The Child of the Adventuress: Philip Reeve, Infernal Devices (London: Scholastic Press, 2005).
The sequel to Mortal Engines and Predator's Gold finds Tom and Hester grown up (36, my own age--ouch), living in Anchorage which has settled on the coast of America, and with a fifteen year old daughter of their own, Wren.
I truly don't want to spoil this book for people so I will just say that Wren, in search of excitement, follows the Lost Boys and ends up kidnapped and a slave. Reeve, as ever the wry satirist, comes out with some briliantly sly lines.
Later, Wren would sometimes tell people that she knew what it was like to be a slave, but she didn't, not really." (111)
Reeve has worked out how to write Grand Romance without writing sentiment, and this ties in with the one thing I do want to talk about which is how Reeve writes the generational shift in this book, because he seems to write it with an awareness of the cultural shaping of childhood we've discussed.
For most of the book, Wren waits to be rescued. She does show some ingenuity, but never quite enough and is unable to effect her own release. In the end, it is Tom and Hester who enable her to get away. Now some of this may be because the story is really Tom and Hester's--interesting stuff happens there which will presumably be picked up in the final book A Darkling Plain--but Reeve also makes it quite clear that it is in part because Wren is a child of different circumstances. Tom and Hester, abandoned orphans with only their own wits to rely on, were tough and ingenious characters, and Tom was gentler because he had experienced a kinder world. Wren is the cosseted daughter of two people who stand high in Anchorage. As Reeve points out, it's quite new for Wren to have to even consider whether to trust those around her.
So that while the first two books were precisely about kicking children into the world to cope as best they can, this third book is much more recursive because the child has been brought up to look towards home for her goals. The trajectory of the adventure changes because the possibilities for the child have changed.
Interesting I think.