Study Guide

Mortal Engines Chapter 1

By Philip Reeve

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.