Fathom: Book summary and reviews of Fathom by Cherie Priest

Fathom
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2008
    384 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

“I can’t fathom them, and neither can you.”

The ageless water witch Arahab has been scheming for eons, gathering the means to awaken the great Leviathan. She aims to bring him and the old gods back to their former glory, caring little that their ascendance will also mean an end to the human race. However, awakening the Leviathan is no small feat. In fact, Arahab can’t complete the ritual without human aid.

Arahab’s first choice is José Gaspar, a notorious sea pirate from eighteenth-century Spain. But when the task proves too difficult for Gaspar, she must look elsewhere, biding her time until the 1930’s, when the ideal candidate shows up: a slightly deranged teenager named Bernice.

sophisticated, torn from New York and forced to spend a miserable summer on Anna Maria Island, a tiny rock off the coast of Florida. She’s also been saddled with the companionship of her farm-raised cousin Nia. Eventually, Bernice’s disenchantment gives way to rage, which in turn leads her to commit a deadly crime. When Nia won’t cover for Bernice’s actions, she turns on Nia, chasing her into the deadly coastal waves.

But the timing is right and the elementals have better ideas: the moment the girls go under, Bernice is commandeered for Arahab’s task force, and Nia is turned into a strange and powerful new creature by a servant of the earth who doesn’t want to surrender his green fields and muddy plains—not yet, at least. Add in a hapless fire inspector who’s just trying to get his paperwork in order, a fire god whose neutrality has been called into question, and a bizarre religious cult, and rural Florida doesn’t seem quite so sleepy anymore.

Cherie Priest, who stormed onto the scene with the stunning Southern Gothic trio that began with Four and Twenty Blackbirds, now brings the same masterful writing and unforgettable characterization to the realm of near-contemporary rural fantasy. The result, Fathom, is fast-paced, stunning, and quite unlike anything you’ve ever read.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A decidedly dark departure...arguably her most ambitious - and accomplished - work to date." - Publishers Weekly

"Part fairy tale, part work of modern gothic horror, Priest's latest belongs in most libraries." - Library Journal

"Although Priest’s quirky, character-driven yarn becomes mystifyingly outlandish at times, her creative vision is unlike anything else in contemporary fantasy." - Booklist

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Author Information

Cherie Priest Author Biography

Cherie Priest made her debut with the Eden Moore series of Southern Gothic ghost stories that began with Four and Twenty Blackbirds. She is best known for her 2009 book Boneshaker. It was nominated for a Nebula Award and a Hugo Award. Boneshaker also won the PNBA Award, as well as the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

Her other works include Jacaranda (2014), Maplecroft (2014), Fiddlehead (2013), The Inexplicables (2012), Ganymede (2011), and Dreadnought (2010). Ganymede won the 2012 Airship Award for Written Fiction.

She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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