Infernal Devices (Reeve)

Infernal Devices (Reeve)

infobox Book |
name = Infernal Devices

author = Philip Reeve
cover_artist = David Frankland
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series = Hungry City Chronicles
genre = Steampunk, Science fiction, Young adult novel
publisher = Scholastic Press
release_date = 2005
media_type = Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
pages = 336 pp
isbn = ISBN 0-439-96393-1
preceded_by = Predator's Gold
followed_by = A Darkling Plain

"Infernal Devices" is the third of four novels in Philip Reeve's children's series, the "Mortal Engines Quartet".



The story continues sixteen years after the events of "Predator's Gold". The peaceful city of Anchorage is now a static settlement called "Anchorage-in-Vineland" on an island in the Dead Continent. During those peaceful years, Tom and Hester have raised a teenage daughter named Wren Natsworthy.


Brighton is a raft resort city , which is currently sailing in the Atlantic. It is running its own slave trade, influenced by its mayor, Nimrod Pennyroyal.

Green Storm

Under the Stalker Fang, formerly the famous Anti-Tractionist heroine Anna Fang, the Green Storm has been waging war against the Traction Cities for fourteen years. At first, the Storm seemed to be winning the war against the moving cities. However, the cities began to fight back, and alliances were formed between several cities, including the "Traktionstadtsgesellschaft", an alliance of German speaking cities.

The Green Storm has legions of soldiers and Stalkers, fighter airships called "Murasaki Fox Spirits" and "Zhang Chen Hawkmoths", which are vast air destroyers and carriers. Apparently, the Stalker Fang regards her military forces expendable, which makes her unpopular among many other leaders of the Storm. This is evident by the use of "Tumblers" - one-manned craft used to ram Traction Cities in kamikaze missions. The Green Storm also has an elite branch of its military called the "Resurrection Corps", who are responsible for resurrecting dead bodies into Stalkers for the war effort.

Title Explanation

The title is probably a reference to the words of the Stalker Fang in "Predator's Gold": "...and then we shall release a storm which will rid this world of [the Tractionists'] infernal devices forever."

Plot Summary

Part One

The story begins fifteen years after the events of "Predator's Gold", in the grounded Ice City of Anchorage, now "Anchorage-In-Vineland". Wren Natsworthy, the child of Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw, is bored with her life in the sleepy static of Anchorage-in-Vineland, and jumps at the chance to join the Lost Boys, who have turned up on the island in search of a mysterious Rasmussen family artifact named the "Tin Book", which is a copy of a document from the Sixty Minute War, found by the original founders of the New Anchorage on an old American Empire nuclear submarine. The Tin Book, bearing the insignia of the President of the United States of America, contains the activation codes for the final remaining orbital weapons platform left over from the Sixty Minute War, potentially with firepower far greater than that of MEDUSA, the energy weapon that destroyed the traction city of London in "Mortal Engines". The Lost Boys persuade Wren to give them the Tin Book, and to join them on their journeys around the world.

Wren decided to find out what the Tin Book is. Shey starts by asking Freya knowing that it is in the palace's library. Freya tells Wren that the Tin Book was found on an old American Nuclear Submarine; everyone on board was dead, except for one person who, before he died, wrote the Tin Book. No one knows what it is about or what it is for; all it has in it are random letters and numbers. Then Wren asks Gargle, who is in charge of the mission to get the Tin Book. He tells Wren that Nimrod Pennyroyal wrote a book about the time he was on Anchorage, called PREDATOR'S GOLD. It is selling well, but most of it is a lie, and because it talks about 'Parasite Pirates' towns and cities now have their hulls checked every day, meaning that it is harder to attach limpets (vehicles used by the Lost Boys) to them. So the Lost Boys have had to stop going to the Atlantic Sailors and the Ice Runners; they have had to send their limpets further away, to other oceans, and the central Hunting Ground. Worse yet, they are losing limpets; some of them have never returned, no distress call, nothing. Now raft cities are searching for Grimsby. The Lost Boys need the Tin Book, because the ancients made submarines that can last for years underwater, so, if they can get Grimsby moving, they won't be found!

Wren steals the book from the library and gives it to the Lost Boys. However, the townspeople of Anchorage find Wren, and believing she is in danger Hester Shaw opens fire on the limpet which is taking her away. She kills two Lost Boys in the process, and Fishcake, the only surviving crew member of the limpet, kidnaps Wren in anger. Fishcake plans to take her to Grimsby but is diverted en route to the raft resort of Brighton by a trap intended to lure limpets to the city, so that their Lost Boy crews can be sold as slaves. The slaves are supposed to be sold to Nuevo Maya, but Wren convinces the owner of the slave trade company to sell her to Nimrod Pennyroyal, now Mayor of Brighton.

Tom and Hester set sail with Caul in the "Screw Worm" to Grimsby to save Wren, unaware that she is in Brighton. Caul, upon returning to Grimsby, just bombed by Brighton's depth charges, defects once more to the Lost Boys. However, Uncle is killed when Caul tries to let Hester and Tom escape, and so Caul and Freya take the remaining Lost Boys not killed by the depth charges back to Anchorage on a spare cargo submarine, while Tom and Hester go to Brighton.

Meanwhile, Shrike is 're-resurrected' to mark Stalker Anna Fang's birthday. The Anti-Traction League is extending its borders and the Green Storm has started to bomb and destroy cities, starting a war. This is when the Traktionstadtsgesellschaft is mentioned for the first time.

Part Two

At Brighton, Tom is captured as a slave. After discovering this, Hester sets the slaves in the city free to create a distraction so she can free him, resulting in pandemonium. During the confusion, Tom meets Fishcake, and promises to take Fishcake with him and Hester. Meanwhile, the Green Storm attacks the city, in search of the Tin Book. The Stalker Fang succeeds in obtaining it, and memorises the codes. However, shortly afterwards she is attacked by the once again resurrected Stalker Shrike (Grike in the American editions), who has been programmed by his re-resurrector to tear her apart. He succeeds. Cloud 9, Pennyroyal's floating palace, has been severed in the Green Storm attack. It crash lands in the Sahara Desert, with Wren and newfound friend Theo. It is found by Tom and Hester, who have escaped Brighton, but accidentally left Fishcake behind. However, after having spoken with Pennyroyal, Wren discovers that Hester was the one who sold Anchorage to Arkangel in "Predator's Gold". After Wren tells this to Tom, Hester flees into the burning wreckage of Cloud 9 in despair, believing her life with him is over. Once within the complex, she encounters Shrike, who carries her out into the Sahara Desert.

In the desert, the Stalker Fang's still functioning severed head and body are found by the betrayed and miserable Fishcake, who agrees to help rebuild her.

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