Friday, 10 April 2009

Predators Gold - Philip Reeve

Read: October 2007

Having escaped London shortly before it exploded, Hester and Tom have been excelling in the freedom of normality. They spend their days flying the bird routes, carrying passengers and cargo between cities and falling ever more in love. They are approached by the eminent ‘historian’ Professor Penneyroyal to carry him to Brighton but when the Jenny Haniver is attacked by a group calling themselves the Green Storm, they are soon drawn into another adventure, one that will put both their courage and their relationship to the ultimate test.

Forced to make an emergency landing on the last American City of Anchorage as she ploughs her way across the Ice Wastes of Greenland they find themselves aboard a once grand city ravaged by plague and led by Freya, a sixteen year old girl who doesn’t even know how to dress herself. There are less than fifty people left, but the arrival of Professor Penneyroyal seems the answer to Freya’s prayers – as author of the bestselling book America the Beautiful there can be no better man to navigate them back to what was once America, the Dead Continent and the green planes that await them there. But as they navigate a course across the thinning ice there are questions which no-one seems to be able to answer: did Penneyroyal really do all the things he claims in his books? With Tom happily back aboard a Traction City and Freya developing a fancy for him, can Hester and Tom withstand the pressures being placed upon their relationship? Can Anchorage survive the journey to America without being eaten by the vast hulk of Archangel who will pay handsomely to anyone willing to take Predator’s Gold in exchange for information on the location of smaller cities it can eat? And with the Green Storm gaining strength and influence within the Anti-Traction League is it only a matter of time before they declare all out war on the very existence of the Traction Cities.

Predator’s Gold is the rip-roaringly exciting second title in Philip Reeve’s award winning Mortal Engines quartet. With its rapidly unfolding plot and superb characterisation it carries the reader on a fast-paced and varied journey into the heart of the Traction City world, where no-one is ever quite who they seem to be. Hester and Tom are fabulous characters and here they are joined by a vast array of great creations such as the hapless Freya and Caul, a Lost Boy who spends his time robbing bigger cities in service of a man known only as Uncle.

If anything, Predator’s Gold is even better than Mortal Engines. Its plot is faster, the background even more developed and in Hester and Tom the world of children’s literature has found two really wonderful characters. As they visit new cities their world grows deeper and ever more complex and the unexpected usually lurks just around the next corner. Philip Reeve has created a terrific world which will carry you along with the story just as if you were aboard a Traction City yourself.

8 out of 10

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