Starcross (novel)

Starcross (novel)

infobox Book |
name = Starcross


image_caption =
author = Philip Reeve
illustrator = David Wyatt
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series = Larklight
genre = Steampunk
publisher = Bloomsbury Publishing
release_date = October 2007
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 400
isbn = ISBN 0747589135
preceded_by = Larklight
followed_by = Mothstorm

"Starcross" is a young adult novel by Philip Reeve, released in October 2007. It is the sequel to the 2006 novel "Larklight".

Plot introduction

Art and his family are invited on a holiday to the hotel Starcross, in a remote part of space near Mars. Taking the train, they arrive to discover that nothing is quite as it seems - the hotel's surroundings change dramatically every few hours, and some of the strange assortment of guests are concealing ghastly secrets. It's up to Art Mumby, his girlish sister Myrtle, and the dashing Jack Havoc to get to the bottom of things. But the monstrous creatures of Mars and the sinister promenade attractions are nothing compared to the True Enemy, which is cunning, sinister, and almost unstoppable, and may resemble a hat.

Plot Summary

Art Mumby and his prim older sister Myrtle are at their home (Larklight) with their mother and father when they receive a strange invitation to the Starcross hotel. Their father declines, but the rest of the family make the journey, arriving on a barren asteroid in what remains of a mining town. However, a grand looking hotel materializes before them. Their they meet the owner, Mr. Titfer, and his other guests. The next morning they go swimming in a sea. Arthur’s mother, being a wise, superhuman being, suspects that Starcross is built on a piece of Mars which routinely slips through a hole in the fabric of time. Myrtle then discovers that Sir Richard Burton and his Martian wife Ulla have been turned into trees, and the other guests try to figure out how it happened.

Jack Havoc, now a British agent, appears on the scene disguised as an Indian prince. Myrtle is heartbroken that he never returned her love letters and refuses to speak with him. However, that night they are attacked by evil shadowy black hats which take control of Jack’s crew and the other guests. Myrtle and Jack escape, but become lost in the deserts of ancient Mars. After battling a prehistoric giant starfish, they meet up with Delphine, one of the guests, who turns out to be a French secret agent determined to find her grandfather’s old ship and create an American-style democracy in his name. They find the wreck, and discover that Delphine’s grandfather was killed by moobs, the strange black hat-like creatures who attacked at the hotel. The moobs, who normally live in the future when the universe is ending, are starved for ideas and dreams, and thus feed on people’s thoughts until those people turn to dust.

However, a well-intentioned moob helps Jack Havoc, who wins Delphine’s soldiers over to his side. They go back to Starcross, where they find Arthur, whose mother is now under the control of the moobs. Starcross turns out to be powered by a powerful machine from Larklight. The moobs load up Jack Havock’s ship with dozens of their comrades in hatboxes and thus plan to infect the entire universe (in the present). Arthur manages to board that ship and free Jack’s alien crew from their influence, and they return to Starcross to discover that Arthur’s mother has freed herself and subdued the moobs. Mr. Titfer turns out to be the villainous Sir Lancelot, (who once tried to dissect Jack’s alien friends). He and Delphine team up and attempt to overpower the others, but Arthur’s mother uses her machine to turn them back into babies.

They then journey into the future and find a peaceful way to inspire the moobs with their own thoughts and ideas. Myrtle declares that she will show Jack that they are right for each other by mastering the chemical wedding, the process which powers ships through the aether. Professor Ferny, a plant-like creature, promises to find a cure for Sir Richard and Ulla.


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