Somewhat at peace with what she learned about her grandfather, Auric Godshawk -- last of the Scriven who used to run London -- and the nano-technology that he placed in her body, Fever Crumb left the traveling theatrical company and returned to the city with her long lost mother, Wavey Godshawk. The age of the Scriven is over, and the age of the Engineer is rising, as Fever's stepfather, Dr. Crumb leads the effort to mobilize London -- to get it up on tank-like rolling treads and move out into the countryside. London's first battle must be with those rising up in the North, but who knows who it will conquer after that? Wavey has heard of a mysterious black pyramid somewhere in the North, and believes that she and Fever may find some important answers there. Despite the dangers, they set off on a perilous journey (accompanied by, in another Reeve-ian stroke, a freak show known as the Carnival of Knives).
Tragedy strikes, and Fever is taken captive but becomes close friends with a young woman whose visions have made her the oracle of the Northern tribes, Cluny Morvish. They find the black pyramid and discover its secrets and learn some other secrets of their own, but it's too late to stop the invasion by London (and the millennium-long rule of the Traction Cities).
Sarah Coomes. I listened to her read about three years ago and was impressed enough to put her on my list of favorites for that year. As I began listening to Scrivener's Moon, I was really troubled by Coomes' tendency to draw out, exaggeratedly, her vowel sounds. It made for really hard listening at the beginning. Did she stop reading this way or did I just get used to it? I'm not quite sure (and the book is gone from my computer, so I can't doublecheck).
In spite of this reading technique, Coomes has a good grasp on the novel's many characters. Everyone has distinctive voices (although I must have missed the reference to London's mayor, Nicolas Quercus, hailing from Moscow) and she uses them consistently. I loved Cluny's Northern inflections, the Cockney ambitions of Charley Swallow (future mayor), and the oddly compelling Borglum, leader of the traveling freak show. She also does an excellent job imitating the computer voices of the abandoned Stalkers inside that black pyramid. Coomes is very good as Fever, at a loss on so many human levels but disastrously buoyed by her confidence in technology.
This audiobook comes with credited original music (the composer of which I cannot remember) playing at the very beginning (and lasting a long time as the book began) and at the end. Despite the fact that it hasn't stayed with me (all I remember is that it was there), I applaud publishers who commit to augment their audiobooks like this.
[The photograph of the pyramidion (or capstone) of the "black pyramid" of Amenemhet III in Dahshur (Egypt) was taken by Jon Bodsworth and was retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.]
Scrivener's Moon (Fever Crumb, Book 3) by Philip Reeve
Narrated by Sarah Coomes
Scholastic Audio, 2012. 11:00