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Night Flights is a book featuring three short stories about the adventures of Anna Fang.

Setting

Main article: Timeline

The short stories are set years before the events of Mortal Engines.

Summary

Frozen Heart

Anna Fang becomes a thrall after the town that she and her parents stopped over at was "eaten" by Arkangel. Fang loses her mother while she and her father are enslaved in the city's Gut district. One day, Fang spots two Jeunot-Carot engine-pods, which earns her the favour of Stilton Kael, the youngest son of wealthy industrialist Viktor Kael, who owns Kael Industries. Kael enlists Anna's help in building a fast airship called the Golden Arrow for the Boreal Regatta race.

Despite Kael's favourable treatment including furnishing her with gifts and offering to marry her, Anna still resents her Arkangel overlords. This sentiment is reinforced when she witnesses her former supervisor Verna Mould being beaten up by guards. As work on the Golden Arrow continues, a grateful Kael invites her to be his co-pilot for the race. Anna secretly plans to abandon Kael in Anchorage and join the Anti-Traction League

Anna is forced to change her escape plans after Viktor Kael insists that his son take the Direktor's eldest son Rudi Masgard as his co-pilot. In an attempt to sabotage Stilton's plans, she enlists the help of the rival pilot Angel Glass in sabotaging the ship. However, having fallen in love with the airship, Anna convinces Glass to help her escape aboard the airship in return for giving her the combination to escape the garage.

Traction City Blues

While London is traveling through the Shatterhorns, Anna Fang travels to the city aboard the Jenny Haniver. She manages to buy a magnetic demolition charge from London merchant Fatberg Slim. However, Slim and his two shop assistants later pursue her, believing her to be an Anti-Tractionist agent. Fatberg and his men capture Anna but they are killed by an unknown terror, which cuts off its victims' right hands. Anna manages to escape onto a safety net.

Meanwhile, London policeman Sergeant Karl Anders and Constable Pym receive news that an alleged Anti-Tractionist prisoner has been charged with the alleged murders of Fatberg and his two shop assistants. Anders is the former chief of police of a town called Hammershoi, which was eaten by London. With Anna refusing to cooperate, Anders decides to investigate the crime scene in the Sternstacks.

Examining the crime scene, Anders deduces that Anna was not responsible for the murder of the men. Meanwhile, Pym manages to speak with Anna and reveals that the recent murders were part of a wave of killings where victims were left with amputated right arms. Anna warns that the perpetrator will hurt Anders and his colleague Corporal Nutley.

Meanwhile, Anders and Nutley discover that the perpetrator is a Stalker. They return to the police station to question Anna, who confirms that she is indeed an Anti-Tractionist but that she is not responsible for the Stalker. Familiar with a talking Stalker named Shrike, Anna convinces Anders to let her speak to the rampaging Stalker.

Returning to the Sternstacks, Anna, Anders, and Nutley encounter several Engineers, who reveal that the Stalker was part of a botched experiment to test using Stalkers to infiltrate the gut districts of other suburbs. The Engineers attempt to kill Anna and the constables but are attacked and slaughtered by the Stalker, whom Anna learns is enraged by his missing right hand. Anna tries to reason with the Stalker but it tries to slash her throat.

Sergeant Anders saves her by destroying the Stalker with a demolition charge. Despite their philosophical differences about Municipal Darwinism, Anders allows Anna to escape aboard the Jenny Haniver and gets Pum to produce a false report omitting Anna or their "disagreements" with the engineers.

Teeth of the Sea

Anna, now an agent of the Anti-Traction League, travels to the static port city of Pinang City on the island of Palau Pinang. Since the death of the Sultan, Pinang's Sultana has allowed the island to be a refueling station for Raft cities, a form of traction cities that travel in the oceans. She is tasked by the High Council with investigating whether the Sultana is planning to turn Pinang City into a raft city and to remove her if necessary. She is given a red-and-golf scarf designed for the purpose of strangling people.

Anna meets with the Sultana, who reassures her that Pinang City is only hosting little raft towns and that she is still a friend of the High Council. While most of the townfolk are happy with their Sultan, a spice dealer named Na'a Murad informs her that the Sultana has been meeting with an enigmatic northerner who comes by boat. Continuing her investigation, Anna learns that something in the deep seas is sinking raft towns and that the Sultan's ship was supposedly "devoured" by the sea.

Anna travels to the Irish raft town of Dalkey where she meets with the Mayor Diarmid O'Brien and his young daughter Niamh. O'Brien reveals that a submarine city called Fastitocalon has been preying on raft towns. Anna deduces that the Sultana of Pinang is colluding Fastitocalon in return for a share of the loot and eliminating her late husband. Dalkey narrowly escaped being devoured by the submarine city but sustains damage.

Trapped in shallow waters by Fastitocalon, Anna comes up with plan to send a decoy ship into Fastitocalon's path. Believing the ship to be carrying the town's inhabitants and supplies, Fastitocalon draws the ship into its cataching deck. However, Anna and the Dalkey townsfolk have planted several bombs and rockets rigged to a time bomb, which either damages or destroys the city. Anna leaves Dalkey to assassinate the Sultana of Pinang for her crimes.

In the epilogue section, Anna encounters the fugitives Hester Shaw and Tom Natsworthy at the Stayns trading cluster, setting the stage for the events of Mortal Engines.

Trivia

  • Philip Reeve was inspired to write Night Flights after meeting Jihae Kim, the actress playing Anna in the Mortal Engines film[1].

References


Mortal Engines Series
Fever CrumbA Web of AirScrivener's Moon
Traction CityThe Haunted SkyNight Flights
In the Bleak Midwinter
Mortal EnginesPredator's GoldInfernal DevicesA Darkling Plain
The Traction CodexThe Illustrated World of Mortal Engines
Mortal Engines (film)
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