Excerpt from Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Leviathan
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2009, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2010, 464 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Cindy Anderson

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Even if it meant defying the emperor himself.

Two

By the time they reached the stables, Alek's only concern was tripping in the darkness. The moon was less than half full, and the estate's hunting forests stretched like a black sea across the valley. At this hour even the lights of Prague had died out to a mere inkling.

When Alek saw the walker, a soft cry escaped his lips.

It stood taller than the stable's roof, its two metal feet sunk deep into the soil of the riding paddock. It looked like one of the Darwinist monsters skulking in the darkness.

This wasn't some training machine -- it was a real engine of war, a Cyklop Stormwalker. A cannon was mounted in its belly, and the stubby noses of two Spandau machine guns sprouted from its head, which was as big as a smokehouse.

Before tonight Alek had piloted only unarmed runabouts and four-legged training corvettes. Even with his sixteenth birthday almost here, Mother always insisted that he was too young for war machines.

"I'm supposed to pilot that?" Alek heard his own voice break. "My old runabout wouldn't come up to its knee!"

Otto Klopp's gloved hand patted his shoulder heavily. "Don't worry, young Mozart. I'll be at your side."

Count Volger called up to the machine, and its engines rumbled to life, the ground trembling under Alek's feet. Moonlight shivered from the wet leaves in the camouflage nets draped over the Stormwalker, and the mutter of nervous horses came from the stable.

The belly hatch swung open and a chain ladder tumbled out, unrolling as it fell. Count Volger stilled it from swinging, then planted a boot on the lowermost metal rung to hold it steady.

"Young master, if you please."

Alek stared up at the machine. He tried to imagine guiding this monster through the darkness, crushing trees, buildings, and anything else unlucky enough to be in his path.

Otto Klopp leaned closer. "Your father the archduke has thrown us a challenge, me and you. He wants you ready to pilot any machine in the House Guard, even in the middle of the night."

Alek swallowed. Father always said that, with war on the horizon, everyone in the household had to be prepared. And it made sense to begin training while Mother was away. If Alek crashed the walker, the worst bruises might fade before the princess Sophie returned.

But Alek still hesitated. The belly hatch of the rumbling machine looked like the jaws of some giant predator bending down to take a bite.

"Of course, we cannot force you, Your Serene Highness," Count Volger said, amusement in his voice. "We can always explain to your father that you were too scared."

"I'm not scared." Alek grabbed the ladder and hoisted himself up. The sawtooth rungs gripped his gloves as Alek climbed past the anti-boarding spikes arrayed along the walker's belly. He crawled into the machine's dark maw, the smell of kerosene and sweat filling his nose, the engines' rhythm trembling in his bones.

"Welcome aboard, Your Highness," a voice said. Two men waited in the gunners' cabin, steel helmets glittering. A Stormwalker carried a crew of five, Alek recalled. This wasn't some little three-man runabout. He almost forgot to return their salutes.

Count Volger was close behind him on the ladder, so Alek kept climbing up into the command cabin. He took the pilot's seat, strapping himself in as Klopp and Volger followed.

He placed his hands on the saunters, feeling the machine's awesome power trembling in his fingers. Strange to think that these two small levers could control the walker's huge metal legs.

"Vision at full," Klopp said, cranking the viewport open as wide as it would go. The cool night air spilled into the Stormwalker's cabin, and moonlight fell across dozens of switches and levers.

The four-legged corvette he'd piloted the month before had needed only control saunters, a fuel gauge, and a compass. But now uncountable needles were arrayed before him, shivering like nervous whiskers.

Excerpted from Leviathan by Scott Westerfield. Copyright © 2009 by Scott Westerfield. Excerpted by permission of Simon Pulse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: How to Set a Fire and Why
    How to Set a Fire and Why
    by Jesse Ball
    Lucia Stanton, Jesse Ball's precocious teenage narrator, lives in a converted garage with her ...
  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!