The Tripods Trilogy came into my life at just the right time. I needed a break from reality! My friend and I were chatting about our mutual love of dystopian and futuristic novels one day and she mentioned these and I went straight to ebay and ordered them. I was so excited to find them. And they did not disappoint! She was right, John Christopher wrote an awesome story and did it well. They are available for purchase new at https://thesylepress.com/ and on Amazon .
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The funny thing is we thought that the movie War of the Worlds was somehow connected to this series because of the tripod machines, but that is actually a different story by H.G. Wells. Once I started reading this, we talked about the story and did more research and realized they simply shared that story element. This series was written starting in 1967, whereas War of the Worlds was published in 1898 as a book after first being put out in serial form.
The Tripod Trilogy contains three books and there is also a prequel that was written about 20 years later. The original books are The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire.
The prequel, When The Tripods Came, was very good. It was just as engaging and well-done as the other books. You could read it before the others and not ruin the storyline. In this book you learn why the aliens came to earth and how easily they gained control of the world.
I really, really enjoyed these books and I have been recommending them to everyone, especially to parents to give to their kids. I’ve heard them called YA fiction, but I think a mature 9 or 10 year old could read them.
SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT!
Check out the high praise on the backs of the books!
Reasons I liked The Tripods Trilogy:
- The heroes are a group of brave and unselfish teenage boys. To avoid being ‘capped’ when they turn 14, they run away from their towns and join an ongoing mission to save the world from the aliens that have taken humanity captive through mind control. They are guided and led by a group of brave men gathered in a mountain hideout.
- The story is realistic and has just the right amount of description and character development.
- The main character, Will Parker, develops and changes over the three books. He has normal flaws that he works hard to improve upon. We get to see how a real boy would probably react to the many dangers and obstacles in the journey and trials of the mission.
- I found it interesting to read how they survived by eating wild plants, stealing food, and living in the wild.
- You can easily imagine the exciting and creative scenes and actions. You will be turning the pages quickly!
- The main alien has a personality, but he is still portrayed as unequal to a moral human.
- Courage, self-control, self-sacrifice, and other virtues such as humility and patience are a big part of the story.
- There is no sex or gratuitous violence, and limited deaths.
- The author emphasizes the importance of freedom of choice, self-determination, and free will.
- The boys learn that being happy is not worth being a mental slave.
- I liked how the story showed that there were people who resisted control and made a plan and worked very hard against bad odds and kept trying despite problems.
- The writing is not overly emotional, but it has enough emotion to make you care about the characters and want them to survive and succeed.
- The ending is a little sad, but realistic and hopeful, with the idea that mankind must always battle against the forces that want to control others.
- The books are easy enough for children (I’d say ages 9 and up) to read and good enough for adults to enjoy. NOTE: This is not a religious story.
The basics of the plot are that the world was invaded by aliens in the past and has reverted to pre-industrial conditions. Cities were devastated, there is no electricity or plumbing or modern materials and no motorized vehicles. But people are okay with it because at puberty, everyone goes through a special ceremony where they are ‘capped’ by the aliens. Capping is a procedure which enables the aliens to control the people’s minds, so that they remain docile and controllable and become the willing slaves of the aliens who they believe are like gods.
Even though relics from the past remain, people do not know what they are. For example, there is an old power station near the town, but they don’t know what it is. This lack of understanding of past inventions makes the story even more interesting. People live like they did in the middle ages in small villages and the world’s population has been greatly reduced.
The aliens are mostly peaceful, but they keep the people in this child-like condition and they also have a plan to eventually take over the whole planet which will kill all humans. They use the tripods as a means of transportation. The people do not know what the aliens look like because they stay inside the tripods and live in domed cities. They cannot breath human air and prefer much warmer temperatures.
I hope you’ll find some copies of the Tripod Trilogy and that you enjoy reading them as much as I did. And, by the way, the BBC also made a series based on the books! I am going to look for it. Will report back!
Let me know in the comments if you have read the Tripod Trilogy.
Interested in buying my copies? Click the link below!
I enjoy sci-fi and this sound interesting. The author’s name is familiar, but I do not recognize any of the titles one can find online.
I had never heard of him before.
John Christopher’s real name was Sam Youd. He wrote 56 published novels under a variety of pen-names – there’s more info at https://thesylepress.com/category/john-christopher-resources/ in case it’s of interest.
His best known adult novel was another John Christopher: The Death of Grass (originally published in the US as No Blade of Grass).
Thank you for the info
I just finished The Death of Grass. Brutally realistic , but fascinating.
That’s an excellent 4-word synopsis!
… that’s a great synopsis of The Tripods books, btw! The New Yorker published an excellent article on the continued relevance of the series in 2017: http://www.newyorker.com/books/second-read/an-early-dystopian-trilogy-about-resistance-and-what-comes-after
Thanks for the compliment and the link. I look forward to reading it.
[…] in 2022 a friend recommended The Tripod Series which led me to become a John Christopher fan. Since reading that series, I sought out more of his […]