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When the Tripods Came (The Tripods, #4)
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When the Tripods Came (The Tripods #4)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  2,124 ratings  ·  119 reviews
When it comes to alien invasions, bad things come in threes.
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published January 1st 1990 by Turtleback Books (first published 1988)
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Now, I have made little secret how The Tripods trilogy is my favourite reading material from when I was but a child. I still love it. This is the prequel, written a while after the original trilogy.

I am always dubious when encountering something, added to something great, at a much later date. However, true to form the author doesn't disappoint. The story of how the Tripods came to Earth is told through the eyes of a young teen, Laurie and his friend, Andy. Once again the characters are well wri
The original tripods trilogy was one of my favorite reads as a young adult. This book is a prequel to that trilogy; I have owned it forever and have never read it. So when I found the trilogy (along with this prequel) sitting on my bookshelf I decided to give it another read.

This is a short book but I found it was not as engaging as I remember the trilogy to be. It is a book that basically tells how the tripods came to our world. Overall I agree with the other reviewers that say read the trilogy
Grant Herfindahl
This book is very important to the Tripod series. It explains what happened during the war with the Tripods. It also told me how the foundations of the free men were formed. If the Tripods invaded Earth we would most likely not be hypnotized by the TV. This was a very good book.
É F.K. Ó Conghaile
I originally read the tripods series many years ago, during my adolescent on-again off-again love of books. This was during an on-again, when I fantastically wondered at the possibilities of a scifi story starring folks around my age. It was wonderful, but I'm reading the series again to see how I feel about it now, and remind myself more of the story. I'm starting with the prequel this time, whereas I originally started with the 'first' one in the trilogy. I recall originally being disappointed ...more
I read this book first because it is the prequel to the other three in the series. As I read this I had to remember that it's a children's book. I think as adults we want every children's book to be as captivating as Harry Potter or Narnia, but that's an unrealistic expectation.

That being said, as an adult I liked this book, but as a 8-10 year old kid I would have loved it. Interesting characters, great twists, believable plot. I bet Ethan would really like it.
Rebecca Radnor
Prequel to the Scifi series that introduced me to Scifi, when I was like 8 or 9 (40 years ago). It's a very short read, well written and kind of terrifying. The invasion of humanity happens very matter of factually. As you're reading it, it all makes so much sense -- and in retrospect you can see its likelihood (assuming any alien race were ever to try to invade us).
Mur Lafferty
A whiny teenager and tripods. Again. Interesting origin story but the author writes the same, whiny, headstrong teen in every book.
An Odd1
Prequel to series I liked, fills gaps. In scary dystopian future, humans like to have hope. Me too.

Laurence narrates invasions of alien tripods in huge three-legged machines. First, while he is camping with pal Andy, one shakes apart farmhouse, occupants, and army tank. Three landed, taken out by air force. Next TV Trippy show subliminals hypnotize humans to accept caps that soothe, calm, healed "depression .. cheered up" p 128, "bringing peace" p 96 to overcome mankind "without being yourself,
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Oh, John Christopher. I just reread the Tripod Trilogy, which I'd loved and reread many times during childhood, and Joy discovered this prequel and gave it to me for Christmas. I still love the trilogy and it's very cool to read his story of how the Tripods came , but I'm irritated now by something I didn't notice as a child: he can't (won't? doesn't see the need to? hasn't noticed the oddity of failing to ever?) write from a girl's perspective. Every hero is a boy. His secondary female characte ...more
Solid Prequel.

When the Tripods Came
is a prequel to the YA sci-fi trilogy known as the Tripods Trilogy. In the original trilogy, an alien master race rules the earth around the year 2100. The aliens are never seen and travel the world in giant tripods with prehensile legs (I often think of the Tripods when I see water towers in small towns). The aliens use mind control techniques to control the human population which lives in a low tech feudal type society. Every year young people are brought to
Sean Meriwether
When I was a mere lad I was introduced to John Christopher by way of The White Mountains. I instantly related to the young boys who escaped being capped by aliens, which would make them like everyone else. They risked life and limb to cross a dystopian Europe to escape that fate. I reread it as an adult and saw their flight from “normality” in my own escape from rural NJ to New York to live life on my own terms as a gay man, a reading that Christopher probably never foresaw. I was curious to rea ...more
I enjoyed this story quite a bit, but it suffered a bit by comparison with the other three books of the Tripods series.

One of the best things about those books is the sense of timelessness that the world has: the characters ride horses and work the fields, which makes the futuristic Tripods stand out in even greater contrast. We find out about them only as the characters themselves do, giving those books an easy accessibility and engagement.

At the same time, it's so obviously a different world
Robert Beveridge
John Christopher, When the Tripods Came (Dutton, 1988)

This prequel to the Tripods Trilogy, written two decades after the original books, is decent enough, but it certainly doesn't measure up to the three books that preceded it (chronologically) in the series.

Laurie, a British teen, is one of the first in the world to see the Tripods while on an orienteering trip with a friend. The initial tripod, after causing a bit of destruction, is swiftly brought down by the local armed forces. The intellig
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

Something is not right in England.

Laurie's little sister recently started watching a show called Trippies. One day, she disappears. When they bring her back, all she can talk about is peace and Tripods, an alien race bent on bringing peace to Earth. Although they manage to dehypnotize her, people all over start disappearing and showing up with helmets that allow the Tripods to control their brains.

Soon the whole world is conquered by this strange alien race
Ryan F
When the Tripods Came by John Christopher is a story about an invasion of Earth from outer space. Three different areas were attacked by the aliens, Russia, England, and the United States. These giant aliens had 3 legs and they were huge. They crushed everything in their paths. Brian, the protagonist, is telling his life story as the aliens are invading. His family is killed by the tripods and he has to survive. He is afraid because they are moving from city to city and his is next. He is afrai ...more
This is an excellent prequel to the Tripods trilogy.

BUT: If you have not read the series, PLEASE HEED THIS ADVICE:

Don't read this until after you finish the original trilogy. I know that it says #1 on the spine, and these events happened before the first three books. Ignore that!

It's more fun to be guessing and wondering with the protagonists in the books than to already have all the answers given to you at first. After you finish all three books, it's fun to see all the little questions you m

Although fourth in the series in terms of publication dates, this book is actually set earlier in time than the famous triology, giving us a chance to witness the Invasion firsthand. We meet all new heroes, of course. This story starts off slowly and seems somewhat bland after the first wave of tripods is exterminated. But gradually we realize their insidious plan to take over the Earth by Mind Control--mass Brain Washing via the media. People--kids
I recently rediscovered the "Tripod" books. This book is the prequel to the "Tripod" trilogy. "The White Mountains" was published in 1967, "City of Gold and Lead" in 1968, and the final in the trilogy "Pool of Fire" in 1968 also. "When the Tripods Came" was written in 1988, about 20 years after the trilogy was written.

Three alien ships crash land on earth, one in England, one in Russia, and another one in the United States. Defeated with little difficulty, the story changes to following a new T
Harold Ogle
A nice stand-alone novel that is a prequel to the more-famous "Tripod trilogy." Reading this doesn't really enhance the reading of the Tripod trilogy, but it is a good story in its own right. It's a bit like reading Bujold's Barrayar prequels, Dickson's Dorsai prequels, Moran's Emerald Eyes, or even Asimov's Foundation prequels: they are in no way necessary to the plot of the main series, but they're still fun to read. Christopher is clearly making a statement with this book about how people con ...more
I read the tripod trilogy as a child, so those three books were a re-read for me. This book was new. A prequel to the trilogy telling how the tripods took over Earth in the first place.

With this book, especially, I really enjoyed having the author's preface at the beginning, telling what inspired him to write the prequel. Basically the BBC started to film the original trilogy. At first they stayed loyal to the books, then they strayed. It seems that criticism of the tv series made the author wa
I read this pretty young, and at the time, thought it was a great book. Looking back on it, it is kind of a mediochre prequel to the Tripods trilogy. It was the kind of book that looks for total resolution, but in the end, it had a series following it, and the ending that was hoped for was relegated to a minor victory. I recommend reading this book before reading the actual Trilogy (White Mountains, Pool of Fire and City of Gold and Lead) as opposed to the order in which it came out (Last). It w ...more
Matt Ryan
Despite this being published around the same time I was old enough to read the original trilogy from the 60s, I hadn't come across this prequel until a month or two ago and immediately set about tracking down a copy. The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of Fire were some of the first books I read in my pre-teens that hooked me into reading as a hobby and so it was great to come back to this as an adult. Still a good read.
Joseph Stella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Who knew this was the prequel book? Oh well. Maybe knowing that would help it's quality. I dunno. I'm not rushing out to buy the first books now, anyway, so maybe we shall never know.

You'd think that the Earth being invaded by space ships would be cause for alarm. And it is. But somehow that alarm never quite spread to me. It was just so very boring and dull and... trifling. Perhaps it's a realistic look at what a family would do if aliens came and started brainwashing people - I don't know. Un
Irene McHugh
As I rambled through the public library, I discovered this prequel to the Tripod trilogy in a children's display. Since I loved the original trilogy, I had to read this book and then re-read the trilogy.

This prequel is worth a read, but it's not as engaging as the original series. I also wouldn't want to read this book first. I remember reading The White Mountains for the first time in sixth grade and wondering about so many topics. Where did those tripods take the kids? Was the tripod a being?
Howard Kistler
Written much later, this prequel gives insights into the way The Masters took dominion over the Earth. Set in the ostensible present day, it lacks much of the sense of adventure the original trilogy contains. But it is useful for its insights into the alien conquerors, and for its discursions on the foibles of modern society and the over-reliance on media.
David Bonesteel
I have not read the original trilogy yet. According to several reviewers, my enjoyment of that series will be curtailed by having read this prequel first. Oh, well. I still plan to read the rest of the books because I enjoyed this one so much. John Christopher makes a very interesting and effective choice when he chooses to tell his story entirely from the point of view of his adolescent protagonists. We know only what they know. Their lives go on fairly normally for a time, even after the Tripo ...more
D.M. Dutcher
A big letdown. This is the story of how the tripods invaded us and turned earth into the feudal dystopia found in the White Mountains. But the way they do it is absurd, and doesn't really make much sense. They do so by implanting hypnotic suggestions in a kid's TV program, creating a cult of Trippies who soon overrun the world. The first image of the book is a tripod landing in england, walking around aimlessly, and crushing a tank, only to get blown to bits.

It doesn't fit the other books that w
The Tripod Trilogy and prequel When the Tripods Came were a refreshing and quick read after reading The Hunger Games books which I thought were terrible. Seems like I am the only one there. I found myself thinking about Tripods in my daily routine and being excited by the idea which is a good sign that a book has meant something for me. One thing about the main characters in these books, Will in the trilogy and Laurie in the prequel; are 14 year old kids really that insightful and thoroughly abl ...more
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John Christopher is the pseudonym under which the British science fiction author Samuel Youd has been most successful. Youd has written under the following pseudonyms:
• John Christopher
• Stanley Winchester
• Hilary Ford
• William Godfrey
• Peter Graaf
• Peter Nichols
• Anthony Rye

He is best known for The Tripods trilogy, published under the pseudonym John Christopher.

His novels were popular during the
More about John Christopher...

Other Books in the Series

The Tripods (4 books)
  • The White Mountains (The Tripods, #1)
  • The City of Gold and Lead (The Tripods, #2)
  • The Pool of Fire (The Tripods, #3)
The White Mountains (The Tripods, #1) The City of Gold and Lead (The Tripods, #2) The Pool of Fire (The Tripods, #3) The Death of Grass The Tripods Trilogy (The Tripods, #1-3)

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