Long before the days of Mortal Engines, London is poised on the brink of apocalypse. Huge armoured fortresses are advancing across the wastelands – a new and terrifying kind of enemy. The city is days away from ruin. Buried in London’s past is a secret that may save it. But only one key can unlock it – an odd-looking orphan named Fever Crumb. Set centuries before the events of Mortal Engines, Fever Crumb’s paralysing mission will make your heart stop.
Fever Crumb may pre-date Reeve’s steampunk novel Mortal Engines by a few centuries, but it is thousands of years later than our present day. After a serious “Downsizing” of the human race the citizens of London live a life akin to our 18th century, but archaeologists have dug up old technology and are trying to fathom how the mechanisms were used. Meanwhile the Engineers use logic and reason to discover new possibilities such as ‘lectricity.
Fever was a foundling, adopted by the Engineers, and now their apprentice. She has been fed and taken care of but has grown up without any expressions of emotion. Now Dr Crumb tells her she should help Kit Solent in researching discoveries he has made beneath his house. Kit is a widower with two young children. He seems kind but his investigations into a long dead technomancer, Auric Godshawk, arouse horrifying memories for Fever which she does not understand. Soon Fever is in mortal danger, as she is suspected of being a Scriven, a superior race who once ruled London until they were overthrown.
Meanwhile the Movement, a vast, powerful group of Nomads are about to conquer London unless the populace can prevent it. Fever begins to understand more about her birthright but she also has responsibilities. She is an admirable, confused teenager trying to follow the best path in a chaotic, fascinating world.
This prequel could easily be read without starting with Mortal Engines. Although perhaps less stunningly inventive, the engaging heroine and other main characters made me feel totally involved in this alternative world and I am now starting to read the second part of this trilogy.
Fever Crumb on Amazon UK
My Review of Mortal Engines
Philip was born and raised in Brighton, where he worked in a bookshop for a number of years while also co-writing, producing and directing a number of no-budget theatre projects. Philip then began illustrating, and has since provided illustrations, cartoons and comic strips for around forty children’s books, including the best-selling Horrible Histories, Murderous Maths and Dead Famous series. It was while working on these that he wrote Mortal Engines, his first novel.