Study Guide

Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines Summary

In the world of Mortal Engines, towns are always on the move—and not in the way that New York City is always on the move (well, except for the traffic). These towns literally move. They've been put on giant tank treads and trundle around the landscape like giant fortresses. The large towns pursue the small ones, and eat them. It's a town-eat-town world, baby, and we just read about it.

Young Tom Natsworthy's adventure starts when a hooded assassin attacks his hero, Thaddeus Valentine. Desperately wanting to be a hero, Tom gives chase. The assassin turns out to be a hideously, grotesquely ugly girl—seriously, Tom goes on and on about how ugly this girl is. Her name is Hester Shaw. Before she jumps to her death, she tells Tom that Valentine is the one who disfigured her. When Valentine finds out that Tom has seen Hester, he pushes him down the waste chute to his death.

Tom survives, and he and Hester the Ugly begin a long trek back to London. Along the way, they encounter sky pirates, air pirates (no Jack Sparrow-type sea pirates, though), and slave traders. Oh, my.

Because things aren't rough enough for the young duo, they're also pursued by a cyborg Stalker named Grike. Grike's mission: to kill Tom and the ugly girl and bring them back to Magnus Crome, Lord Mayor of London. Hester and Grike have a history, however, and Grike plans to make Hester a Stalker like him. She's down with that plan, but Tom isn't. He kills Grike.

Back in London, Valentine's hot daughter, Katherine, is trying to figure out what her father's assassination attempt was really about. She thinks the whole thing is pretty suspicious, and it gets even fishier when Valentine is sent away on a secret mission. She teams up with a handsome Engineer boy, Bevis Pod, and they investigate something called MEDUSA.

MEDUSA isn't a snake-haired gorgon... it's worse. Magnus Crome uses MEDUSA to annihilate a nearby town, showing everyone the power of this deadly weapon. He plans to use it to blow up the Shield-Wall and devour the stationary city of Batmunkh Gompa. To assist in this plot, Valentine infiltrates the city to disable their air fleet. Conveniently, Tom, Hester, and their friend, Anna Fang, are there. Anna Fang and Valentine engage in a clashing sword duel, but Valentine triumphs. Tom and Hester take Anna Fang's airship and race back to London, where Katherine and Bevis are planning to use a homemade bomb (a valuable skill for any fifteen-year-old) to blow up MEDUSA.

All these plot threads come together and get tangled up in a big ol' knot. Valentine tries to kill Hester (who just might be Katherine's half-sister), but Katherine jumps between them and is slain by her own father. MEDUSA is stopped when a dying Katherine plops down on the keyboard. As MEDUSA short-circuits, Tom and Hester fly away from London, and it blows up behind them. Yikes. So, pretty much every character in this book is dead, except Tom and Hester. They're alone, but alive. Happily ever after, or crappily ever after? You be the judge.

  • Chapter 1

    The Hunting Ground

    • Our story opens with London chasing a mining town across a dried-out seabed.
    • You read that right: London. Chasing a town. Picture the whole city of London somehow mating with a tank. Its illicit lovechild would be the London of this book. Got it? Moving on.
    • One of our young heroes, Tom Natsworthy, is cleaning museum exhibits when the chase gets into high gear. He sneaks off the job to witness the big catch.
    • Standing with the beautiful Clytie Potts and the jerk-weed Herbert Melliphant, Tom watches Municipal Darwinism in action: London's "huge hydraulic Jaws came slamming shut" on the helpless mining town.
    • Everyone cheers—except for Herbert Melliphant, who is too busy tossing jeers in Tom's direction.
    • Tom punches him right in the face. Melliphant, ever the fair fighter, knees Tom in the bollocks—we're feeling all London-y already!
    • While Tom writhes around in pain, his boss, Chudleigh Pomeroy, shows up. Busted.
  • Chapter 2

    Valentine

    • As punishment for skipping work, Tom gets sent down to the Gut—London's engine room.
    • He ends up on the receiving end of a pleasant surprise: tonight's supervisor is Thaddeus Valentine—author, archeologist, and Tom's hero. Valentine's pretty much Indiana Jones with a sword instead of a whip and an airship instead of a bi-plane. 
    • The cherry on this sundae: Valentine's beautiful daughter, Katherine, is with him. And so is her dog, Dog. Well, it's a wolf named Dog, but that doesn't make the name sound any better. Maybe later we'll meet her bat, Bird; her dolphin, Fish; and her guinea pig, Gerbil. 
    • They go check out what was salvaged from Salthook, the town London devoured.
    • Hoping to impress Valentine, Tom scours the junk and finds something of value: an old CD. Ooh, shiny.
    • Valentine is chatting with the scavengers when one of them leaps toward him with a knife. Egads.
  • Chapter 3

    The Waste Chute

    • Desperate to be a hero, Tom stops the would-be assassin, and then chases her as she runs away.
    • In the middle of their breakneck chase, Tom wonders "if [the assassin] was pretty: a beautiful assassin from the Anti-Traction League" (3.4). Dude, pay attention. What are you thinking with here? Your head or your... um, heart?
    • After a long pursuit, Tom corners the assassin near the waste chute. To answer his previous question: she ain't pretty. She has a long scar across her face and only one eye.
    • "Ask [Valentine] what he did to Hester Shaw!" (3.14) she shouts, and down the poop chute she goes.
    • Valentine finally catches up. He asks Tom if she had a scar, and Tom says yes.
    • Valentine puts a hand on Tom's shoulder. Tom thinks it's to comfort him, but then BAM, Valentine shoves Tom down the waste chute too, plunging him into deep darkness.
  • Chapter 4

    The Out-Country

    • Tom survives the plunge down the waste chute and wakes up in a huge pile of mud.
    • The assassin, Hester, survived as well, and she's not very pleased that Tom blocked her assassination attempt.
    • The assassin stalks off toward London, and Tom follows, unsure what else he can possibly do. The whole time, Tom can't believe Valentine pushed him. This is not a happy Valentine's Day.
  • Chapter 5

    The Lord Mayor

    • Back in London, Katherine is in shock that Tom plunged to his death when the assassin dragged him through the tunnel.
    • That's right: her dad is a dirty liar and a murderer. Those two things go together like peas and carrots. Deadly peas and carrots.
    • When the Lord Mayor comes to visit, Katherine decides to eavesdrop. She feels her father is keeping the true story from her.
    • Katherine learns about a secret mission and something called MEDUSA. Anything named MEDUSA, especially when it's in all caps, can't be good. We bet it's not a cute kitten or a cure for cancer.
  • Chapter 6

    Speedwell

    • As he treks toward London, Hester has to search for food. She complains, "I bet you wish you hadn't lost my pack […] I had some good dried dog meat in my pack" (6.3).
    • After scrounging up dinner, they settle in to sleep, and Hester tells Tom her story.
    • Hester didn't live in one of the great Traction cities. She lived on the bare earth. Her mom was friends with Valentine.
    • One day, Valentine came over for a little visit. He didn't want tea and crumpets, though. He wanted MEDUSA.
    • When Hester's mother, Pandora, failed to give it to him, Valentine killed her. Then he slashed Hester in the face and left her for dead.
    • Hester came to and found both her dad and all the dogs dead. (Guess that's how she made that tasty jerky.)
    • Swayed by Hester's story, Tom vows to help her—not to kill Valentine, but just to find some justice.
    • In the morning, Hester's leg is worse. She had been shot by a crossbow bolt during the pursuit, and the wound is infected.
    • But Hester and Tom are in luck. A small city called Speedwell trundles by and its mayor, Orme Wreyland, brings them aboard.
    • The mayor and his wife feed Hester and Brian a generous meal... and... the room starts to spin... what did they feed them? Poison? Takeout from Red Lobster?
  • Chapter 7

    High London

    • Magnus Crome, the Lord Mayor of London pays a visit to Dr. Twix (mmm... Twix) and demands to see Grike. We don't know what a Grike is yet, but it sure doesn't sound as yummy as a Twix bar.
    • Whatever the Grike is, it has glowing green eyes and TALKS LIKE THIS.
    • Crome makes an agreement with Grike: kill Tom and Hester, bring him the bodies, and he will give him his heart's desire. Does this thing even have a heart?
    • One more P.O.V. shift: Valentine prepares to leave on his secret mission. He tells Katherine that he's been sent to investigate Shan Guo and Batmunkh Gompa, the Shield-Wall. How very Game of Thrones.
    • It seems like the plan is to penetrate this barrier one day so that London can steamroll in and devour them all. Katherine wishes there were some other way...
  • Chapter 8

    The Trading Cluster

    • Tom wakes up from a dream about Katherine—yes, that girl he met once—and finds himself in a cage with Hester.
    • It seems that Orme Wreyland, the ignoble mayor of Speedwell, is going to sell the two kids as slaves at the trading cluster.
    • Tom manages to break open a small hole in the cage, and Hester kicks it open the rest of the way.
    • Unbeknownst to Hester and Tom, however, they're going to have bigger problems than a wimpy cage soon: Grike is hot on their trail.
  • Chapter 9

    The Jenny Haniver

    • Tom and Hester speed through the market, desperate to escape Wreyland and his men.
    • They start asking everyone for a ride to London. One woman says she can take them to Airhaven, and they might be able to hitch a ride from there. When hitchhiking via airship, do you still hold out your thumb?
    • Wreyland catches up to them and tries to take them back into custody.
    • When Hester is cornered, she pretends to be sick. Then, when Wreyland least expects it, she clocks him on the head with a wrench.
    • The woman shows up again, and leads Tom and Hester to her airship before any more trouble happens. Her name is Anna Fang. Her ship is the Jenny Haniver.
    • The town of Speedwell fires missiles at the Jenny Haniver, but they're no match for Anna's fancy flying. Into the clouds they go.
  • Chapter 10

    The 13th Floor Elevator

    • Katherine stands with half of London as they wave goodbye to Valentine.
    • "I just hope nothing goes wrong […] One hears stories about these airships suddenly going off bang for no reason," (10.5) remarks Dr. Arkengarth. Dr. Debbie Downer Arkengarth.
    • Even though Katherine's a little sad that her dad's leaving, it's all good: now she can go about her plan to get all nosy and find out what he's really up to.
  • Chapter 11

    Airhaven

    • Anna Fang tends to Hester in the sick bay and then sits down for a little chat with Tom. She shatters his little world. Here are the three steps it takes:
      1. Valentine is not a hero; he's a spy.
      2. Not only that, but he killed Hester's parents.
      3. The fabled Hunting Ground is completely barren. London might starve.
    • They reach Airhaven and check in at the Inn, not noticing that the Goshawk 90—Grike's ship—is getting closer and closer.
  • Chapter 12

    The Gasbag and Gondola

    • At the Gasbag and Gondola (an Inn, not Donald Trump's new restaurant), Tom and Hester meet Anna Fang's friends.
    • Remember Captain Khora: you'll be seeing him again.
    • Khora tells Tom a few things about Anna, notably that she built the Jenny Haniver herself. Wow.
    • Then the lights go out. Followed by crashes and other ominous breaking sounds.
    • It's Grike, the Stalker, and he's come to kill Hester. A battle breaks out and Tom and Hester run.
    • Hester is adamant that Grike wouldn't kill her. It's almost like she knows him (it?) or something.
    • They reach the Jenny Haniver, but Grike has already slashed the balloon, rendering the airship inoperable.
    • The whole town of Airhaven starts to tilt. It's going down! Abandon town! Women and children first!
    • Tom and Hester steal a balloon and float off into the night.
  • Chapter 13

    The Resurrected Man

    • Taking a ride in a beautiful (stolen) balloon, Hester tells Tom how she and Grike met.
    • You see, Grike was a bounty hunter living in Strole, and when he wasn't cutting off heads and collecting bounties, he was collecting dolls of women and children. Nope, nothing creepy or serial killery about that!
    • When Hester washed ashore after escaping near death by Valentine's sword, Grike took her in, making her kind of like a living member of his collection. How... sweet?
    • Hester lived with Grike for five years before leaving him to hunt down Valentine.
    • Back in the present, Grike is hunting down Hester. To outwit him, she lets some air out of the balloon, and she and Tom hop out onto the ground. The balloon floats back up without them: an empty decoy. Smart move!
  • Chapter 14

    The Guildhall

    • Katherine makes an appointment to see Magnus Crome, the Lord Mayor of London.
    • She demands to know why Hester tried to kill her father. Also, she wants to know what MEDUSA is.
    • Crome dismisses her, telling her to "leave grown-up matters to those who understand them" (14.17).
    • Grown-up matters?! Katherine fumes about being dismissed because of her age. "We'll show him, Dog!" (14.20), she says, stomping out of the office. Um, Kathy, some advice, friend-to-friend: if you're worried about not being seen as a grown-up, don't talk to your dog in public. That would be the wolf you named Dog. 'Kay?
  • Chapter 15

    The Rustwater Marshes 

    • Hiking the thousand-some-odd miles to London is taking its toll on Tom and Hester.
    • To make matters worse, Hester's empty balloon ploy only bought them a few hours. Grike soon catches up.
    • Before Grike can make good on his promise to kill Tom and Hester, a town barrels out of nowhere and smashes him flat. Who wants Grike-flavored pancakes for breakfast?
    • Hester and Tom evade the first town, but soon another town shows up in hot pursuit.
    • Seeing an opportunity to escape, Hester and Tom leap aboard the second town.
    • The town of Tunbridge Wheels is strangely empty... until dozens of pirates pop out of the woodwork and surround Tom and Hester. Arr.
    • Meanwhile, Grike has survived the steamrolling. He "throws back his head and bellows his hunting cry at the empty marshes" (15.76). We're not sure what this war cry is, but we hope it's more intimidating than Darth Vader's.
  • Chapter 16

    The Turd Tanks

    • Katherine travels into the steamy Gut of London to find the engineer who witnessed Hester's fall. She's trying to find Nimmo.
    • Gut Supervisor Nimmo leads her through Section 60, where they're turning London's human waste (yes, that kind of waste) into edible bars. We hope they have some genius marketers. We can't imagine anyone saying, "Man, I've got to get me one of those Number Two Bars."
    • Anyway, Katherine witnesses how they treat slackers down in the Gut: they taze them. Ouch. Before the poor guy can shout "don't taze me, bro," he gets dragged off to K Division. What happens there? Human body parts get made into Special K?
    • Finally, Katherine gets to talk to the engineer Bevis Pod, but he won't tell her anything she doesn't already know.
    • She vows to get her father to help improve working conditions before she leaves. Yeah, because he's totally a guy who values human life.
  • Chapter 17

    The Pirate Suburb

    • Tom and Hester find themselves in a familiar situation: they're in a cage aboard an unfamiliar city.
    • They watch as Tunbridge Wheels catches up with a smaller city and devours it. Then, they take the strong citizens and put them into cages. The weaker ones they kill.
    • Tom is appalled, but Hester points out "It's not really so different from what your precious London gets up to" (17.4).
    • The mayor of Tunbridge Wheels shows up. His name is Chrysler Peavey, and Hester knows him. She convinces him to let them out of the cages. Wow, it's nice to see Chrysler bail someone else out for a change.
    • What Peavey really wants it to be a man of manners. (Hmm, maybe he should stop shooting people...) He thinks that Tom, as a London gentleman, can teach him a few things.
    • As Tunbridge Wheels rolls on toward an unknown destination, Tom reluctantly agrees to help.
  • Chapter 18

    Bevis

    • London has found itself on the opposing end of pursuit. A giant town named Panzerstadt-Bayreuth is in hot pursuit. The citizens are nervous.
    • But life goes on. Katherine receives a note from "a friend" asking her to meet him for lunch.
    • They meet at a classy fast-food establishment serving "a wedge of impossibly pink meat sandwiched between two rounds of algae-bread" (18.25). We're glad to see that pink slime exists even in parallel sci-fi universes. Blech.
    • The friend turns out to be Bevis Pod, the engineer who witnessed Hester's fall. He must have left Butthead at home.
    • Bevis tells her that Hester did not pull Tom down with her, although he left before seeing Tom fall.
    • Then, Bevis spills the beans about K Division: dead workers are taken there and resurrected as cyborg-like creatures, like Grike.
    • When Katherine asks him about MEDUSA, he says he's heard of it, but he's not exactly sure what it is. Sounds like trouble, though.
    • All this juicy gossip makes Katherine want to find out what Crome is up to even more.
  • Chapter 19

    The Sea of Khazak

    • Peavey reveals his big plan: to storm the Black Island and get rich.
    • It seems that when Airhaven fell, it landed on Black Island. Now, all the airships there are sitting ducks.
    • Tunbridge Wheels is an amphibious town, and it sails through the waters toward Black Island.
    • Things are going well as it chases a small ship... that is, until the ship leads them into shallow water and the rocks tear a hole in the town. "Abandon town! […] Women and mayors first!" (19.45) shouts Peavey. He clearly didn't learn anything about being a gentleman from Tom.
    • Peavey, Tom, Hester, and a handful of Peavey's henchman manage to get aboard what appears to be the only life raft. What is this, the Titanic?
    • Tunbridge Wheels sinks fast, with everyone else on board, including Peavey's daughter.
  • Chapter 20

    The Black Island

    • Tom and Hester accompany Peavey up Black Island, hoping to find Anna Fang there and escape.
    • Before they can reach the top, Airhaven finishes its repairs and flies away.
    • Peavey ends up falling into a quicksand-like bog and starts sinking. He shouts for help, but his henchman, Mungo, takes this opportunity to shoot him dead.
    • Mungo turns his gun on Hester and Tom, but a chilling voice stops him: "THEY'RE MINE" (20.51). We'd know those all-caps anywhere.
  • Chapter 21

    In the Engineerium

    • The citizens of London are getting more and more antsy as Panzerstadt-Bayreuth approaches.
    • Meanwhile, Katherine sneaks into an Engineer's Guild meeting dressed up in a white lab coat and goggles.
    • Everyone's buzzing about MEDUSA. It's revealed to be "an experimental energy weapon" (21.27) that has been restored to working order. The plan is to have MEDUSA destroy the Shield-Wall.
    • Even more shocking to Katherine: her father is the one who found it.
    • In order to prove that MEDUSA works, the Lord Mayor has arranged a test. The dome of the cathedral starts to open...
  • Chapter 22

    Grike

    • Grike is about to kill Tom and Hester again. The pirates shoot at him, but he brutally slaughters them. We're not sure whose blood is whose.
    • Tom does what he does best: runs. But he stops when he notices that Hester isn't behind him.
    • Grike tells Hester that he'll kill her, but it won't last forever: he'll take her back to London and they'll make her like him.
    • Hester's all like, sure, why not? But Tom won't let that happen: he sneaks up with a sword and impales Grike with it.
    • Then Tom's all like, I'm a hero! But Hester's all like, OMG you killed him! And Tom's all like, What?
    • So Hester yells at Tom that she hates him. Tom tells Hester she's rude and selfish. Being a hero isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  • Chapter 23

    MEDUSA

    • St. Paul's Cathedral has been transformed into a weapon of mass destruction.
    • Katherine stands outside watching as MEDUSA emerges from the top of the cathedral. The rain washes off the Guild-mark she'd painted on her forehead as a disguise, which exposes her as an imposter.
    • Taking a page from Tom's book of escape, Katherine runs. She runs so far away. Until she sees Chudleigh Pomeroy of the Historian's Guild. He helps her escape.
    • When Katherine and Chudleigh are far from the cathedral, MEDUSA ignites. "A snarling, spitting cat-o'-nine tails lashing out to lick at the upperworks of Panzerstadt-Bayreuth" (23.43).
    • And BOOM—it's gone.
    • Katherine expects all of London's citizens to scream in horror, "but no; they were cheering, cheering, cheering" (23.46).
  • Chapter 24

    An Agent of the League

    • Tom and Hester can see the light from the MEDUSA attack all the way out from where they are.
    • Once the commotion from Grike's death simmers down, Anna Fang shows up and takes them into town for medical attention.
    • Tom's conflicted: he doesn't trust Anna, because she's a spy. He also feels bad about killing Grike. Even though Grike was kind of evil, he was also kind of a person.
    • After a nice hot meal of toad-in-the-hole "with real toad" (24.16), Anna convinces Tom to come with her. "I want Hester to come with me and tell her side of the story. And Hester will only go if you come, too. […] She likes you very much" (24.32, 24.34).
    • Katherine who? Tom agrees to go with them.
  • Chapter 25

    The Historians

    • Back in London, it's raining. Wow, seems like even when it's on wheels, it's always raining in London.
    • London is bubbling over with jingoism after the destruction of scarytown-reallylongname, and Katherine is troubled.
    • She tries to convince the Historians to help her, but they refuse. "We are old, and frightened, and there really is nothing more that we can do" (25.55). Really brave, guys.
  • Chapter 26

    Batmunkh Gompa

    • Anna Fang is troubled, too. She's scared that London has control of MEDUSA, so she wants to get to Batmunkh Gompa tout-suite and warn them.
    • The city is a surprise to Tom, who'd been taught that it was a "dingy, squalid, backward place" (26.27), like Cleveland. Instead, it's really nice!
    • They meet with the governor, Ermene Khan, and warn him of London's approach.
    • Things get complicated when they advise him to attack London first. Tom doesn't want London to be harmed, but... well, someone's going to get hurt.
    • Unable to think straight, Tom leaves to get some fresh air. He spots a tall figure in a red robe: it's Valentine.
  • Chapter 27

    Dr. Arkengarth Remembers 

    • Hanging out in the Museum with Bevis, Katherine wonders if she's falling in love with him.
    • Ignoring that, Katherine chats up Dr. Arkengarth to see what he knows about Hester's family.
    • Dr. Arkengarth reveals that Hester's mother was Valentine's assistant. They found MEDUSA together, and she was murdered right around the time Valentine brought the contraption back to London.
    • Jinkies. Katherine finally puts the pieces of the puzzle together and realizes why Hester wants her father dead.
  • Chapter 28

    A Stranger in the Mountains of Heaven

    • Tom chases Valentine through the streets, shouting "It's Valentine!" (28.6), but no one speaks his language, so this doesn't raise any alarm bells.
    • Plus, he's been chasing some other dude in a red robe. He spots the real Valentine across the square and starts chasing him again. He tries yelling "It's Valentine!" (28.7) again, but people are either confused or panicked by some weird white boy shouting in the street.
    • Tom runs back to Anna Fang and warns her. That gets some attention.
    • Worried that Tom's been sent to sabotage the air fleet, Anna Fang rushes to the docks. Hester goes too, hoping to kill Valentine before Anna Fang gets to him.
    • By the time they get to the docks, Valentine has already blown up ships and stabbed Captain Khora in the chest.
    • Tom gets lost searching for Hester amidst the flaming wreckage of all the airships.
    • After a frantic search, Tom finds himself back outside, where Anna Fang and Valentine are locked in a sword fight.
    • Anna Fang has the upper hand, but she looks away when an airship's searchlight sweeps over her.
    • Valentine seizes the opportunity and runs her through with his sword. Gasp.
  • Chapter 29

    Going Home

    • Valentine's airship, The 13th Floor Elevator, scoops him up and flies away.
    • Tom rushes to Anna Fang's side, but she's already dead. He takes the key from around her neck and finds Hester. He wants to fly back to London, where Hester can take care of Valentine once and for all.
    • Tom and Hester hop aboard the Jenny Haniver and fly away.
  • Chapter 30

    A Hero's Welcome

    • Valentine comes home and receives the warmest of welcomes from his daughter: "I wish you'd died in the mountains" (30.9). Yikes. He wasn't expecting that.
    • Katherine pressures him into telling her what really happened with Hester's family.
    • Not only does Valentine admit to killing Hester's parents, he also admits that he might have been Hester's father: that's right, Hester and Katherine might be half-sisters.
    • Valentine tells Katherine that he did it for her, so that she could have a groovy London lifestyle.
    • Frustrated at her father's lack of remorse, Katherine realizes she has to take matters into her own hands and stop MEDUSA herself.
  • Chapter 31

    The Eavesdropper

    • Katherine only has a few hours to stop MEDUSA before London fires it at the Shield-Wall, but Bevis has a plan: a bomb.
    • He's going to make a bomb, and Katherine will sneak it in and blow up the computer that controls MEDUSA. Foolproof, right?
    • Well, a fool named Herbert Melliphant (you might remember him from the first chapter when he kicked Tom in the family jewels) overhears the whole plan and tells the Lord Mayor about it. Uh-oh, this isn't good.
  • Chapter 32

    Chudleigh Pomeroy Sees It Through

    • Katherine's all suited up and ready to blow up MEDUSA when the Engineer security team blasts in and kills her dog. In case you weren't sure they were evil already.
    • They're about to take Katherine and Bevis into custody when Chudleigh Pomeroy and the rest of the Historians show up with guns.
    • The Engineer taunts them, "We'll make you history, since history is all you care about!" (32.35). Ugh, back to witty repartee school with you, guy. Lamest comeback line ever.
    • A huge fight breaks out, and a bunch of body parts are blown off.
    • When the smoke clears, all the Engineers are dead (we hope the guy with the cheesy one-liner is extra dead), and so are Weymouth and Dr. Arkengarth.
    • Pomeroy shows Katherine a secret stairway that goes all the way up to where MEDUSA is stored. How convenient.
    • Katherine scales the stairs while the Historians stay behind, ready to face off against any reinforcements.
  • Chapter 33

    Wine and Nibbles and the Dawn of a New Era

    • The pre-MEDUSA party is in high swing. Nothing helps us work up an appetite like the imminent launch of a weapon of mass destruction. Pass the Pringles.
    • Valentine overhears that a gunfight has broken out in the Museum. Worried for Kate's safety, he wants to go check on her, but the Lord Mayor prohibits it.
    • Meanwhile, Tom pilots the Jenny Haniver close enough to London's upper decks that Hester can jump out.
    • Someone alerts Crome to the uninvited guests, and he orders his army of Stalkers to bring him Hester alive.
  • Chapter 34

    Idea for a Fireworks Display

    • Flying away from London, the Jenny Haniver is struck by a missile fired by Valentine's airship. Blammo.
    • Meanwhile, Crome is cackling like crazy as he prepares MEDUSA for attack. "We will build great engines […] and steer our planet from its orbit. We shall devour Mars, Venus, and the asteroids. We shall devour the sun itself" (34.10). Yep. He's totally crazy.
    • Katherine reaches the top of the stairs, and Bevis tells her that he loves her. Aww.
    • Back on the airship, Tom is reeling from the missile strike. He sees an opening in The 13th Floor Elevator's defenses and fires, blowing the airship to pieces.
    • Chunks of flaming airship crash into London. Bevis pushes Katherine down, but one of the fiery pieces of wreckage slams into him, killing him.
    • Katherine is in shock. Bevis is dead, and her father's ship just exploded. But she feels the bomb in her pocket and realizes she still has a job to do.
    • Who's left? Oh, that's right: Hester. She gets surrounded by Stalkers and captured. They drag her toward the cathedral as its dome starts to open.
  • Chapter 35

    The Cathedral

    • Because he hasn't felt guilty in about ten minutes, Tom starts feeling remorse over blowing up Valentine's airship with his henchman still in it.
    • Then he remembers Hester. He has to go back for her. He turns the Jenny Haniver back toward London.
    • Back in London, Katherine finally reaches the cathedral. MEDUSA is about to be launched.
    • But first, time to kill Hester. The Stalkers bring her in, and Valentine readies his sword to kill her himself.
    • Katherine leaps between them, and Valentine slices through his own daughter (well, one of them) himself.
    • Bleeding to death, Katherine staggers over to the MEDUSA computer and falls on it.
    • The computer likes this about as much as it would like a cat walking on its keyboard. It malfunctions, and MEDUSA looks like it's going to explode.
    • Hester runs to Katherine's side and tears off a strip of her own clothing to stanch the bleeding.
    • Just in time, Tom lands the Jenny Haniver. Saying it has a medical bay aboard, Hester and Valentine drag Katherine toward the ship.
  • Chapter 36

    The Shadow of Bones

    • Katherine is in shock from the stab wound, but she's pretty sure she's fine. "It was just a scratch," (36.6), she says. Only a flesh wound!
    • Then she dies. Wow, that's sad.
    • Valentine implores Hester and Tom to fly away and save themselves, so they do.
    • As they fly away, London explodes in a huge ball of fire and blazing gas.
  • Chapter 37

    The Bird Roads

    • Hester tries to comfort Tom. "Someone must have survived" (37.7). But it doesn't look like it. There's just a huge smoking pile of ash.
    • They're not quite sure what to do, other than fly on. Hester says, "We're alive, and together, and we're going to be all right." The end.