By Philip Reeve
Published by Scholastic
ISBN 978 1 40710242 9
Philip Reeve is a highly imaginative and entertaining English youth fiction writer whose Larklight and Mortal Engines series of science fiction novels are worldwide best-sellers. The latter quartet is set thousands of years in the future, when the world is criss-crossed by moving cities that roam around the globe, devouring everything that stands in their way of gaining more power.
Fever Crumb is an engaging prequel to the Mortal Engines stories. The action is set in a futuristic London devastated by war. Twenty-first century civilisation has been wiped out, and the new breed of Londoners has had to restart its society almost from scratch, making sense where they can of the machines and technology they occasionally dig up from the ruins.
Reeve's writing brings this strange new world alive. London is rebuilding itself not only from a terrible apocalypse but also from the recent rule of the Scriven: genetic mutants with dappled skin who have been using the city for their own cruel ends.
But now the Scriven have been overthrown by the Skinners, who are in turn threatened by the mysterious Movement, a group of huge, armoured fortresses waiting on the edges of the city to attack.
London is a dreadful place with a frightening future, but buried in the city's past is secret information that could save its citizens from destruction.
Fever Crumb is a reserved but highly-intelligent 14-year-old. Found as a baby in a basket, she has been adopted by the Order of Engineers and kept away from the horrors of the city. Fever and the engineers live in the vast head of a destroyed statue of Godshawk, the overthrown leader of the Scriven. Who is Fever Crumb and why is she guarded so closely?
One day, Fever is sent from the safety of her home to help an important archaeologist on a dig. She doesn't understand why she has been sent on this mission.
But unknown to her, Fever is the key to London's survival. This innocent teenager has knowledge embedded inside her brain that will unlock a vital secret buried deep under the rubbish and ruins of London.
Fever Crumb is a terrific read. This is a great blast of a book that will please Reeve's fans and also convert new readers who have not yet experienced his wonderfully imaginative storytelling.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com