The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold.
Thaddeus Valentine, London’s Head Historian and adored famous archaeologist, and his lovely daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes toward his heart, saved by the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice. Racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. “Look at what your Valentine did to me!” she screams. “Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!” And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon.
When Vita’s grandfather’s mansion is taken from him by a powerful real estate tycoon, Vita knows it’s up to her to make things right.
With the help of a pickpocket and her new circus friends, Vita creates the plan: Break into the mansion. Steal back what’s rightfully her grandfather’s. Expose the real estate tycoon for the crook he truly is.
But 1920s Manhattan is ever-changing and full of secrets. It might take more than Vita’s ragtag gang of misfits to outsmart the city that never sleeps.
Black Beauty starts life on a farm with his mother Duchess where he is broken in and sold for hunting and carriage driving. He has a fine life but he and his friends Ginger and Merrylegs are sold when the family moves. Beauty and Ginger are sold together but poor Ginger has trouble accepting the tight bearing rein which holds her head high. She is sold off. A boy named Joe Green looks after Beauty at this time and sometimes gets his treatment wrong as he is only learning, so Beauty gets a chill and is very ill. Later in life Beauty becomes a cab horse and the London family are utterly dependent on him for a living. He works six days a week but some horses worked seven. The winter nights see Beauty standing outside a house where a card party is in place, waiting and waiting for their customer. Rich people gave no thought to anyone serving them.
Beauty is finally sold to be a carthorse and meets the worn-out Ginger one more time. He is expected to work until he drops, literally. But a chance meeting with Joe Green who recognises him after all these years by his markings, is enough to save him and he is brought to a kind home once more.
Heidi is an orphaned girl initially raised by her aunt Dete in Maienfeld, Switzerland. In order to get a job in Frankfurt, Dete brings 5-year-old Heidi to her grandfather, who has been at odds with the villagers for years and lives in seclusion in the mountains. He at first resents Heidi’s arrival, but the girl manages to penetrate his harsh exterior and subsequently has a delightful stay with him and her best friend, young Peter the goat-herd.
Dete returns three years later to bring Heidi to Frankfurt as a companion of a 12-year-old disabled girl named Clara Sesemann. Heidi spends a year with Clara, clashing repeatedly with the Sesemanns’ strict housekeeper Miss Rottenmeier and becoming more and more homesick. Her one diversion is learning to read and write, motivated by her desire to go home and read to Peter’s blind grandmother. Heidi’s increasingly failing health and several instances of sleepwalking prompt Clara’s doctor to send her home to her grandfather. Her return prompts the grandfather to descend to the village for the first time in years, marking an end to his seclusion.