82 pages 2 hours read

Scott Westerfeld


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2009

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Chapters 9-16Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 9 Summary

Alek wakes up in the hayloft of a barn with Klopp, Volger, Bauer, and the last member of the crew, Engineer Hoffman. It has been two weeks since Volger and Klopp helped Alek escape, and they are still being hunted by German and Austrian forces. Alek doesn’t understand why he is a target since he has no title, and Volger promises to explain everything when they reach Switzerland.

After they eat breakfast, Volger gives Alek a fencing lesson. As they practice, Volger quizzes him on politics. Without lowering his guard, Alek recites that Serbia is allied with Russia, which is allied with France. Volger tells Alek that Austria will attack Serbia to avenge the murder of Alek’s parents, which means that Russia will declare war on Austria to protect Serbia. Germany will then declare war on Russia, and France will join due to its treaty with Russia. Alek believes the war will be between Clankers, who build war machines, versus the Darwinists and their fabricated beasts.

Alek realizes that his birth to a royal father and a common mother upset the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his parents’ deaths upset the balance of European powers. He tells Volger that the war is his fault.