Predator’s Gold is the sequel to Mortal Engines (read my review here), set no long after the events of the first book, it follows the two heroes: Tom and Hester. It’s not a briskly written as the first book (as can be seen the extra page length), but Reeve’s excellent characters, interesting universe, fantastic ideas, fun and wit are still there all the way through.
Hester and Tom have become air traders using their airship, the Jenny Haniver, which they kind of inherited from an agent of the Anti-Traction league (which fights against the great moving cities that try to each not only each other but static cities too). Unfortunately, a new hardcore faction has formed within the league called the Green Storm. They believe Tom and Hester killed Anna Fang and stole her airship, and their somewhat schizo leader is out to capture them to help the resurrected Stalker Fang (Anna Fang’s body, with bionic enhancement, but no memory) remember who she is and lead the Green Storm to victory.
After barely escaping them, the crippled Jenny Haniver manages to set down on Anchorage, a small moving city in the ice wastes of the north that has been desolated by plague leaving barely enough people to run it, not to mention things keep disappearing. Anchorage is ruled by the Magravine, their royal leader, a teenage girl who has had command thrust upon her, and who takes a fancy to Tom. Racked with jealously, Hester flies off and gets caught by the Green Storm. Then Tom gets captured by Uncle, head of the Lost Boys, the people responsible for things disappearing on Anchorage. Then there’s the small matter of Arkangel, a large and ruthless traction-city that would dearly like to consume Anchorage.
It’s a packed story, with plenty of action and intrigue, but it’s the creative parts that really appealed to me, from the hilarious names of many of the characters (Windolene Pye, Nimrod Pennyroyal, Widgery Blinkoe), to the idea of the Lost Boys (an entire organisation created to steal things, from information to jewels, all under control of the ever-watching, all-knowing Uncle). Maybe it was the constantly-changing locations, or the unappealing behaviour of the main characters in parts, but I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first.
One of the things I like about the books is that they pull no punches, they don’t feel like Hollywood films where everyone is attractive and good natured, there’s some nasty stuff going on, even by the ‘heroes’ and it gives the books a nice grounding in reality that is refreshing.
It’s a good, exciting yarn, and I’ll definitely be reading the remaining two books.