Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Tripods: The White Mountains

The Tripods: The White Mountains

John Christopher
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2003   ISBN: 978-0689856723

Will has spent his entire life in his small village. Just like everyone else, he does not know much about the world outside. He knows that alien machines called Tripods are somehow in charge and he knows that he, like everyone else, will be Capped when he is fourteen. He and his cousin Jack talk about what it would be like to go Uncapped, what it would be like to roam free. They wonder if the Capping takes something away from a person.

After Jack is Capped, Will is sure that something has been done to his cousin. Somehow, Jack is no longer the person Will used to spend time with. He has lost some vital spark, and Will does not want to be changed in the same way. While Will is struggling with these important thoughts, a Vagrant comes to the village. At least he seems to be a Vagrant - a person whose Capping did not work. Soon enough Will discover that the man, Ozymandias, is only pretending to be a Vagrant. In fact, he is a free man who travels around the country looking for young people who do not want to be Capped. He tells Will and his friends the truth about the Tripods, and he tells them that they can find freedom in the White Mountains.

Will leaves the only home he has known to join others who do not want to lose their free will to the Tripods. The journey is a long and dangerous one, and there is no guarantee that Will will be able to reach his destination.

In this interesting and entertaining story, John Christopher takes his readers to a world that is under the cruel and oppressive control of the Tripods, huge metal machines that use metal caps to control the human population of the planet. He shows his readers how the desire to remain free can grow in a person, and how that desire can drive an ordinary person to do extraordinary things. Readers will enjoy seeing the characters develop and grow as they come to appreciate the true, and terrible, extent of the Tripods' rule.