Philip Reeve

Oxford University Press (12+)

9780192742766 (paperback)

The Great Network is a strange and wonderful world, crisscrossed by sentient trains, travelling across galaxies. It is also a place with great danger - especially for the leading character Zen - a petty thief who steals more than he expects one day, setting him on a dangerous and thrilling journey. But is it Zen or what he has stolen that is also a key to the whole basis of the Great Network, why is he being chased by so many very important people from the authorities and who will be his ally along the way?

The novel is difficult to characterise being a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and thriller. A whole world is built through very imaginative use of language which underpins a complex but well-constructed plot. A plot that is kept light, inventive and original, engaging and fast-paced throughout with clever use of humour and wit. The characters are easy to relate to; due to the realistic and interesting way they are portrayed, even minor characters are rounded and engaging. Through exploration of some of the non-human characters there is an exploration of what it is to be human whilst also exploring quite harsh criticisms of society in subtle ways. This is an engaging, emotionally satisfying read, using exciting language to draw the reader in.


Philip Reeve was born and raised in Brighton, where he wrote his first story at the tender age of five about a spaceman called Spike and his dog Spook. He is a talented illustrator and writer, and he has illustrated several titles in the Horrible Histories series.

Philip is best known for his multi award-winning Mortal Engines quartet, which won the Nestlé Children's Book Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award, and the Guardian Children's Book Award. Philip has also won the prestigious CILIP Carnegie Medal with Here Lies Arthur.

You can visit Philip's website and blog at

Back to The CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist for 2017