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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher

 A wonderful sci-fi trilogy

The White Mountains is just the first in a trilogy of sci-fi adventrures aimed at young people. This classic trilogy was a childhood favorite of mine and I was fortunate enough to have rediscovered them. I re-read them after 20+ years and still find them to be engaging and really quite good. The second book is called The City of Gold and Lead and the final book is The Pool of Fire.

The premise is that an alien race called the "Masters" have taken over earth, destroyed its great cities and control men's minds with a device called "the cap". All people are capped at age 14 and human beings live in small villages at a near-medieval level of technology.

John Christopher
The main characters are Will, Henry, Beanpole and Fritz who are all young men who question the practice of capping and the presence of the Tripods - giant three-legged machines that enforce the capping and are worshipped by some and feared by the uncapped. These characters head off for the White Mountains (actually the Alps) where free men are rumored to live. Eventually the series focuses on the struggle of the free men (as they begin to recover some of mankind's lost knowledge and technology) versus the Masters.

During the boys' travels we get to see the author's vision of a destroyed world, especially Europe, and how mankind reacts to the imposed (brain-robbing) peace and harmony of the Masters. The Masters are truly alien - we have very little concept of their motivation, how their bodies work, their technology or their society. These are not your garden-variety Star Trek humanoid-style aliens, and I think that it one of its great strengths.

Later, Christopher wrote a prequel called When the Tripods Came. You may click on the TRIPODS or John Christopher tag below to see my review of that book.

I give this trilogy 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on June 9, 2006.

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