Traction Cities and Everything Else You Need To Know About ‘Mortal Engines’

Cordwainer Bird
Presented by

Adapted from the book of the same name by Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines is set in a post-apocalyptic world where major metropolises, mounted on caterpillar tracks, are known as Traction Cities. These Traction Cities engage in the brutal reality that is Municipal Darwinism by hunting smaller towns to consume for their resources.

One such Traction City is London, where our story begins.

Hester Shaw

When she was a young child, Hester Shaw tried to halt Thaddeus Valentine from killing her mother. Her failure to save her mother earned Hester scars from Valentine’s attack. Obscured behind a red scarf, Hester continues her vendetta against Valentine, who is now the Head Historian of London. But she is once more thwarted, this time by Tom Natsworthy.

Tom Natsworthy

Having never stepped outside the confines of London, Tom’s only window to the outside world is through his studies as an apprentice historian. His ordered life takes a turn of the unexpected when he interrupts Hester’s assassination attempt on Valentine. Tom pursues Hester, who reveals to him that Valentine killed her mother before she escapes. Valentine arrived soon after and, in a bid to silence him, Valentine shoved Tom out of London. Tom survived and has no recourse but to work with Hester to return to the only city he has ever known.


Shrike is a Stalker who attempts to kill Hester. Once deceased, his body was taken to be reanimated. Now tall, armoured, and possessing glowing green eyes, Shrike does not have any feelings or memories of his past. All he knows is his relentless pursuit of Hester.

Will Shrike fulfil his mission? Will Valentine get his comeuppance? Will Hester and Tom discover the truth about the secret history of the world? Find out in the all-new blockbuster Mortal Engines – in cinemas now.

Become a
Pop culture fans! Write what you love and have your work seen by millions.