It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure - one that will change both their lives forever.
The excerpt below is from Leviathan but does not include illustrations, to view the first three chapters including illustrations visit the publisher's website.
The Austrian horses glinted in the moonlight, their riders standing tall in the saddle, swords raised. Behind them two ranks of diesel-powered walking machines stood ready to fire, cannon aimed over the heads of the cavalry. A zeppelin scouted no-man's-land at the center of the battlefield, its metal skin sparkling.
The French and British infantry crouched behind their fortifications -- a letter opener, an ink jar, and a line of fountain pens -- knowing they stood no chance against the might of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But a row of Darwinist monsters loomed behind them, ready to devour any who dared retreat.
The attack had almost begun when Prince Aleksandar thought he heard someone outside his door....
He took a guilty step toward his bed -- then froze in place, listening hard. Trees stirred in a soft breeze outside, ...
Scott Westerfeld, author of the popular Uglies series for young adults, tries his hand at steampunk in Leviathan, an imaginative alternate-reality story featuring two teenagers who must cope with personal loss and isolation, and who learn the meaning of friendship in a time of war. But this book is no downer. Westerfeld takes readers along for the wild adventures of the two young protagonists. Written for a YA audience, this book is a fun read for adults as well.
(Reviewed by Cindy Anderson).
Full Review (767 words).
Keith Thompson, who contributed fifty illustrations for the interior of Leviathan, began freelancing as an artist in high school. After graduating, he studied illustration and continued his freelance work. He has contributed art for books, video games, film, and television.
Preparing the Leviathan illustrations involved a year of planning and working on the project, drawing the illustrations as author Scott Westerfeld wrote. He often asked questions of Westerfeld to find out his conception of the visual elements of the story.
In an interview with Irene Gallo on Tor.com, Thompson is asked if he was a fan of steampunk before Leviathan. He replies:
Yes, definitely. Since this is just the way I work ...
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