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Philip Reeve

4 Dec. 2002: Mortal Engines Shortlisted for Whitbread Prize and Winner of Gold Smarties Award

"Mortal Engines"



Philip Reeve lives in a hamlet high above moorland in Devon.  Enthusiasts of his first, much-acclaimed novel "Mortal Engines", may wish to note that a traction-bound urban predator such as Tunbridge Wheels would  experience some difficulty in overwhelming this remote spot.

Philip Reeve has been described as having a "startling imagination" and is clearly a man of many talents.  While living in Brighton, he made amateur films, turning to illustration of children's books to help fund this enthusiasm.  He is already well known for his cartoon illustrations in the "Murderous Maths" and "Horrible Histories" series and is at present involved with others in the writing and promotion of a musical called "The Ministry of Biscuits". 

Some of Reeve's ideas for films have found their way into the book.  One can imagine that this post-apocalyptic mechanistic mayhem would make a great film, but not perhaps one on a small budget.  Unlike many contemporary fantasy authors, he has not announced he is to write a trilogy.  He mentions tentative ideas for a sequel  - possibly to be based in the genteel decay of a seaside town, a setting that he finds particularly appealing.  The publication of the next novel is projected to be in September 2003.

"Mortal Engines" has just won  the Gold Smarties Award and is shortlisted for the children's Whitbread prize - a remarkable achievement for a debut novelist. The Whitbread results will be announced early in 2003.

Philip Reeve seems slightly surprised to learn of the extent of the success of "Mortal Engines", although he admits he had heard friends and reviewers had found it impossible to find copies in bookshops for the first three weeks after publication. On mention of the book's darker side -  good does not always triumph over evil and the hero and heroine suffer - Reeve acknowledges that this has upset some readers, which he regrets, but says that he had not wished to compromise in this respect to achieve an artificially happy outcome.  By the same token, his villains have redeeming features. This is a compelling book -  a great adventure set in a wasteland dominated by urban predators.  The first sentence admirably sets the scene:

"It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea."

 "Mortal Engines"

by Philip Reeve,

 published by Scholastic, 2001, is available in hardback and paperback editions

(Updated 4 December 2002)

Mortal Engines First Edition Copies
available from
Reaveley Books, 1 Church Road, Lympstone, Exmouth, Devon, UK, EX8 5JU, Tel: 01395-225462

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