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Philip Reeve Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

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Born in Brighton, England; Hobbies and other interests: Walking, drawing, writing, reading.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Scholastic, Ltd., Euston House, 24 Eversholt St., London NW1 1DB, England.

Career

Illustrator, author, and bookseller. Children's book illustrator, 1994–. Producer and director of stage plays.

Honors Awards

Whitbread Children's Book Award shortlist, and Gold Award, Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, both 2002, and Best Book of the Year designation, Washington Post, Best Book for Young Adults designation, American Library Association (ALA), and Blue Peter Book Award Book of the Year, all 2003, all for Mortal Engines; Best Book for Young Adults designation, ALA, and W.H. Smith People's Choice Award shortlist, 2004, for Predator's Gold.

Writings

(Self-illustrated) Horatio Nelson and His Victory ("Dead Famous" series), Hippo (London, England), 2003.

Larklight, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2006.

Coauthor, with Brian P. Mitchell, of musical The Ministry of Biscuits.

"HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES" SERIES; YOUNG-ADULT SCIENCE FICTION

Mortal Engines, Scholastic (London, England), 2001, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

Predator's Gold, Eos (New York, NY), 2004.

Infernal Devices, Eos (New York, NY), 2006.

A Darkling Plan, Scholastic (London, England), 2006.

"BUSTER BAYLISS" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Night of the Living Veg, illustrated by Graham Philpot, Scholastic Children's Books (London, England), 2002.

The Big Freeze, illustrated by Graham Philpot, Scholastic Children's Books (London, England), 2002.

Day of the Hamster, illustrated by Graham Philpot, Scholastic Children's Books (London, England), 2002.

Custardfinger, illustrated by Graham Philpot, Scholastic Children's Books (London, England), 2003.

ILLUSTRATOR

Terry Deary, Wicked Words ("Horrible Histories" series), Andre Deutsch (London, England), 1996.

Terry Deary, Dark Knights and Dingy Castles ("Horrible Histories" series), Andre Deutsch (London, England), 1997.

Terry Deary, The Angry Aztecs ("Horrible Histories" series), Andre Deutsch (London, England), 1997, published with The Incredible Incas, 2001.

Chris D'Lacey, Henry Spaloosh!, Hippo (London, England), 1997.

Michael Cox, Awful Art ("The Knowledge" series), Hippo (London, England), 1997.

Michael Cox, Mind-Blowing Music ("The Knowledge" series), Hippo (London, England), 1997.

Peter Corey, Coping with Love, Hippo (London, England), 1997.

Michael Cox, Smashin' Fashion ("The Knowledge" series), Hippo (London, England), 1998.

Kjartan Poskitt, More Murderous Maths, Hippo (London, England), 1998.

Chris D'Lacey, Snail Patrol, Hippo (London, England), 1998.

Terry Deary and Barbara Allen, Space Race ("Spark Files" series), Faber (London, England), 1998.

Terry Deary and Barbara Allen, Shock Tactics ("Spark Files" series), Faber (London, England), 1998.

Terry Deary and Barbara Allen, Chop and Change ("Spark Files" series), Faber (London, England), 1998.

Terry Deary and Barbara Allen, Bat and Bell ("Spark Files" series), Faber (London, England), 1998.

Kjartan Poskitt, Isaac Newton and His Apple ("Dead Famous" series), Hippo (London, England), 1999.

Hayden Middleton, Come and Have a Go if You Think You're Cool Enough!, Hippo (London, England, 1999.

Hayden Middleton, Come and Have a Go if You Think You're Mad Enough!, Hippo (London, England, 1999.

Alan MacDonald, Henry VIII and His Chopping Block, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Alan MacDonald, Al Capone and His Gang, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Terry Deary, Rowdy Revolutions ("Horrible Histories" series), Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Terry Deary and Barbara Allen, Magical Magnets ("Spark Files" series), Faber (London, England), 1999.

Margaret Simpson, Cleopatra and Her Asp, Hippo (London, England), 2000.

Alan MacDonald, Oliver Cromwell and His Warts ("Dead Famous" series), Hippo (London, England), 2000.

Terry Deary and Barbara Allen, The Secrets of Science ("Spark Files" series), Faber (London, England), 2000.

Margaret Simpson, Elizabeth I and Her Conquests, Hippo (London, England), 2001.

Margaret Simpson, Mary, Queen of Scots and Her Hopeless Husbands, Hippo (London, England), 2001.

Kjartan Poskitt, Do You Feel Lucky?: The Secrets of Probability ("Murderous Maths" series), Hippo (London, England), 2001.

Mike Goldsmith, Albert Einstein and His Inflatable Universe ("Dead Famous" series), Hippo (London, England), 2001.

Michael Cox, Elvis and His Pelvis, Hippo (London, England), 2001.

Phil Robins, Joan of Arc and Her Marching Orders ("Dead Famous" series), Scholastic (London, England), 2002.

Kjartan Poskitt, Vicious Circles and Other Savage Shapes ("Murderous Maths" series), Hippo (London, England), 2002.

Kjartan Poskitt, Professor Fiendish's Book of Diabolical Brainbenders ("Murderous Maths" series), Hippo (London, England), 2002.

Kjartan Poskitt, Numbers: The Key to the Universe ("Murderous Maths" series), Hippo (London, England), 2002.

Kjartan Poskitt, Urgum the Axeman, Scholastic (London, England), 2006.

Adaptations

The "Buster Bayliss" novels were adapted as audio-books by Chivers Children's Audio Books, 2003. Larklight was scheduled to be adapted for a film, produced by Denise Di Novi, for Warner Brothers.

Sidelights

A former bookseller and a highly successful illustrator of children's books, Philip Reeve has earned fame and critical acclaim for his "Hungry City Chronicles" science-fiction series, which includes the novels Mortal Engines, Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices, and A Darkling Plain. Imaginative and clever, these novels have been compared to Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, and have earned positive reviews as well as a large readership. In addition to his novels, as well as his humorous "Buster Bayliss" series for younger readers, Reeve is a popular cartoonist and illustrator who has contributed substantially to artwork for Terry Deary's popular "Horrible Histories" nonfiction series.

Mortal Engines takes place in a bleak time thousands of years in the future, "in which larger, faster cities literally gobble up the resources of smaller towns in order to feed the never-ending need for fuel," as Janice M. Del Negro explained in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. In a mobile London, scavenger Thad-deus Valentine has discovered an ancient energy source that will enable his city to overwhelm the stationery but well-defended cities of Asia. When a horribly disfigured girl named Hester attempts to take Valentine's life, loyal young apprentice historian Tom Natsworthy saves his mentor. To Tom's surprise, instead of rewarding him, Valentine shoves both he and Hester down a waste chute and out of London. Learning several unpleasant truths about Valentine—including that the man killed Hester's parents—Tom joins the girl's quest for vengeance as the two set out across a landscape rife with pirates and slave traders in pursuit of east-bound London.

"The grimy yet fantastical post-apocalyptic setting; the narrow escapes, deepening loyalties, and not-infrequent bitter losses—all keep readers' attention riveted," commented Anita L. Burkam in a review of Mortal Engines for Horn Book. Kliatt reviewer Paula Rohrlick described Reeve's "wildly imaginative British tale" to be "full of marvelous details … humor, and grand adventures," and Chronicle contributor Don D'Ammassa found the book "well worth the time of readers of any age."

The second book in the "Hungry City Chronicles" series, Predator's Gold finds Tom and Hester in Anchorage, Alaska, a city that, like many in Reeve's futuristic world, moves from place to place, searching for comfortable climes and incorporating smaller cities that cross its path. Anchorage is now under the control of a pretty young woman named Freya, and when she recalls the town's history and the lush fields it once con-trolled in its original stationary site in the old continental United States, she decides to take Anchorage on the perilous journey back across the ice wastes. When Hester sees Tom kissing Freya, a jealous rage causes her to betray Anchorage's location to the predatory city of Arkangel. At the same time, a gang of baddies known as the Lost Boys are spying on the city and trying to kidnap Tom, while the Anti-Traction League seeks to destroy Anchorage with the help of a horrible cyborg. For Horn Book contributor Anita L. Burkam, "the technological wizardry" in Predator's Gold "will gratify young sci-fi gearheads, while the intense emotions drive the thrilling plot at top speed." In Kliatt, Rohrlick commended the author's "marvelous imagination and emotional depth, the sympathetic young protagonists, and the thrilling adventures," while Booklist contributor Sally Estes noted that, despite a complex plot and multiple characters, Reeve's story "is still easy to follow [and] gripping enough to leave readers anxious to find out what's to come."

Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain finish up Reeve's "Hungry City Chronicles" saga featuring Tom and Hester. In Infernal Devices the two protagonists now have a daughter, and as a teen this girl is threatened by the same Lost Boys who once pursued her father. In the closing volume, the middle-aged Tom watches as Earth's population fractures into the competing Traction League and Green Storm; meanwhile, a powerful weapon created by humans prior to the apocalyptic war that destroyed the first human civilization hangs in the sky, poised to destroy everything. While commenting on the "fabulous streak of frivolity running through absolutely everything that Reeve writes," London Guardian contributor Josh Lacey added that the author also has a more serious side: "Municipal Darwinism. A perfect expression of the true nature of the world: that the fittest survive," as one character explains. While noting that the author's prose alternates between complex and "sparkling and witty," Lacey concluded that in the "Hungry City Chronicles" "Reeve has created an extraordinary imaginative achievement" that ends with a "cunning twist."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 1, 2003, Sally Estes, review of Mortal Engines, p. 491; August, 2004, Sally Estes, review of Predator's Gold, p. 1920.

Bookseller, August 10, 2001, Tara Stephenson, review of Mortal Engines, p. 33.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2004, Janice M. Del Negro, review of Mortal Engines, p. 294; November, 2004, Timnah Card, review of Predator's Gold, p. 141.

Chronicle, January, 2004, Don D'Ammassa, review of Mortal Engines, p. 31.

Horn Book, November-December, 2003, Anita L. Burkam, review of Mortal Engines, p. 755; September-October, 2004, Anita L. Burkam, review of Predator's Gold, p. 596.

Guardian (London, England), April 8, 2006, Josh Lacey, review of A Darkling Plain.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2003, review of Mortal Engines, p. 1275; August 15, 2004, review of Predator's Gold, p. 216.

Kliatt, November, 2003, Paula Rohrlick, review of Mortal Engines, p. 10; September, 2004, Paula Rohrlick, review of Predator's Gold, p. 16.

Magpies, May, 2002, review of Mortal Engines, p. 38; March, 2004, Rayma Turton, review of Predator's Gold, p. 43.

Publishers Weekly, October 27, 2003, review of Mortal Engines, p. 70; August 16, 2004, review of Predator's Gold, p. 64.

School Librarian, winter, 2001, review of Mortal Engines, p. 214; winter, 2002, review of Night of the Living Veg, p. 202; spring, 2004, Michael Holloway, review of Predator's Gold, p. 34.

School Library Journal, December, 2003, Sharon Rawlins, review of Mortal Engines, p. 864; September, 2004, Sharon Rawlins, review of Predator's Gold, p. 216.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), November 23, 2003, review of Mortal Engines, p. 4.

Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 2004, Sarah Flowers, review of Predator's Gold, p. 318.

ONLINE

British Broadcasting Corporation Web site, http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (September 29, 2004), interview with Reeve.

ContemporaryWriters.com, http://www.contempo-rarywriters.com/ (September 29, 2004), "Philip Reeve."

Philip Reeve Home Page, http://www.philipreeve.co.uk (April 29, 2006).

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