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on 30 January 2003
This is a prequel to the popular set of novels written by John Christopher. After loving the orignals for many years I heard that there was a prequel and I found it. The book is an interesting read for Tripods fans and helps to fill in some of the gaps hinted at by the other books. However there isn't any real insight because we know the story already, it was told to us by Will's master in the City of Gold and Lead.
The main complaint I have with this book is that it is written for younger readers than the Tripods trilogy. The original novels were aimed at 9+ year olds. This is more 7+. Fans who love the orignal book could be disappointed with this because it is so much more juvinile. Most people will look to this one AFTER they have read the first, simply because the originals are so much more well known. There is a big gap between literature for 7 year olds and 9 year olds. Children look down books that they see as "babyish", and many children will see this book in that way. I have absolutely no idea why John Christopher chose to make this book for younger readers.
But as it goes this book isn't too bad and does it's job well. It is more of a present day setting that the original trilogy so some children may be able to relate to it more. I like the guilible teacher who mocks the Tripods who eventually gets taken away to a madhouse. He obviously represents the critics who panned the 1980's Tripods TV series.
An interesting read for Tripods fans, but nowhere near the standard of the original trilogy.
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on 18 July 2001
This book is Actually a Prequel to the John Christopher Tripods Trilogy, and goes a long way to explaining how the tripods took over the Earth and why the last remaining free men are hiding out in the White mountains. If you have already read the other three books in the series, you may be a little disappointed in this book. It is by no means a necessary read and merely fills in some of the details that are hinted at in the Tripods Trilogy. If you are a Tripods fan then you will no doubt purchase this book to make sure your collection is complete, however I feel that it does not quite match the standard of the other books in the Series.
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I remember years ago watching the tv series of the Tripods on tv and being totally engrossed - I was horrified when it seemed to disappear off the screen without a resolution to the story. Years later, I now know that the series was discontinued - why, I'll never understand - it was fantastic viewing and a great story.

It's been great to be able to get hold of the original books that inspired that tv series, and I'm starting with the prequel When The Tripods Came. This story is written from the perspective of Laurie, a teenager in the late twentieth century, who, with his friend Andy, are among the first to see the first Tripod which arrives in England. Simultaneous events occur around the world, and then the Tripods seem to be destroyed - but have they found what they were looking for? And could they come back? (Well, we know they do! But that doesn't detract from the fun of reading about it.)

This is pitched at a level of reading of younger readers, but for those who have fond memories of the Tripods and want to revisit their story, this is still a great fun read. Looking forward to getting on to the trilogy now.
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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, and Laurie and his family are driven into hiding underneath a hotel in the mountains. Can they find a way to take back Earth with the odds stacked against them?

WHEN THE TRIPODS CAME is a book well worth the read. The suspense and adventure in the story draw the reader in and make them want to keep reading. The characters are believable and the author does a great job of capturing why humanity is the way it is.

Readers who like science fiction, continuing series, and adventure books will all enjoy this read and the others that follow.

Reviewed by: Kira M
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on 6 November 2013
An excellent book, which explains just how the tripods took over our world.
You also learn how the resistance movement against the tripods started.
I would have been nice to read this book before reading the White Mountains - if it had existed all those years ago.
All in all highly recommend.
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on 7 April 2008
John Christopher's original "Tripods" trilogy has become a classic, and rightly so: A boy in a kind-of-medieval society discovers that the local rite of passage would end in him being a rather peaceful, unobstrusive, obedient and quiet conformer. And a follower of the Tripods, metallic giants everyone seems to take for granted.

In the course of the trilogy, the boy escapes, finds new friends and learns about the eventual plans of the Tripods - it's still a thrilling, great science fiction story especially for younger readers.

"When the Tripods came" is a prequel that sheds light on the original Tripod invasion, how and why they could win it, and other questions the original trilogy did not address. It's more a crossing of the t's and dotting of the i's than a must-read, and if you know the original trilogy, you will probably guess right what will happen most of the time. It's a bit like visiting a place where you grew up.

Still, the book contains some very interesting ideas, and makes a good travel companion (for a short trip or a long flight). The book is primarily aimed at teens; but even if you are a Tripods veteran who has long passed age 20 you will probably enjoy it - like in the original trilogy, the plot is coherent enough and the characters believable enough so that the whole story works just fine.

And if you have children of your own who you would like to introduce to a classic, this (sadly: rather short) book is a good starting point.
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on 18 December 2011
I had thought when i bought the book it was about how it all began but it went into more detail of how the free men began then the Tripods themselves so slightly disappointed with this book. It was still worth reading but the original Trilogy was a lot better written and i enjoyed the original Trilogy more to this book.
I Think on a scale of 1/10 i'd give it a generous 5/10 as the book was worth reading but expected a lot more from it.
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on 15 November 2001
Does just what a prequel should do. Fills in the gaps in the history of the later books and tells a superb story along the way
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on 3 September 2015
Having just read the original trilogy for the first time ever, I just had to read this next. Short but sweet novel which explains how and why the Tripods managed to subjugate the majority of mankind, plus the setting up of the resistance movement.

Fans of the Tripods trilogy will enjoy this prequel.

Ray Smillie
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on 22 September 2011
This is an excellent "prequal" to the Tripods trilogy, and gives an explanation for how the tripods were able to conquer the human race and drive them back to a much less technological standard of living. Makes you realise how tenuous our grip on our society really is!
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