Tuesday, July 17, 2007
07.08 The White Mountains by John Christopher
The White Mountains (1967) by John Christopher
Pbk, Collier Books, 214 p.
The White Mountains is the first novel in a post-apocalyptic childrens (well, teen really) trilogy. The setting is a world that has fallen back to a time that most closely resembles the middle ages - an agrarian society. The world is ruled by the Tripods, giant metal aliens who rule nearly every person on the planet through a single event - the capping. When every child reaches 14 a Tripod shows up and takes them into the alien machine. Upon their release, the children are literally capped after some sort of surgery which renders them compliant and cowed for the rest of their lives.
In this, the first book of the trilogy, we meet Will, a young boy just shy of his capping ceremony. Will encounters a wandering traveler who appears to be like many of the other vagrants of this world; people for whom the capping has gone awry and who are now basically semi-retarded. This man, however, only pretends to be capped and urges Will to flee his English village and make for the White Mountains (Mont Blanc, essentially) where other free-minded individuals have gathered.
Will flees and ends up taking his older (and antagonistic) cousin Henry with him on the journey. The novel tracks their path as they move across the country, cross the channel and towards the mountains. The boys have a number of adventures and narrow escapes viz. a young adults book.
The book is actually quite strongly written and a lot of fun to read. Given Christopher's background in P-A literature I expected something with a bit more of a social edge. Nevertheless, I would definitely have my kids read this book and I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy if I can ever find them.
The City of Gold and Lead (1967)
The Pool of Fire (1968)
Posted by Jason L