HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Tripods, Book 3: The Pool of Fire
Author: John Christopher
Cover Illustrator: Anton Petrov
Publisher: Aladdin, reissued in 2014
Related website: http://www.KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 9 – 13
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Christopher, John. The Tripods, Book 3: The Pool of Fire (originally published in 1969; reissued in 2014 by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, of Simon and Schuster Inc., 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10020). In Book 1 of “The Tripods” series, Will Parker, his cousin Henry, and Jean-Paul, whom they call Bean-Pole, escape the Tripods who rule the earth and join the resistance. In Book 2, Will, Bean-Pole, and a boy named Fritz are sent to pose as slaves in one of the Cities of the Masters so that they might obtain information that would be helpful in defeating them. In Book 3, Will and Fritz travel to Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Middle East to organize more resistance against the Tripods. The resistance, having ambushed a Tripod, discovers that alcohol has a strong soporific effect on the Masters and uses this knowledge in developing a plan of attack on their cities.
However, with the news that one of the Masters’ spaceships is due to arrive from their home planet in about four years, the humans’ time to work out the plan and execute it is short. Can they come up with one in time? Does it work? Or will they get caught? There is a fourth book in the series, When the Tripods Came, but it is actually a prequel, so The Pool of Fire is a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Some unfortunate deaths do occur, but, after all, this is a war against evil for the survival of mankind, and the descriptions are not gory or lurid.
I did notice one observation which I questioned. Henry is worried about future wars because he is afraid “that men should go out to kill other men they did not know, simply because they lived in a foreign land.” While no one wants war, that is, to me, a rather simplistic view. Yes, some wars are silly, but others have to be fought because there is a genuine evil that needs to be eradicated. The trick, of course, is knowing the difference. One reviewer did not care for the fact that the protagonist seemed more annoying this time around, like everyone else is growing up around him and he’s still a bit insufferable. Well, Will is a typical human being, with the same kinds of faults and foibles which all of us have. He makes mistakes, but tries to learn from them. I liked the book.