The City of Gold and Lead Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The City of Gold and Lead.
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The City of Gold and Lead Summary & Study Guide Description

The City of Gold and Lead Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The City of Gold and Lead by Samuel Youd.

The City of Gold and Lead is the third novel in the Tripod series by John Christopher. This novel follows Will Parker and two companions as they make their way to the Games, the sports competition held every year to pick humans who will become slaves in the Tripod cities. Will and his companions hope to enter the city, learn about the Tripods, and return to the White Mountain with the information needed to end the Tripods' control over Earth. The City of Gold and Lead is a science fiction novel filled with adversity and passion that will take the reader along on a story of personal growth, strength, and courage.

Will, Henry, and Beanpole work every day to become champions at their chosen sport in order to be three of the four who will be chosen to go to the Games and be allowed to enter the Tripod city. When the time comes, however, only three are chosen. Will and Beanpole are two of the three, but a boy named Fritz is chosen over Henry. Will is saddened by this choice and knows that if he had not been one of the chosen three that he would not have taken the news half as well as his cousin, Henry.

Will, Fritz, and Beanpole are led down the mountain by a guide to meet a barge captained by an un-Capped sailor and his first mate. When they arrive, the boys are instructed on how they are to behave while on board the barge. Only one boy may remain on deck at all times, while the others will be forced to hide below deck in order to reduce the chances that someone might become suspicious of their intentions. Will and Beanpole elect to remain below decks for the two days they will have to wait to leave the dock.

Will is on deck the day they begin their journey down river. Will is shocked to see a Tripod in the distance because he has not seen one in months. It reminds him of the mission that lies ahead. When the barge stops in a small trading village, the captain goes ashore to conduct business. When he does not return, Will and Beanpole convince the first mate to allow them to search for him. Will finds himself in a bar where he is confronted by angry locals. Instead of walking away, Will fights one of these men and causes him injury. Will is arrested and placed in a pit in the center of town. Beanpole rescues him, but by the time they reach the docks, the barge is gone.

Will and Beanpole begin walking to the Games, but their pace is too slow. Beanpole suggests they build a raft. This increases the speed of their progress, but they cannot control it and therefore cannot stop to find food. When the boys are about to abandon the raft and search for food, they are attacked by a Tripod that breaks their raft into pieces. The boys swim to a nearby island where they discover an un-Capped hermit. This man, Hans, takes them to his home and feeds them a hearty meal. For payment, Hans asks them to clear a field of trees that he has been unable to clear on his own. The boys soon realize Hans plans to keep them hostage there until the field is cleared, so they steal his boat.

The boys arrive at the Games a day before they are due to begin. At the Games, all three boys qualify in their events. However, Beanpole is unable to win and thus secure his place as a slave in the city. Will and Fritz are taken to the Tripod city inside a Tripod. They find the atmosphere in the city hostile, hot and heavy on their fragile bodies. Not only this, but they must breath with an air mask because the air of the city will not support human life. All the winners of the Games go to a selection place where they are chosen by Masters. Will's Master is a kind one, providing him with extra space in his room and allowing him time to rest. Fritz's Master is cruel, often beating him for no reason.

Will and Fritz meet often, comparing notes on what they have learned about the city and the Masters. Fritz is able to explore the city when on errands or when his Master is out, while Will gets most of his information from long conversations with his Master who is fascinated with humans. Will's Master also takes him on tours of the city, showing him many things that both fascinate and frighten him. Will writes all this information in a book his Master has given him to read. Unfortunately, one day his Master finds the book. The Master becomes suspicious and checks Will's Cap, discovering that it is fake. To keep this knowledge from leaving the Master's home, Will hits the Master in a sensitive place between his nose and mouth. The Master dies instantly.

Will goes to Fritz and they decide to make it appear that the Master fell in his pool while intoxicated. Then Will and Fritz go in search of the outflow of the river the Masters use to supply their city with water. It takes them all night, but Fritz and Will eventually find the outflow. Fritz insists on Will leaving, but decides to remain behind to prevent suspicion. Will leaves through the river and finds Beanpole waiting on the other side. The two boys wait many days for Fritz to make his escape, but he never does. The boys leave, taking with them information they hope will help raise a rebellion against the Tripods.

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