Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Predator's Gold

Predator's Gold

Philip Reeve
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic Press, 2012   ISBN: 978-0545222129

Tom and Hester have found a new and very satisfying life for themselves. In the “Bird Roads” above an Earth that is covered with the tracks of the mobile or “traction” cities, they travel in the Jenny Hanniver, an airship that they ‘borrowed’ during the terrible events that led up to the destruction of the traction city of London. Tom still misses London, his old home, but he has found comfort in this new life. He and Hester are a couple now, happy in each other’s company and in their mutual love for one another.

This state of affairs is soon over however, for Tom and Hester have enemies who want to get the Jenny Hanniver back. They also want Tom and Hester for some reason. These enemies are to be feared because they have an agenda, one which goes beyond acquiring material goods or security. The Green Storm, as they call themselves, are determined to put an end to traction cities all together, seeking a different way of life for all people. The problem is that they seem to have no limits as to what they will do to achieve their goal. They seem to value human life very little, and have plans that border on the diabolical.

As the backdrop to this ‘battle’ there is the story of Anchorage, a traction city that is almost a ghost city because of a plague which  killed or drove away most of the inhabitants. Those who are left have to find a new life for themselves. One of these survivors is Freya Rasmussen, who is the leader of the city, the “margravine”. The city cannot go on as it is, barely surviving as it trundles across the icy north country. Something has to be done, but what?

Hester, Tom, Anchorage, the Green Storm group, and a band of highly successful young thieves come together in this gripping story, each of them having a goal that is often the opposite of the others. Somehow they need to find a way to survive in their damaged world, to find their place in the strange order that exists around them.

Superbly written and very hard to put down once started, this second book in Philip Reeve’s series, is, if anything, even better than the first book was. The characters that we met in “Mortal Engines” develop further, and we begin to see that life on a traction city has little to commend it. We get the sense that Tom and Hester’s world is heading for great change, and hope that they will be able to ride the wave that is racing towards them, a wave of change that will surely transform their world forever.