It takes place on a sort of gigantic ship (more like a big vessel) but special: big as a small city, can go on earth or on water. We know that there are many in the world, but it does not matter, all the story / plot / action is on this ship.

Two social classes on board: the rich ones, and the other are like slaves / workers, live under the surface. The two main characters come from those different worlds; the boy comes from upper class (and he is the heir to the commander of the ship), the girl comes from the worker class.

They begin to have a love story, and try to reunite the two worlds / fight against the upper class that appears to be very classist, racist... The first time they see each other, it is in the boy's chamber, the girl was hidden there. She knows how to fight quite well.

I have said 1990s but it is a wild guess. Have read it 5 years ago, my girlfriend's advice, that was a book she loved as a teenager. The style make me think of something not to old. This is not Mortal Engines.

  • 1
    I'm half-recalling a story with a linear city that "moved" by building at one end and tearing down at the other, and of course the upper crust lived in the newer areas at one end, leaving the rest for the lower class. Does that jibe with your memory?
    – Spencer
    Jul 11, 2020 at 13:24
  • Not specialy. In my memory, upper class is up (and can see the sunlight and live a "normal" life, the others are down and cannot see the sunlight.
    – Solipsos
    Jul 23, 2020 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


Finaly found it : World Shaker, by Richard Harland (although it's from 2009).

Col is a wealthy child of privilege. Raised to succeed his grandfather as the Supreme Commander of the juggernaut Worldshaker, he has lived a pampered life on the Upper Decks. He has never questioned his place in the world or his bright and illustrious future. But when a Filthy girl stows away in his cabin, suddenly nothing is clear anymore. Quick and clever, Riff is nothing like the Filthies that Col always learned about—the dumb, slow, less-than-human folk who toil away Below, keeping Worldshaker moving. Filthies are supposed to be animal-like, without the power of speech or the ability to think for themselves—but Riff is clever and quick and outspoken, and Col is drawn to her despite himself.


  • You can self accept by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons as per the tour.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Sep 20, 2020 at 17:55

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