Infernal Devices (The Hungry City Chronicles Series #3)

Infernal Devices (The Hungry City Chronicles Series #3)

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by Philip Reeve

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The third thrilling book in the stunning Predator Cities series! The mighty engines of Anchorage have been rusted and dead for years. The derelict city no longer roams the Ice Wastes, but has settled on the edge of the land that was once America. Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw are happy in the safety of a static settlement, but their daughter, Wren, is desperate for


The third thrilling book in the stunning Predator Cities series! The mighty engines of Anchorage have been rusted and dead for years. The derelict city no longer roams the Ice Wastes, but has settled on the edge of the land that was once America. Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw are happy in the safety of a static settlement, but their daughter, Wren, is desperate for adventure. When a dangerously charming submarine pirate offers her a chance to escape, Wren doesn't think twice about leaving her home and her parents behind. But the pirate wants something in return--Wren must steal the mysterious Tin Book. To do so will ignite a conflict that could tear the whole world apart.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve wraps up the Hungry City Chronicles. Here Wren, the daughter of Tom and Hester-introduced in Mortal Engines (in a starred review of it, PW wrote, "Like the moving cities it depicts, Reeve's debut novel is a staggering feat of engineering")-steals an Old Tech book and draws her parents back into battle. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
This science fiction novel is the third in "The Hungry City Chronicles." While the almost human robots and floating cities of this future world provide the futuristic science fiction element, the political power struggles, oppression, and tensions between parents and teens that fill the plot are always current. This story is set 20 years after the two previous entries; here the focus is on Wren, the teenage daughter of Tom and Hester who were the focus of the two earlier novels. She runs away, is kidnapped and enslaved as the good guys and bad guys struggle to find the Tin Book of Anchorage. Readers new to this series, especially if they are not sci-fi fans, are likely to have some trouble getting oriented, but the action is likely to draw them in. Like many other entries in the genre, Reeve uses the future setting to satirize the contemporary world. Nevertheless, the characterization feels contrived in places, and the shifting point of view is sometimes clumsy. All in all, this is a competent and generally engaging science fiction.
This third volume in the Hungry City Chronicles takes place sixteen years after the events of Predator's Gold (HarperCollins, 2004/VOYA October 2004). Fifteen-year-old Wren Natsworthy, daughter of Tom and Hester, has grown up in Anchorage-in-Vineland, an ice city in a forgotten corner of the Dead Continent. Naturally, she does not get along with her mother and thinks that her father is nice but boring. So when one of the Lost Boys shows up and asks Wren to find an artifact called the Tin Book for him, she agrees, thinking that she will be going on a great adventure to see the world. Instead she is kidnapped and taken off to the raft city of Brighton. Tom and Hester, teenagers in the earlier books, are now settled parents, a state that suits Tom better than it does Hester. When they, along with their friend Freya, go after Wren, they find themselves back in danger and back among some of the characters from the earlier books, including Pennyroyal, Uncle, and Stalkers Fang and Grike. The pace, as always with Reeve, is fast, the plot is exciting, and the characters are interesting. The story is told from multiple perspectives, but it is easy to follow, although perhaps somewhat easier for those who have read the earlier books. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, HarperCollins, 368p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Sarah Flowers
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2006: This sequel to the acclaimed British SF tales Mortal Engines and Predator's Gold takes place almost 16 years later. Tom and Hester have settled in the quiet town of Anchorage-in-Vineland to raise their daughter, Wren, now a bored 15-year-old. When a Lost Boy suddenly appears from the sea and asks her to steal an Old-Tech book for him, Wren, longing for adventure, gets more than she bargained for. She is kidnapped and then sold as a slave to her parents' old nemesis, Pennyroyal, while her frantic parents race off to rescue her. Meanwhile, other enemies of theirs resurface, including the violent Green Storm movement, led by the reanimated Anna Fang, now a Stalker. Even the Stalker Grike has resurfaced, with vague memories of Hester flickering through his brain. A new hero emerges to fight by Wren's side, an African boy named Theo Ngoni. And Hester's perfidy finally comes to light, with dramatic consequences that will undoubtedly be addressed in the final volume of the quartet, A Darkling Plain. Fans of the series will be clamoring for Infernal Devices, and while they may be disappointed that the focus initially turns away from Tom and Hester, they will quickly be enthralled once again by Reeve's wonderfully imaginative world and enjoy the new characters he introduces.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Mortal Engines (HarperCollins, 2003) hit the scene like a lightning bolt, with its strikingly original vision of large traction cities moving across a post-apocalyptic landscape, gobbling up smaller municipalities and dismantling them for spare parts. Infernal Devices, the third book in the series, picks up the action almost 20 years after Predator's Gold (HarperCollins, 2004). Tom and Hester have settled in safe Anchorage-in-Vineland with their teenage daughter. Wren, however, thinks that Anchorage is a tad too remote and longs to have adventures like her parents. Opportunity presents itself when a mysterious submarine carrying a group of Lost Boys arrives in Vineland and their leader recruits Wren to steal a mysterious Tin Book. She is kidnapped and sold as a slave. While Tom and Hester set out to rescue her, others, including former adversary Anna Fang, resurrected as the evil robot Stalker Fang, also try to get the book. Reeve keeps the multiple plots moving with surprises, tragedy, and multiple betrayals, and while at first the pacing seems a bit off as the action moves from one group to the next, things speed up by the second half of the book. The final showdown that brings the various threads of plot and all the major characters together is breathtaking. The open-ended conclusion more than begs for an immediate sequel.-Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Some 16 years after the city of Anchorage, with Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw aboard, found refuge by grounding itself on the shores of North America (Predator's Gold, 2004), its peace is disturbed. While Tom has thrived, Hester has found that her constitution, forged in violence, does not accept calm easily. Their teenaged daughter Wren chafes at the lack of action, so different from her parents' stories. So when the Lost Boys appear out of her parents' past, she happily steals the fabled Tin Book of Anchorage for them-and in no short order is captured and sold into slavery on the pleasure raft-city of Brighton, with Tom and Hester in hot pursuit. Wren has plunged into a terrifying world, in which the Green Storm, led by the Stalker Fang, busily makes war on those traction cities that are left, and the Tin Book is the animated corpse's next target. The futuristic setting is remorselessly harsh: Mercy is a hot commodity, and a potential liability. Brighton's fiery end paves the way for the concluding volume in this extraordinary series, which tests both protagonists and readers to their utmost. (Fiction. 12+)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Hungry City Chronicles Series , #3
Sold by:
Scholastic, Inc.
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Infernal Devices

By Philip Reeve

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Philip Reeve
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060826363

Chapter One

The Sleeper Wakes

At first there was nothing. Then came a spark, a sizzling sound that stirred frayed webs of dream and memory. And then -- with a crackle, a roar -- a blue-white rush of electricity was surging through him, bursting into the dry passages of his brain like the tide pouring back into a sea cave. His body jerked so taut that for a moment he was balanced only on his heels and the back of his armored skull. He screamed, and awoke to a sleet of static, and a falling feeling.

He remembered dying. He remembered a girl's scarred face gazing down at him as he lay in wet grass. She was someone important, someone he cared about more than any Stalker should care about anything, and there had been something he had wanted to tell her, but he couldn't. Now there was only the afterimage of her ruined face.

What was her name? His mouth remembered.

"H . . ."

"It's alive!" said a voice.

"Hes . . ."

"Again, please. Quickly."

"Charging . . ."

"Hester . . ."

"Stand clear!"

And then another lash of electricity scoured away even those last strands of memory, and he knew only that he was the Stalker Grike. One of his eyes started to work again. He saw vague shapes moving through an ice storm of interference, and watched while theyslowly congealed into human figures, lit by flashlights against a sky full of scurrying moonlit clouds. It was raining steadily. Once-Borns, wearing goggles and uniforms and plastic capes, were gathering around his open grave. Some carried quartz-iodine lanterns; others tended machines with rows of glowing valves and gleaming dials. Cables from the machines trailed down into his body. He sensed that his steel skullpiece had been removed and that the top of his head was open, exposing the Stalker brain nested inside.

"Mr. Grike? Can you hear me?"

A very young woman was looking down at him. He had a faint, tantalizing memory of a girl, and wondered if this might be her. But no: there had been something broken about the face in his dreams, and this face was perfect: an Eastern face with high cheekbones and pale skin, the black eyes framed by heavy black spectacles. Her short hair had been dyed green. Beneath her transparent cape she wore a black uniform with winged skulls embroidered in silver thread on the high black collar.

She set a hand on the corroded metal of his chest and said, "Don't be afraid, Mr. Grike. I know this must be confusing for you. You've been dead for more than eighteen years."

"Dead," he said.

The young woman smiled. Her teeth were white and crooked, slightly too big for her small mouth. "Maybe 'dormant' is a better word. Old Stalkers never really die, Mr. Grike. . . ."

There was a rumbling sound, too rhythmic to be thunder. Pulses of orange light flickered on the clouds, throwing the crags that towered above Grike's resting-place into silhouette. Some of the soldiers looked up nervously. One said, "Snout guns. They have broken through the marsh forts. Their amphibious suburbs will be here within the hour."

The woman glanced over her shoulder and said, "Thank you, Captain," then turned her attention to Grike again, her hands working quickly inside his skull. "You were badly damaged and you shut down, but we are going to repair you. I am Dr. Oenone Zero of the Resurrection Corps."

"I don't remember anything," Grike told her.

"Your memory was damaged," she replied. "I cannot restore it. I'm sorry."

Anger and a sort of panic rose in him. He felt that this woman had stolen something from him, although he no longer knew what it had been. He tried to bare his claws, but he could not move. He might as well have been just an eye, lying there on the wet earth.

"Don't worry," Dr. Zero said. "Your past is not important. You will be working for the Green Storm now. You will soon have new memories."

In the sky behind her smiling face, something began to explode in silent smears of red and yellow light. One of the soldiers shouted, "They're coming! General Naga's division is counterattacking with Tumblers, but that won't hold them for long. . . ."

Dr. Zero nodded and scrambled up out of the grave, brushing mud from her hands. "We must move Mr. Grike out of here at once." She looked down at Grike again, smiled. "Don't worry, Mr. Grike. An airship is waiting for us. We are taking you to the central Stalker Works at Batmunkh Tsaka. We shall soon have you up and about again. . . ."

She stepped aside to let two bulky figures through. They were Stalkers, their armor stenciled with a green lightning-bolt symbol that Grike didn't recognize. They had blank steel faces like the blades of shovels, featureless except for narrow eye slits, which shone green as they heaved Grike out of the earth and laid him on a stretcher. The men with the machines hurried alongside as the silent Stalkers carried him down a track toward a fortified air caravanserai where ship after ship was lifting into the wet sky. Dr. Zero ran ahead, shouting, "Quickly! Quickly! Be careful! He's an antique."

The path grew steeper, and Grike understood the reason for her haste and her men's uneasiness. Through gaps in the crags he glimpsed a great body of water glittering under the steady flashes of gunfire. Upon the water, and far off across it on the flat, dark land, giant shapes were moving. By the light of the blazing airships that speckled the sky above them and the pale, slow-falling glare of parachute flares, he could see their armored tracks, their vast jaws, and tier upon tier of ironclad forts and gun emplacements.

Traction Cities. An army of them, grinding their way across the marshes. The sight of . . .


Excerpted from Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve Copyright © 2006 by Philip Reeve. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Philip Reevewas born in Brighton, England. Inspired by the Asterix and Tintin books he loved as a boy, he became a cartoonist and, many years later, the illustrator of several highly successful children's book series in the United Kingdom. He has been writing since he was five, but mortal engines, the first book in the Hungry City Chronicles, was his first published novel. He has since followed that with Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices, and the Victorian space opera Larklight. Mr. Reeve lives on Dartmoor with his wife, Sarah, and their son, Samuel.

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Infernal Devices (The Hungry City Chronicles #3) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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This book is an ironic blend of Buck Rogers and Mad Max. Wren Natsworthy is a fifteen year old living in a world after the Sixty Minute War. The inhabitants of this world live in predatory cities that roam the earth on wheels or balloons. Wren, bored with her prosaic life, takes the first available opportunity to escape the constraints of her small town existence and proceeds to entangle her mother and father in a web of intrigue that she doesn¿t anticipate. This is the third book in The Hungry City Chronicles. The story line is at times pretty predictable, but the author¿s style is very tongue-in-cheek, which makes the facetious look at life entertaining. Readers will occasionally be amused by a satirical name of a place or person. While there aren¿t a lot of curricular tie-ins, unless one wants to delve deeply into the literary device of satire or the political overtones contained within the book, it is a fast, fun read. I find myself actually looking forward to the sequel.