What is the Shrike in Mortal Engines?

02 March 2023
If you're a Mortal Engines fan, you've likely heard of the Stalkers - the ultimate killing machines that play a pivotal role in the series. These emotionless automatons are programmed for warfare and assassination, and they come in various forms throughout the Quartet of Mortal Engines, Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices, and A Darkling Plain. But what are the origins of these 'Resurrected Men'?

Well, back in the day, Stalkers were designed to help humans transfer their consciousness from one body to another, essentially defeating death.

But after the 60 Minute War, 'old technology' was used to turn them into monsters that could serve their masters without any emotional attachments. The Nomadic Empires, which once battled each other across the volcano maze of Europe, used to build Stalkers by recovering dead bodies from the battlefield and reviving them with 'Old Tech' machines that were physically connected to the nervous system.

shrike mortal engines movie

They even removed unnecessary organs, added a metal carapace and implanted weapons and claws, creating a terrifying sight with glowing green eyes.

Once resurrected as a Stalker, the human mind loses all feelings and memories of their past life, becoming a jumbled mess.

The City of London even manufactures its own Stalkers, but they're not as refined as the infamous 'Shrike'. In the original book,

Shrike was controlled by Magnus Chrome, the Mayor of London Traction City, who used him to track down and kill Hester Shaw and Tom Natsworthy. However, it was later revealed that Shrike had once cared for Hester in a past life and wanted to turn her into a Stalker like him, so they could be together forever.

Despite their heavy armour, Stalkers are vulnerable to small arms fire and hand-held weaponry. They don't feel any pain, which makes them handy in hand-to-hand combat, but Tom Natsworthy managed to kill the Shrike with a sword by impaling it through the neck. In Predator's Gold, a splinter group called Green Storm revived Anna Fang as a Stalker to lead them in battle against the Traction Cities, and she went on to wreak some pretty spectacular havoc in Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain using the ODIN device.

mortal engines lazarus brigade

The Shrike's back story is filled out in the prequel novels.

His origin story is revealed in the prequel novels Fever Crumb and Scrivener's Moon.

According to the novels, the Shrike was originally a man named Kit Solent, who lived during the days of the Nomadic Empires. He was a member of the Lazarus Brigade, a group of soldiers who fought in a series of brutal wars across Europe.

After Kit was killed in battle, his body was taken to a Lazarus Brigade laboratory, where he was resurrected as a Stalker using Old Tech machines that were physically connected to his nervous system. The resurrection process involved removing his internal organs and grafting a metal carapace onto his body. Kit was then programmed to be an emotionless killing machine, with glowing green eyes and deadly weapons implanted in his body.

shrike mortal engines

Despite his new identity as a Stalker, Kit retained some memories of his past life. He was eventually brought under the control of the Mayor of London Traction City, Magnus Chrome, who used him to hunt down and kill enemies of the city. It was during one of these missions that Kit encountered Hester Shaw, a young girl who would eventually become a major player in the Mortal Engines series.

As the series progresses, it is revealed that Kit had a complex relationship with Hester. Before he was resurrected as a Stalker, he had been a friend and protector to her, and he retained some of those feelings even in his new form. He even tried to convince Hester to join him as a Stalker, so they could be together forever.

mortal engines hester shaw shrike concept design

At the end of the first novel Shrike met his demise at the hands of Tom Natsworthy, who impaled him with a sword. But his story doesn't end there - as mentioned in the original post, Kit's body was recovered by the Green Storm and resurrected as a Stalker once again. 

The Shrike would go on to become one of the most feared and iconic characters in the Mortal Engines series, and his tragic backstory adds depth and complexity to his character.


At the end of A Darkling Plain, it is revealed that the Shrike has been the narrator of the novels. 


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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