Anchorage-in-Vineland is a fictional city based on the city of
Anchorage, Alaskain the Mortal Engines Quartetby Philip Reeve. It is the static and stable version of the Traction Cities of Anchorage that had decided to stop wandering the Arctic wastes and settle in the green and unspoilt land of Vineland (a.k.a. the Dead Continent), what was left of the continent of North America after the Sixty Minute War. When Anchorage was a Traction City, it was not predatory but gained its wealth by trading with other cities, due to more scrupulous leaders.
Before the Age of Traction Cities, Anchorage was built on an island near the Alaskan coast, taking the brunt of many storms. Due to its remoteness, it survived the Sixty Minute War. During its traction city phase, it wandered the Arctic wastes and was one of the great Ice Cities.The exact location of Anchorage-in-Vineland is unknown, but also appears to be in eastern
Canadadue its British style climate and the reference to Vinland, the name given to what is now the Canadian province Newfoundland and Labradorby the Viking explorer Leif Eriksson, but spelt Vineland. It is far inland, but near a large lake (possibly one of the Great Lakes, although they are much further south), situated nearby a large forest and grassland surrounds the city. The lake is an important feature since it provides invaluable hydroelectric power.
The Traction city was led by Dolly Rasmussen after the Sixty Minute War, Dolly found an American submarine shortly after the Sixty Minute War, the sole survivor of which gives her a copy of the codes for ODIN, which are then made into the Tin Book, a crucial part of the storyline of Infernal Devices. The present leader (known as a
Margravine), Freya Rasmussen, is a direct descendant from Dolly Rasmussen. After the start of Age of Traction Cities, Anchorage transformed into a traction city and began to roam the Arctic Wastes. Anchorage developed powerful and economical engines known as the Scabious Spheres after their creators, the Scabious family.
When the heroes of Mortal Engines,
Tom Natsworthyand Hester Shawwith their passenger, Professor Nimrod Pennyroyal, ended upon Anchorage due to engine breakdowns, the city was little more than a ghost town because of an item of " Old Tech" creating a deadly and contagious plague that infected people all over the city, killing the then Margravine and her Consort. However, engineered viruses such as the prior spread fast and then mutate into a harmless entity. It also killed most of the population including the cabinet or "Steering Committee" and many survivors decided that Anchorage was destined for ruin and took off in what little airships were left and immigrated to other cities. When the protagonists landed, they found that only little over fifty people were still living on board Anchorage. The most notable surviving people are as follows:
*Freya Rasmussen (Margravine)
*Søren Scabious (Chief Engineer)
*Windolene Pye(Member of the Steering Committee and Assistant to the Chief Navigator)
*Mr. and Mrs. Aakiuq-Harbourmaster
*Smew (Chamberlain, Chauffeur, Chef)
*Mr. and Mrs. Umiak
Journey to the Dead Continent
As Tom, Hester and Pennyroyal landed, the name Pennyroyal intrigued Margravine Freya and she organized a banquet and subsequently made Pennyroyal Honorary Chief Navigator since in his books, he had advertised the 'fact' that he had travelled to the Dead Continent. Freya had decided to set a course for America, inspired by Pennyroyal's book "America the Beautiful". At the time, Pennyroyal fainted because, as became apparent later on, he had never really been to America and the book was a work of fiction.
At some point during Anchorage's travels, a machine known as a limpet due to the way it hangs onto cities like its namesake hangs onto rocks. This craft was run by young boys and teenagers known as
Lost Boyswho indulged in petty theft on Anchorage and sent in miniature cameras on spider-like legs to spy on the city's population ('Drys' as the Lost Boys called them). When Tom and Freya kissed, and Hester saw them, one boy in particular, by the name of Caul, told Tom what had happened. Prior to this, when he was burgling, he was spotted several times by Søren Scabious who mistook him for his dead son's ghost. He was caught by Scabious to whom he had to explain the truth of his identity who got angry and warned the Margravine of these burglars, prompting them to leave. The Lost Boys are cared for by 'Uncle' who runs their secret underwater base named after the English settlement of Grimsby.
The fact that Pennyroyal was a fraud was uncovered when Freya confronted Pennyroyal when he was sneaking below deck to broadcast signals trying to alert a city to his location and to rescue him as he did not know the way to America and was in a 'city of fools'. Pennyroyal was sacked on the spot. Just after this revelation, the Huntsmen of Arkangel, led by Piotr Masgard arrived to claim the city in the name of the city of Arkangel. There are two versions as to how they found Anchorage:
*The most widely believed tale of events is that due to Pennyroyal's incessant radio messages, Arkangel tracked them down to their present location.
*The truth is that after learning of Tom betraying her by kissing Freya, Hester took their airship, the "Jenny Haniver", to Arkangel and sold them the whereabouts of Anchorage (a fact that became apparent to Tom sixteen years later in the book "
A Darkling Plain" that causes a rift between them. It was already revealed to Freya by Masgard however), hence the title " Predator's Gold".
However, Hester returned to Anchorage to fight off the Huntsmen, killing many of them, with merciless efficiency. Pennyroyal took the "Jenny Haniver" and shot Tom near his heart, causing problems in later life. Nevertheless, Arkangel pursued them still and loomed ever closer. Anchorage was moving at a reduced speed of ten miles per hour since a stern wheel (probably on the right, it is not specified) was damaged and had to be taken off. The caterpillar tracks were used and Anchorage headed south to find thinner ice that would not support the massive bulk of Arkangel. Soon after Anchorage had started moving, great booms were heard. The sound all Ice Cities dread - the ice cracking beneath them. Undeterred, Arkangel made one final, mad dash towards Anchorage. However, the pressure upon the ice was too much and the great ice predator fell under the ice with on half of it valiantly trying to reverse.
The people of Anchorage had problems of their own and the ice around them broke off the main bulk and floated on the Arctic sea. After many days adrift, Caul the Lost Boy landed his limpet upon their ice floe and gave them a map, that was stolen from Uncle's library, that gave directions to the Dead Continent. Propellers were quickly erected and Anchorage soon landed in America and became the static settlement of Anchorage-in-Vineland (the mapmaker, Snøri Ulvaesson, called America that).
After the settlement becoming static, the people were allowed to take anything that was abandoned in the dead's houses and have their pick of the homes in Anchorage. Freya's margravinal palace was converted into a schoolhouse and library with her as librarian and teacher and Mr. Scabious married one Windolene Pye (assistant to Pennyroyal when in office). Many of the population started farming. Anchorage was not troubled until sixteen years later when the Lost Boys (with females newly recruited) came again, this time for the 'Tin Book', a blueprint for a very powerful Old Tech weapon, but written in military code and on recycled tin cans, given to Dolly Rasmussen, the first margravine. However, no-one knew what it was, just and old curio, and the Lost Boys could not locate it. After the events of "Infernal Devices", Caul and Freya married and the rest of the margravinal palace that was shut was again opened, this time to house the young Lost Boys and Girls trapped in the sinking derelict of Grimsby with the now helpless Uncle.
List of characters in the Hungry City Chronicles
*List of notable Traction Cities
Hungry City Chronicles
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