In this crackerjack adventure, a pair of Cockney trash-pickers and their spaceman friend seek a MacGuffin in the ruins of post-apocalyptic London.
Fifteen-year-old Cass and her kid brother Wilbur are usually stuck scavving under a gangmaster's careful eye, pulling London to pieces and tossing it in crusher chutes. The Vlads have been running Britain ever since they conquered the world 100 years ago, and heaven help any Londoner who sneaks out of her lifelong job of searching for object of the Vlads’ desire: the artifact. Nobody knows what the artifact is, but Wilbur, convinced his comic books tell him how to find it, sneaks off repeatedly into forbidden neighborhoods. This is how he finds Peyto and Erin, strange kids who say the artifact is a flinder, and they need it to repair their wounded spaceship. Maybe Wilbur can help them—maybe he's even destined to. Now they're caught in a mad spiral of (occasionally incoherent) adventure, hopping into space and back, fleeing from Vlads, hiding in the British Museum, fighting drone soldiers in powered battlesuits. Cass has a lovely, rich narrative voice ("We go through it like a horse ’n’ cart through a cake"), and is a feisty heroine, a much better protagonist than destined savior Wilbur would have been. Even if events don't always quite hold together, it’s such a racketing good time it doesn't matter. (Science fiction. 9-11)