On an Earth where the Tripods -- huge, three -- legged machines -- have ruled for as long as anyone can remember, thirteen-year-old Will harbors fears about the Capping ceremony he will soon undergo. Capping marks the transition from childhood into ad
John Christopher (Sam Youd) was born in England in April 1922, during an unseasonable snowstorm. His early years were spent in Lancashire and Hampshire. He left school at sixteen to work as a local government clerk until being called up for army service in 1941, and spent the following four and a half years with the Royal Corps of Signals, in Gibraltar, North Africa, Italy, and Austria.
On leaving the army he renewed a teenage ambition toward being a writer, and in 1947, on the basis of an unfinished novel, won an Atlantic Award, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, which enabled him to devote himself to writing for a year. He tried to justify the award by writing serious novels, but subsequently also wrote detective thrillers, light comedies, novels based on cricket, and science fiction, to which he had been passionately devoted in his early teens. After several adult science fiction novels, he was asked to write for the young adult field, and ended up writing sixteen books in that genre, including The Guardians, The Lotus Caves, Dom and Va, Empty World, and the Sword and Fireball trilogies, as well as the Tripods trilogy. Following a BBC television series in 1984 based on the Tripods books, he wrote a prequel, When the Tripods Came, explaining how it all came about.
Sam Youd is a widower with five children and numerous grandchildren, and lives in Rye, in the county of Sussex, England.
Table of Contents
|Preface to the Anniversary Edition||p. v|
|Capping Day||p. 1|
|My Name Is Ozymandias||p. 19|
|The Road to the Sea||p. 40|
|The City of the Ancients||p. 70|
|The Castle of the Red Tower||p. 102|
|The Tripod||p. 129|
|Flight and a Follower||p. 146|
|We Fight a Battle||p. 163|
|The White Mountains||p. 181|
|Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.|
Chapter One: Capping Day Apart from the one in the church tower, there were five clocks in the village that kept reasonable time, and my father owned one of them. It stood on the mantelpiece in the parlor, and every night before he went to bed he took the key from a vase, and wound it up. Once a year the clockman came from Winchester, on an old jogging packhorse, to clean and oil it and put it right. Afterward he would drink camomile tea with my mother, and tell her the news of the city and what he had learned in the villages through which he had passed. My father, if he were not busy milling, would stalk out at this time, with some contemptuous remark about gossip; but later, in the evening, I would hear my mother passing the stories on to him. He did not show much enthusiasm, but he listened to them.My father's great treasure, though, was not the clock, but the Watch. This, a miniature clock with a dial less than an inch across and a circlet permitting it to be worn on the wrist, was kept in a locked drawer of his desk; and only brought out to be worn on ceremonial occasions, like Harvest Festival, or a Capping. The clockman was only allowed to see to it every third year, and at such times my father stood by, watching him as he worked. There was no other Watch in the village, nor in any of the villages round about. The clockman said there were a number in Winchester, but none as fine as this. I wondered if he said it to please my father, who certainly showed pleasure in the hearing, but I believe it truly was of very good workmanship. The body of the Watch was of a steel much superior to anything they could make at the forge in Alton, and the works inside were a wonder of intricacy and skill. On the front was printed "Anti-magnetique Incabloc," which we supposed must have been the name of the craftsman who made it in olden times.The clockman had visited us the week before, and I had been permitted to look on for a time while he cleaned and oiled the Watch. The sight fascinated me, and after he had gone I found my thoughts running continually on this treasure, now locked away again in its drawer. I was, of course, forbidden to touch my father's desk and the notion of opening a locked drawer in it should have been unthinkable. Nonetheless, the idea persisted. And after a day or two, I admitted to myself that it was only the fear of being caught that prevented me.On Saturday morning, I found myself alone in the house. My father was in the mill room, grinding, and the servants -- even Molly who normally did not leave the house during the day -- had been brought in to help. My mother was out visiting old Mrs. Ash, who was sick, and would be gone an hour at least. I had finished my homework, and there was nothing to stop my going out into the bright May morning and finding Jack. But what completely filled my mind was the thought that I had this opportunity to look at the Watch, with small chance of detection.The key, I had observed, was kept with the other keys in a small box beside my father's bed. There were four, and the third one opened the drawer. I took out the Watch, and gazed at it. It was not going, but I knew one wound it and set the hands by means of the small knob at one side. If I were to wind it only a couple of turns it would run down quite soon -- just in case my father decided to look at it later in the day. I did this, and listened to its quiet rhythmic ticking. Then I set the hands by the clock. After that it only remained for me to slip it on my wrist. Even notched to the first hole, the leather strap was loose; but I was wearing the Watch.Having achieved what I had thought was an ultimate ambition, I found, as I think is often the case, that there remained something more. To wear it was a triumph, but to be seen wearing it...I had told my cousin, Jack Leeper, that I would meet him that morning, in the old ruins at the end of the village. Jack, who was ne