Shrike (named Grike in North American editions), formerly known as Kit Solent, is a Stalker and a main character in the Mortal Engines series and minor recurring character in the Fever Crumb series.
Kit Solent was an archaeologist in London, with a particular interest in Scriven artefacts. He met and fell in love with Katie Unthank, whose father had worked with Auric Godshawk. They had two children, Ruan and Fern, but Katie died of the blue flu soon after Fern's birth.
Some years later, Kit requested Fever Crumb to help him open a high tech door under the city. When Fever was being chased by Bagman Creech in the marshes because she was a suspected Scriven, he shot and killed Bagman with his handgun. In the ensuing riots, Kit was shot but he managed to help Fever back to the Godshawk's Head where the two of them escape in a Hot Air Balloon. Kit's wound proved to be fatal and he died while they are in flight. When the hot air balloon landed, the Nomads take his body off to be processed into a Stalker.
The Nomad WarsEdit
After Kit Solent died, he was made into a Stalker of the Lazarus Brigade and renamed Shrike. Shortly after he became a Stalker, he killed two of his fellow Stalkers. Shrike fought in all of the major battles of the Northern War including the battle of Three Dry Ships and the long going Battle of Hill 60.
During this time his masters in The Movement begun turning London into the very first Traction City. As London had to struggle against rival powers for fuel and raw materials in order to build Tractionist London, many Nomad enemies attacked the Movement. At some point, however, he re-developed a form of self-awareness, so he left his masters' army and set out into the world. During the Nomad Wars he was a mercenary for both sides. At the very end of the Nomad Wars he led a legion of Stalkers against the newly mobilised London by the command of the Nomads. However, London triumphed and crushed the Stalkers, with the exception of Shrike.
The Traction EraEdit
During the Traction era, Shrike was an executioner on Paris. He was much feared by the criminals, who still thought him as a sort of dark god long afterwards. Shrike then became an assassin for the Mayor of Kutsoi. But when the mayor ordered him to murder the young children of a political opponent, Shrike refused to obey and killed the mayor instead. Shrike then fled into the out-country, where he became a vicious and much-feared bounty-hunter.
Eventually, the stalker came across a scarred young girl called Hester Shaw, whom he adopted. They lived together on the scavenger-platform of Strole for several years, before he and Hester left for the town of Twyne.
Pilbeam, accompanied with two slavers from the Shkin Corporation, ambushed Shrike and trapped him a net. Hester sliced a festive pine tree, crushing the assailants.
Shrike freed himself, and together with Hester arrived the Town Hall. They found a warm fireplace and food, and Shrike attempts to tell a Midwinter story about a girl with a dog. Noticing his difficulty, Hester reminisces on the day instead.
They were separated when Hester set off for London to assassinate Thaddeus Valentine.
Shrike sold his mechanical collection and travelled to London, striking a deal with the Lord Mayor, Magnus Crome. He allowed the Guild of Engineers to study how he was built so they could manufacture their own Stalkers; in return, Shrike would be able to kill Hester upon her arrival and have her turned into a Stalker. Eighteen months later, Hester arrived but not captured, instead falling out of the city with Tom Natsworthy. Crome, concerned that they might have survived and possessed knowledge of MEDUSA, sent Shrike to kill the pair.
Shrike was flown to Airhaven, where he found the two in a café. However he received opposition from Anna Fang and Yasmina Rashid who would not allow him to hurt Tom and Hester. Shrike then fought several aviators, wounding or killing several before continuing to chase his targets by airship. When Tom and Hester leapt out of their Hot Air Balloon as a diversion, Shrike pretended to fall for it, allowing them to have a head start.
Nevertheless, Shrike soon caught up with them, only to get run over by a traction town. A second town, chasing the first one, ran him over a second time. Despite being damaged, however, he wasn't killed, and continued his hunt. He followed the pirate suburb of Tunbridge Wheels until he found it sunken in the sea of Khazak. He then tracked Hester's scent to the Black Island.
On the island, he found Mungo, Janny Mags and Mr. Ames about to execute Tom and Hester. He slaughtered the three pirates before confronting Hester. He told Hester his intentions to kill her and Tom, then take her body back to London and have her turned into a Stalker. She accepted that, but asked that Tom be spared, and that Shrike tell his masters back in London that he fell over a cliff or drowned in the sea.
Shrike accepted, but just before he was going to kill Hester, Tom stabbed Shrike with a sword. Shrike fell back into the mud, and for a brief moment he remembered his past identity as Kit Solent before dying.
Shrike was brought back to life by the Green Storm eighteen years later, by Oenone Zero. She gave him to the Stalker Fang to be her bodyguard, or just hang about for her entertainment. Later when Oenone prayed at the Christian chapel for the downfall of the Stalker Fang, Shrike overheard her. Although Shrike wished to inform other Green Storm agents of her possible betrayal, he found he was unable to harm or otherwise act against her, due to her reprogramming.
When the Green Storm moved to attack Brighton, Shrike went along as well, as Fang's bodyguard. During the heat of the battle, Oenone activated his recent programming to destroy the Stalker Fang. Being stronger than his previous self, he attacked and seemingly destroyed the Stalker Fang as well as several other stalkers. He discovered that he was now incapable of killing humans, as he remembered all of the humans that he has killed in the past. He disappeared into the bushes when General Naga arrived on Cloud 9. He later met Hester again there as the floating platform crashed down, and prepared to enter the dangerous world of the desert with her.
A Darkling PlainEdit
Hester and Shrike then traveled the desert as bounty hunters. When they stopped at Cutler's Gulp for fuel, they rescued Theo Ngoni and escaped in a sand-ship. When a group of sand-ships attacked Shrike and Hester's, Shrike attempted to fight the soldiers, but again found he was unable to properly harm them. After the sand-ship was destroyed, Shrike, Hester and Theo then traveled to Airhaven to rescue Oenone Zero, now known as Lady Naga. While Lady Naga escaped, Hester was injured, and Shrike took her to a Green Storm command base so her wounds could be treated.
Shrike also accompanied Tom and Hester to Erdene Tezh in the Jenny Haniver. During the journey, Shrike realised that Tom's heart was weak, and that he could not live much longer. The Jenny Haniver then crashed after being attacked by Stalker-birds. Shrike fell out of the gondola, landing on the ground about ten miles away from Erdene Tezh, and survived. He began to head there, sniffing for Hester's scent.
However, he arrived at Erdene Tezh too late, finding Tom, Hester, and the Stalker Fang dead. Shrike went to pick up Hester's body, intending to have her resurrected into a Stalker by Oenone, but noticed that she was holding Tom's hand very tightly before she killed herself. Sadly realising that this was the right end for her, he decided to lay Tom and Hester to rest, cutting their clothes in the process. Shrike then sat by a cave, and shut down all of his systems except for his mind and eyes, watching Tom and Hester's bodies decay over the years, with an oak tree grows out of the latter, and gradually falling into a slumber.
Centuries later, Shrike awakes and sees a young boy and a girl standing in front of him. He greets them, surprising them as the people there had thought he was a statue, and hung flowers around his neck for luck each year. The children take Shrike to a town hall, and he sees that the walls are made of Traction Cities' tracks, and watchtowers were made of wheels. He expects that there are no machines in this world, but he sees that airships are still in use, powered by magnetic levitation. Shrike realizes that the Traction Era is over, because when he asks the townsfolk if there are any moving cities in the world, they say that moving cities only exist in fairy tales. They ask Shrike what he is for, and he states that he is a Remembering Machine. He then tells the townsfolk that he remembers the age of the Traction Cities, London and Arkangel, Thaddeus Valentine and Anna Fang, and Hester and Tom.
Early in the Mortal Engines quartet, Shrike is shown to be a ruthless killing machine, harming several Aviatrices and killing three pirates when his hunt for Hester Shaw takes him to Airhaven and across the Great Hunting Ground. However, in Infernal Devices, when Oenone Zero re-resurrects him, he finds that he cannot hurt humans, because of his consicence. He can still, however, destroy stalkers.
Despite being a killing machine, Shrike doesn't like to harm children, because he himself once had children before he became a stalker. He is shown to help children, such as when Hester Shaw was left half dead he adopts her. Another example is when a mayor wants him to kill the children of someone else. Instead of killing the children, he kills the mayor. The traveller Chung-Mai Spofforth interview him in 923TE when writing her book In Search Of The Stalkers. He said that he remembered several occasions when he had spared or protected children for reasons that he could not explain. He doesn't know why he is so fond of children until the very last book, where he remembers his past life.
Another goal of his is that he wants to make Hester Shaw into a stalker. He keeps this goal right up to the end of the story, when he sees that she had been clutching hard to Tom even in death. So instead he lays them both to rest in a valley.