It's about large 3-legged machines that capture and enslaved the world. There are no longer cars, trains, machinory or other devices.
First we have a boy named Will, who question the tripods power over people. Will's friend, Henry, who is Will's cousin, tags along with them. Jean Paul, nicknamed Beanpole is the one in the group who loves to experiment.
Then we have the evil tripods. They are machines that control all the capped people . Being capped means not being able to think on your own. You are not aloud to ask question.
Will meets a man named, Ozymandias, who tells Will of the White Mountains across the sea. Ozymandias gives Will a map and tells him to follow it. This is when Will and Henry's adventure begins.
Will and Henry meet Capt.Curtis who sails them across the sea. Whiles out at sea three tripods came and almost tip the boat over, but they fail.
After they land some drunks accuse them of vandalizing boats in the harbor, but Will could not tell them what happened because he could not speak their language. This is where Will and Henry meets Beanpole. He helps them to get away from the drunks.
On their journey to the White Mountains, the boys jump on a shmond-fair. Horses pull this. Beanpole tells the others that it would move faster if it had a steam engine. The others look at him and laugh.
Will, Henry and Beanpole get off the Shmond-Fair near an ancient city. The boys roam through the city looking at the destruction from the tripods year before. They come across old broken buildings with what used to be stores and shops.
As Will Henry and Beanpole explore the ancient city ,they find stairs that lead down into a dark hole. It was an old subway tunnel. They come across old subway cars and go inside. There they find guns, ammo and hand grenades. Beanpole pulls the pin and drops it under the subway cars. It explodes, so Beanpole keeps some of the hand grenades.
As their journey continues, Will gets sick and some people find them.