Summer Sale! Save 20% today and get access to all our member benefits.

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 by Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson X
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2009, 448 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2010, 464 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Cindy Anderson
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


But the sheer power of the machine kept him anxious. Heat from the engines built in the cabin, the night air blowing in like cold fingers. Alek tried to imagine what piloting would be like in battle, with the viewport half shut against flying bullets and shrapnel.

Finally the pine branches cleared before them, and Klopp said, "Turn here and we'll have better footing, young master."

"Isn't this one of Mother's riding paths?" Alek said. "She'll have my hide if we track it up!" Whenever one of Princess Sophie's horses stumbled on a walker footprint, Master Klopp, Alek, and even Father felt her wrath for days.

But he eased back on the throttle, grateful for a moment of rest, bringing the Stormwalker to a halt on the trail. Inside his piloting jacket Alek was soaked with sweat.

"Disagreeable in every way, Your Highness," Volger said. "But necessary if we're to make good time tonight."

Alek turned to Otto Klopp and frowned. "Make good time? But this is just practice. We're not going anywhere, are we?"

Klopp didn't answer, his eyes glancing up at the count. Alek pulled his hands from the saunters and swiveled the pilot's chair around.

"Volger, what's going on?"

The wildcount stared down at him in silence, and Alek felt suddenly very alone out here in the darkness.

His mind began to replay his father's warnings: How some nobles believed that Alek's muddled lineage threatened the empire. That one day the insults might turn into something worse....

But these men couldn't be traitors. Volger had held a sword to his throat a thousand times in fencing practice, and his master of mechaniks? Unthinkable.

"Where are we going, Otto? Explain this at once."

"You're to come with us, Your Highness," Otto Klopp said softly.

"We have to get as far away from Prague as possible," Volger said. "Your father's orders."

"But my father isn't even..." Alek gritted his teeth and swore. What a fool he'd been, tempted into the forest with tales of midnight piloting, like luring a child with candy. The whole household was asleep, his parents away in Sarajevo.

Alek's arms were still tired from fighting to keep the Stormwalker upright, and strapped into the pilot's chair he could hardly draw his knife. He closed his eyes -- he'd left the weapon back in his room, under the pillow.

"The archduke left instructions," Count Volger said.

"You're lying!" Alek shouted.

"I wish we were, young master." Volger reached into his riding jacket.

A surge of panic swept into Alek, cutting through his despair. His hands shot to the unfamiliar controls, searching for the distress whistle's cord. They couldn't be far from home yet. Surely someone would hear the Stormwalker's shriek.

Otto jumped into motion, grabbing Alek's arms. Volger swept a flask from his jacket and forced its open mouth to Alek's face. A sweet smell filled the cabin, sending his mind spinning. He tried not to breathe, struggling against the larger men.

Then his fingers found the distress cord and pulled --

But Master Klopp's hands were already at the controls, spilling the Stormwalker's pneumatic pressure. The whistle let out only a miserable descending wail, like a teakettle pulled from the fire.

Alek still struggled, holding his breath for what felt like minutes, but finally his lungs rebelled. He scooped in a ragged breath, the sharp scent of chemicals filling his head...

A cascade of bright spots fell across the instruments, and a weight seemed to lift from Alek's shoulders. He felt as though he were floating free of the men's grasp, free of the seat straps -- free of gravity, even.

"My father will have your heads," he managed to croak.

"Alas not, Your Highness," Count Volger said. "Your parents are both dead, murdered this night in Sarajevo."

Alek tried to laugh at this absurd statement, but the world twisted sideways under him, darkness and silence crashing down.

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" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Night of Baba Yaga
    The Night of Baba Yaga
    by Akira Otani, Sam Bett
    When Yoriko Shindo gets into a brawl on a busy street in 1970s Tokyo, she has no idea what the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Anthropologists
    The Anthropologists
    by Aysegül Savas
    A documentary filmmaker, Asya is interested in the "unremarkable grace" of daily life, "the slow and...
  • Book Jacket: Mood Swings
    Mood Swings
    by Frankie Barnet
    This book begins with a bombastic premise. Seemingly fed up with the heating planet, the world's ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye
    The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye
    by Briony Cameron
    Our titular heroine's story begins in Yáquimo, Santo Domingo. Jacquotte Delahaye is a young ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The 1619 Project
by Nikole Hannah-Jones
An impactful expansion of groundbreaking journalism, The 1619 Project offers a revealing vision of America's past and present.
Who Said...

I am what the librarians have made me with a little assistance from a professor of Greek and a few poets

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L T C O of the B

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.