Predator's Gold, the second book in the Mortal Engines Quartet series, is a young-adult science fiction fantasy novel written by Philip Reeve and published in 2003.
- Main article: Timeline
Predator's Gold is set two years after Mortal Engines. In that time, lovers Tom and Hester have been using the Jenny Haniver, their deceased comrade Anna Fang's airship, to travel across the world trading and adventuring.
Fleeing from the grim aviators of the Green Storm, with the cold of the Ice Wastes seeping into their bones, Tom and Hester stumble on the ice city of Anchorage just in time. But Anchorage is not a safe refuge—devastated by plague, the city is barely lurching along, and the young margravine is making a last desparate bid for survival. She has set a course for the Dead Continent — America...
Tom and Hester met adventurer and author Nimrod Pennyroyal aboard Airhaven, who persuaded them to take him as a passenger in the Jenny Haniver after he regaled them with his stories of travelling to North America, believed to be a radioactive wasteland since the Sixty Minute War. They were soon pursued by airships of the Green Storm, a fanatical splinter group of the Anti-Traction League, who wanted the Jenny Haniver as they believed it was stolen from their deceased leader and friend to Tom and Hester, Anna Fang. Despite evading the airships, the Jenny Haniver was damaged and drifted helplessly over the Ice Wastes.
They were rescued by Anchorage: once a thriving Traction City that relied primarily upon trade, but was devastated by an excavated biological weapon that killed many of the inhabitants. The survivors had set a course for North America as they believed it would be a haven for them. The city was ruled by the young Margravine Freya Rasmussen, who treated all three of them as honoured guests, with Pennroyal acting as a navigator to America due to him travelling there before. Tom and Hester rebuilt the Jenny Haniver. Hester was jealous of Tom's growing closeness to Freya, and disturbed by the sightings of "ghosts" in the city. Eventually she saw Tom kissing Freya, and flew away from the city in the Jenny Haniver in jealousy. Thereafter Hester sold Anchorage's course to Piotr Masgard, the leader of the "Huntsmen" of the Traction City of Arkangel, who intended to capture the city through an airship invasion; but insisted that when Arkangel ate Anchorage, Tom would be returned to her. As she returned to the Jenny Haniver however, Hester was drugged and kidnapped by a Green Storm informant.
Hester is taken to Rogue's Roost, an island south of Greenland, where the Green Storm have converted Anna Fang's body into a Stalker. The commander, Sathya, hopes to restore Fang's memories by showing her Hester, but the resurrected Fang doesn't recognise her nor herself. Sathya reveals that, according to her intelligence, Hester's father was Thaddeus Valentine. After regularly drinking and the pressure of navigating to America, Pennyroyal miserably confesses that he never went to America, and based his entire book on an old explorer's map in the Reykjavík library. Tom later finds that the "ghosts" sighted around Anchorage are thieves, operating out of a parasite submarine-like limpet attached to the bottom of the city, who call themselves the Lost Boys and work out of a larger group in the sunken city of Grimsby. With their secret discovered, they kidnap Tom and leave the city. Tom develops a sort of friendship with a reluctant Lost Boy, Caul, who tells him that the city is ruled by "Uncle": a man who founded it as a base of thieves.
When they arrive in Grimsby Tom is taken to see Uncle, who tells him there is something valuable in Rogue's Roost, which he wants Tom to steal for him. In return, Tom will have the chance to rescue Hester. Tom climbs a ladder up the rocky cliffs to infiltrate the base; but is soon discovered and is reunited with Hester. Realising that Uncle sent Tom to die as a diversion, Caul prematurely detonates the charges the Lost Boys had planted; sabotaging the operation, but saving Tom and Hester. In their confusion, the Lost Boys make their way to the chamber where the Stalker Fang is kept, but the Stalker easily kills most of the Lost Boys, with only a few escaping with Caul kept prisoner. The Stalker Fang pursues Tom and Hester into the island hangar where the Jenny Haniver is now kept, but lets them escape when she seemingly recognises Tom, and then takes command of the Green Storm forces from Sathya.
In Grimsby, after being severely beaten for his betrayal, Caul is left to die by hanging by Uncle; who informs him that he knew Anna Fang when he was younger. Fang was a slave in Arkangel, but Uncle began to love her and released her. She betrayed him by building an airship and escaping from slavery. After Uncle was disowned by his family, he built Grimsby to make sure that nobody kept a secret from him ever again. Uncle wanted to retrieve Fang from Rogue's Roost to reprogram her to become his slave. Caul is saved by fellow Lost Boy Gargle, who wanted to repay Caul's kindness to him. Gargle gives Caul the Reykjavik map that Uncle had all along, and sends him back to Anchorage on a limpet.
Arkangel chases Anchorage, leading to the Huntsmen capturing Anchorage and leaving it helpless on the ice to be eaten; but Tom and Hester return to the city, where Pennyroyal has evaded capture. Hester sends Tom to hide, and later liberates the inhabitants and kills Masgard and the Hunstmen. Tom confronts Pennyroyal, who knows that Hester sold Anchorage to Masgard, but doesn't tell Tom. Attempting to scare Tom off, Pennyroyal accidentally shoots Tom in the chest. He then steals the Jenny Haniver with stolen Anchorage money, and escapes. Arkangel still pursues Anchorage, but becomes trapped over thin ice, leading Anchorage to drift on the ocean on an iceberg.
With the revelation that Pennyroyal is a fraud, the inhabitants lose hope in the salvation of their city, until Caul arrives with the Reykjavik map, and convinces them to continue. Meanwhile, Pennyroyal escapes to the Hunting Ground, and soon publishes a book reimagining the events of Anchorage's flight west, with himself as the hero and exposing the Lost Boys. Arkangel is evacuated and eventually sinks to the bottom of the ocean. In Asia, the Green Storm, under the leadership of the Stalker Fang, topples the old Anti-Traction League. Anchorage eventually makes it to North America, and finds it verdant and lush. Tom recovers from his wound, but is still very weak. Hester takes comfort in the knowledge that the city will be secret and safe in this new land, and is pleased to discover that she is pregnant.
- Nimrod Pennyroyal's book chronicling his exaggerated account of Anchorage's journey to America is also entitled Predator's Gold.
- Keazor, Henry (2010). "'Mortal Engines' und 'Infernal Devices': Architektur- und Technologie-Nostalgie bei Philip Reeve". In Böhn, Andreas; Möser, Kurt (eds.). Techniknostalgie und Retrotechnologie. pp. 129–147.
|Mortal Engines Series|
|Fever Crumb • A Web of Air • Scrivener's Moon |
Traction City • The Haunted Sky • Night Flights
In the Bleak Midwinter
Mortal Engines • Predator's Gold • Infernal Devices • A Darkling Plain
The Traction Codex • The Illustrated World of Mortal Engines
Mortal Engines (film)