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1001 Stories Collection

Mortal Engines

1001 Mortal Engines
Added on 08th August 2020

Author Philip Reeve
First published 2001
Publisher Scholastic

Huge mechanised cities roam a devastated planet in search of smaller pray in a dystopian version of the future.


In a future beyond the Sixty-Minute War, Municipal Darwinism has engulfed most of the world. Cities have engines and move through the Great Hunting Ground where the biggest gobble the smallest and steal their resources. No one is safe. After being thrown down the garbage shoot by the evil Valentine, Tom and Hester must find their way back to London and stop the next destructive plan. But will they reach there before Lord Mayor of London, Magnus Crome, sets Medusa into action?

Why we chose it

Mortal Engines introduces an imaginative and inventive dystopian future world. The action is fast paced and exciting. Philip Reeve is a master builder of detailed and unusual futuristic worlds.

Where it came from

The author took inspiration from seeing how cities are always being expanded and swallowing up the small towns and countryside around them. He refers to twenty-first century items throughout the book as ancient items, humorously interpreting them incorrectly, such as the ‘eye-pod’.

Where it went next

In 2002, Mortal Engines won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Book Award. It went on to be the first of a series of books, called the Hungry City Chronicles, of which there were originally four instalments. A film adaptation of the novel was released in 2018.

Associated stories

The original Mortal Engines quartet consists of Mortal Engines (2001), Predator’s Gold (2003), Infernal Devices (2005) and A Darkling Plain (2006). The series was expanded further with the titles, Fever Crumb (2009), A Web of Air (2010), Scrivener’s Moon (2011) and Night Flights (2018). The later books are all prequels.

In 2008 Reeve won the Carnegie Medal with Here Lies Arthur. His Railhead series (Railhead, Black Light Express, Station Zero) is set in another futuristic world where sentient trains cross the galaxy.

Books for younger readers include, Oliver and the Seawigs and Pugs of the Frozen North with illustrator Sarah McIntyre and Larklight and Starcross illustrated by David Wyatt and set in an alternative Victorian age in a rambling house that travels through space.

Added on 08th August 2020

Author Philip Reeve
First published 2001
Publisher Scholastic