholly good, and his messages linger long”
Independent

“He conveys big truths while being witty and playful, and the vocabulary is rich”
Nicolette Jones,
The Sunday Times

About the Author

PHILIP REEVE
was born in Brighton in 1966. After school he went to art college, then returned to Brighton to work in a small, independent bookshop. Some years later he became an illustrator – providing cartoons for various books, including several of the
Horrible Histories
series. He has been writing since he was five, but
Mortal Engines
was his first published book. He lives with his wife and son on Dartmoor.

www.philip-reeve.com
www.philipreeve.blogspot.com
www.mortalengines.co.uk

By Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines
Predator’s Gold
Infernal Devices
A Darkling Plain
Fever Crumb
A Web of Air
Scrivener’s Moon
Here Lies Arthur

No Such Thing As Dragons

Larklight
Starcross
Mothstorm

PHILIP REEVE

For Sarah

CONTENTS

Cover

Praise for Philip Reeve’s novels

About the Author

By Philip Reeve

Title Page

Dedication

PART ONE

1 THE HUNTING GROUND

2 VALENTINE

3 THE WASTE CHUTE

4 THE OUT-COUNTRY

5 THE LORD MAYOR

6 SPEEDWELL

7 HIGH LONDON

8 THE TRADING CLUSTER

9 THE
JENNY HANIVER

10 THE
13TH FLOOR ELEVATOR

11 AIRHAVEN

12 THE GASBAG AND GONDOLA

13 THE RESURRECTED MAN

14 THE GUILDHALL

15 THE RUSTWATER MARSHES

16 THE TURD TANKS

17 THE PIRATE SUBURB

18 BEVIS

19 THE SEA OF KHAZAK

20 THE BLACK ISLAND

21 IN THE ENGINEERIUM

22 SHRIKE

23 MEDUSA

PART TWO

24 AN AGENT OF THE LEAGUE

25 THE HISTORIANS

26 BATMUNKH GOMPA

27 DR ARKENGARTH REMEMBERS

28 A STRANGER IN THE MOUNTAINS OF HEAVEN

29 GOING HOME

30 A HERO’S WELCOME

31 THE EAVESDROPPER

32 CHUDLEIGH POMEROY SEES IT THROUGH

33 WINE AND NIBBLES AND THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA

34 IDEA FOR A FIREWORKS DISPLAY

35 THE CATHEDRAL

36 THE SHADOW OF BONES

37 THE BIRD ROADS

Acknowledgements

Copyright

1
THE HUNTING GROUND

I
t was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.

In happier times, London would never have bothered with such feeble prey. The great Traction City had once spent its days hunting far bigger towns than this, ranging north as far as the edges of the Ice Waste and south to the shores of the Mediterranean. But lately prey of any kind had started to grow scarce, and some of the larger cities had begun to look hungrily at London. For ten years now it had been hiding from them, skulking in a damp, mountainous, western district which the Guild of Historians said had once been the island of Britain. For ten years it had eaten nothing but tiny farming towns and static settlements in those wet hills. Now, at last, the Lord Mayor had decided that the time was right to take his city back over the land-bridge into the Great Hunting Ground.

It was barely halfway across when the look-outs on the high watch-towers spied the mining town, gnawing at the salt-flats twenty miles ahead. To the people of London it seemed like a sign from the gods, and even the Lord Mayor (who didn’t believe in gods or signs) thought it was a good beginning to the journey east, and issued the order to give chase.

The mining town saw the danger and turned tail, but already the huge caterpillar tracks under London were starting to roll faster and faster. Soon the city was lumbering in pursuit, a moving mountain of metal which rose in seven tiers like the layers of a wedding cake, the
lower levels wreathed in engine-smoke, the villas of the rich gleaming white on the higher decks, and above it all the cross on top of St Paul’s Cathedral glinting gold, two thousand feet above the ruined earth.

Tom was cleaning the exhibits in the London Museum’s Natural History section when it started. He felt the tell-tale tremor in the metal floor, and looked up to find the model whales and dolphins that hung from the gallery roof swinging on their cables with soft creaking sounds.

He wasn’t alarmed. He had lived in London for all of his fifteen years, and he was used to its movements. He knew that the city was changing course and putting on speed. A prickle of excitement ran through him, the ancient thrill of the hunt that all Londoners shared. There must be prey in sight! Dropping his brushes and dusters he pressed his hand to the wall, sensing the vibrations that came rippling up from the huge engine-rooms down in the Gut. Yes, there it was – the deep throb of the auxiliary motors cutting in,
boom, boom, boom,
like a big drum beating inside his bones.

The door at the far end of the gallery slammed open and Chudleigh Pomeroy came storming in, his toupee askew and his round face red with indignation. “What in the name of Quirke…?” he blustered, gawping at the gyrating whales, and the stuffed birds jigging and twitching in their cases as if they were shaking off their long captivity and getting ready to take wing again. “Apprentice Natsworthy! What’s going on here?”

“It’s a chase, sir,” said Tom, wondering how the Deputy Head of the Guild of Historians had managed to
live aboard London for so long and still not recognize its heartbeat. “It must be something good,” he explained. “They’ve brought all the auxiliaries on line. That hasn’t happened for ages. Maybe London’s luck has turned!”

“Pah!” snorted Pomeroy, wincing as the glass in the display cases started to whine and shiver in sympathy with the beat of the engines. Above his head the biggest of the models – a thing called a blue whale that had become extinct thousands of years ago – was jerking back and forth on its hawsers like a plank-swing. “That’s as may be, Natsworthy,” he said. “I just wish the Guild of Engineers would fit some decent shock-absorbers in this building. Some of these specimens are very delicate. It won’t do. It won’t do at all.” He tugged a spotted handkerchief out of the folds of his long black robes and dabbed his face with it.

“Please, sir,” asked Tom, “could I run down to the observation platforms and watch the chase, just for half an hour? It’s been years since there was a really good one…”

Pomeroy looked shocked. “Certainly not, Apprentice! Look at all the dust that this wretched chase is shaking down! All the exhibits will have to be cleaned again and checked for damage.”

“Oh, but that’s not fair!” cried Tom. “I’ve just dusted this whole gallery!”

He knew at once that he had made a mistake. Old Chudleigh Pomeroy wasn’t bad as Guildsmen went, but he didn’t like being answered back by a mere Third Class Apprentice. He drew himself up to his full height (which was only slightly more than his full width) and frowned so sternly that his Guild-mark almost vanished between his bushy eyebrows. “
Life
isn’t fair, Natsworthy,” he
boomed. “Any more cheek from you and you’ll be on Gut-duty as soon as this chase is over!”

BOOK: Mortal Engines
9.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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