Study Guide

Grike in Mortal Engines

By Philip Reeve


Yikes, Spikes!

The Resurrected Man. The last member of the Lazarus Brigade. Grike. This guy is like the Terminator, a ruthless killer with a single-minded mission: to kill Tom and Hester. He is shot, beaten up, and run over by an entire city, but he keeps on ticking. He's scarier than Arnold Schwarzenegger in sunglasses.

He was always creepy, too. Even before he hunts Hester down, he was a bounty hunter—collecting heads. Gross. Even creepier is his hobby: he is "fascinated by old automata and mechanical toys [...] his favorites were all women or children [...] Grike would patiently dismantle and repair them" (13.13). Um. Ew. Is this Buffalo Bill creepy, or does it just show Grike's curiosity? Maybe he's trying to figure out how to bring someone back to life?

Either way, we wouldn't be surprised if he showed up to work in a skin suit someday.

Tin Man with No Heart

We'd like to say that Grike hasn't always been like this, that he became this way after Magnus Crome took advantage of him and used him for his own gains. Hester says that Grike "had been human once, and somewhere beneath that iron cowl a human brain was trapped" (12.24). But we never hear anything else about Grike's pre-Resurrected Man days.

When Tom kills him, Tom feels guilty, because Grike is a person—or at least partly a person. As readers, we get a quick glimpse into Grike's fading brain as "Unexpected memories fluttered through his disintegrating mind, and he suddenly knew who he had been. [...] He wanted to tell Hester [...] but before he could force the words out, death was upon him" (22.30).

He wants to tell Hester because he has a soft spot for her, even if he has a strange way of showing it. Hester says she sometimes felt like part of his collection, a feeling that straddles the line between sweet and strange. Then we discover that Grike sells his collection in order to get fixed up to hunt Hester down. Um, that's kind of nice, right? In his world, killing her and turning her into a Stalker is a tender mercy. Maybe he has a heart after all?