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    Original Essays | September 21, 2015

    Annie Jacobsen: IMG Mirrors on the Moon: A Reporter's Story about Sources and Secrets in the Modern World

    As a national security reporter, I write about war, weapons, security, and secrets. The question most commonly asked of me is, "How do you get... Continue »
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Leviathan Cover

ISBN13: 9781416971740
ISBN10: 1416971742
Condition: Standard
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Leviathan andlt;link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="../styles/9781416987062.css"andgt; andlt;h2 andgt;andlt;a id="ch01"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;andlt;a id="page_1"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;andlt;img src="../images/common.jpg" alt="image"andgt; ONE andlt;img src="../images/common.jpg" alt="image"andgt;andlt;/h2andgt; andlt;BRandgt;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-manand#8217;s-land at the center of the battlefield, its metal skin sparkling.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The French and British infantry crouched behind their fortificationsand#8212;a letter opener, an ink jar, and a line of fountain pensand#8212;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.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The attack had almost begun when Prince Aleksandar thought he heard someone outside his doorand#8230; .andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;He took a guilty step toward his bedand#8212;then froze in place, listening hard. Trees stirred in a soft breeze andlt;a id="page_2"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;outside, but otherwise the night was silent. Mother and Father were in Sarajevo, after all. The servants wouldnand#8217;t dare disturb his sleep.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;img src="../images/f0002-01.jpg" alt="image"andgt;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Alek turned back to his desk and began to move the cavalry forward, grinning as the battle neared its climax. The Austrian walkers had completed their bombardment, and it was time for the tin horses to finish off the woefully outnumbered French. It had taken all night to set up the attack, using an imperial tactics manual borrowed from Fatherand#8217;s study.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;It seemed only fair that Alek have some fun while his parents were off watching military maneuvers. Heand#8217;d begged to be taken along, to see the mustered ranks of soldiers striding past in real life, to feel the rumble of massed fighting machines through the soles of his boots.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;a id="page_3"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;It was Mother, of course, who had forbidden itand#8212;his studies were more important than and#8220;parades,and#8221; as she called them. She didnand#8217;t understand that military exercises had more to teach him than musty old tutors and their books. One day soon Alek might be piloting one of those machines.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;War was coming, after all. Everyone said so.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The last tin cavalry unit had just crashed into the French lines when the soft sound came from the hallway again: jingling, like a ring of keys.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Alek turned, peering at the gap beneath his bed chamberand#8217;s double doors. Shadows shifted along the sliver of moonlight, and he heard the hiss of whispers.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Someone was right outside.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Silent in bare feet, he swiftly crossed the cold marble floor, sliding into bed just as the door creaked open. Alek narrowed his eyes to a slit, wondering which of the servants was checking on him.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Moonlight spilled into the room, making the tin soldiers on his desk glitter. Someone slipped inside, graceful and dead silent. The figure paused, staring at Alek for a moment, then crept toward his dresser. Alek heard the wooden rasp of a drawer sliding open.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;His heart raced. None of the servants would dare steal from him!andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;But what if the intruder were something worse than andlt;a id="page_4"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;a thief? His fatherand#8217;s warnings echoed in his earsand#8230; .andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Iandgt;You have had enemies from the day you were born.andlt;/Iandgt;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;A bell cord hung next to his bed, but his parentsand#8217; rooms were empty. With Father and his bodyguard in Sarajevo, the closest sentries were quartered at the other end of the trophy hall, fifty meters away.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Alek slid one hand under his pillow, until his fingers touched the cold steel of his hunting knife. He lay there holding his breath, grasping the handle tightly, repeating to himself his fatherand#8217;s other watchword.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Iandgt;Surprise is more valuable than strength.andlt;/Iandgt;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Another figure came through the door then, boots clomping, a piloting jacketand#8217;s metal clips jingling like keys on a ring. The figure tromped straight toward his bed.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Young master! Wake up!and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Alek let go of the knife, expelling a sigh of relief. It was just old Otto Klopp, his master of mechaniks.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The first figure began rifling through the dresser, pulling at clothes.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;The young prince has been awake all along,and#8221; Wildcount Volgerand#8217;s low voice said. and#8220;A bit of advice, Your Highness? When pretending to be asleep, it is advisable not to hold oneand#8217;s breath.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Alek sat up and scowled. His fencing master had an annoying knack for seeing through deception.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Whatand#8217;s the meaning of this?and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;a id="page_5"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;and#8220;Youand#8217;re to come with us, young master,and#8221; Otto mumbled, studying the marble floor. and#8220;The archdukeand#8217;s orders.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;My father? Heand#8217;s back already?and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;He left instructions,and#8221; Count Volger said with the same infuriating tone he used during fencing lessons. He tossed a pair of Alekand#8217;s trousers and a piloting jacket onto the bed.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Alek stared at them, half outraged and half confused.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Like young Mozart,and#8221; Otto said softly. and#8220;In the arch-dukeand#8217;s stories.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Alek frowned, remembering Fatherand#8217;s favorite tales about the great composerand#8217;s upbringing. Supposedly Mozartand#8217;s tutors would wake him in the middle of the night, when his mind was raw and defenseless, and thrust musical lessons upon him. It all sounded rather disrespectful to Alek.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;He reached for the trousers. and#8220;Youand#8217;re going to make me compose a andlt;Iandgt;fugueandlt;/Iandgt;?and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;An amusing thought,and#8221; Count Volger said. and#8220;But please make haste.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;We have a walker waiting behind the stables, young master.and#8221; Ottoand#8217;s worried face made an attempt at a smile. and#8220;Youand#8217;re to take the helm.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;A walker?and#8221; Alekand#8217;s eyes widened. Piloting was one part of his studies heand#8217;d gladly get out of bed for. He slipped quickly into the clothes.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Yes, your first night lesson!and#8221; Otto said, handing Alek his boots.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;a id="page_6"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;Alek pulled them on and stood, then fetched his favorite pilotand#8217;s gloves from the dresser, his footsteps echoing on the marble floor.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Quietly now.and#8221; Count Volger stood by the chamber doors. He cracked them and peered out into the hall.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Weand#8217;re to sneak out, Your Highness!and#8221; Otto whispered. and#8220;Good fun, this lesson! Just like young Mozart!and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;img src="../images/common.jpg" alt="image"andgt; andlt;img src="../images/common.jpg" alt="image"andgt; andlt;img src="../images/common.jpg" alt="image"andgt;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The three of them crept down the trophy hall, Master Klopp still clomping, Volger gliding along in silence. Paintings of Alekand#8217;s ancestors, the family who had ruled Austria for six hundred years, lined the hallway, their subjects staring down with unreadable expressions. The antlers of his fatherand#8217;s hunting trophies cast tangled shadows, like a moonlit forest. Every footstep was magnified by the stillness of the castle, and questions echoed in Alekand#8217;s mind.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Wasnand#8217;t it dangerous, piloting a walker at night? And why was his fencing master coming along? Count Volger preferred swords and horses over soulless mechaniks, and had little tolerance for commoners like old Otto. Master Klopp had been hired for his piloting skills, not his family name.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Volger and#8230;,and#8221; Alek began.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;andlt;Iandgt;Quietandlt;/Iandgt;, boy!and#8221; the wildcount spat.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Anger flashed inside Alek, and a curse almost burst andlt;a id="page_7"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;from his mouth, even if it ruined their stupid game of sneaking out.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;It was always like this. To the servants he might be and#8220;the young archduke,and#8221; but nobles like Volger never let Alek forget his position. Thanks to his motherand#8217;s common blood, he wasnand#8217;t fit to inherit royal lands and titles. His father might be heir to an empire of fifty million souls, but Alek was heir to nothing.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Volger himself was only a wildcountand#8212;no farmlands to his name, just a bit of forestand#8212;but even he could feel superior to the son of a lady-in-waiting.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Alek managed to stay quiet, though, letting his anger cool as they stole through the vast and darkened banquet kitchens. Years of insults had taught him how to bite his tongue, and disrespect was easier to swallow with the prospect of piloting ahead.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;One day he would have his revenge. Father had promised. The marriage contract would be changed somehow, and Alekand#8217;s blood made royal.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Even if it meant defying the emperor himself.

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Average customer rating based on 14 comments:

wadeaux95, November 13, 2014 (view all comments by wadeaux95)
This book is a delight. The worldbuilding is some of the most creative I've ever read, the characters are lovable and distinct, and the plot is fast-paced without sacrificing character development.
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nrlymrtl, August 15, 2013 (view all comments by nrlymrtl)
I absolutely loved this book. The characters are fully formed, popping off the page, or CD in my case, and continue to evolve throughout the book. The world is full of life, history, and culture. The setting of the very beginning of WWI gives the reader a starting point, but this tale doesn’t simply sit there �" no, it grabs the reader in mechanical pincers and genetically modified tentacles and drags one into an intricate plot and riotously good story. The steampunk elements easily intertwine with the alternate history that takes place. The element that I wasn’t expecting, yet worked so incredibly well, was the British Darwinists’ genetically modified beasties. Some were small (like flechette bats and straffing hawks) while some were huge (like the hydrogen breather Leviathan).

The story alternates between two points of view: Alek of Austro-Hungary and Deryn of the British Air Service. Both teens are quickly being pushed towards adulthood in this blossoming war. Deryn’s sense of humor is quick, rough, and lightens the mood of what could have been a pretty morbid alternate history. Alek, having lead a pampered semi-royal life until his most recent adventures, still manages to retain a strong sense of honor, which often leaves his protectors groaning. Count Vulgar, what side do you stand on? Scott Westerfeld has written this character so well that I can’t yet tell if the Count is simply out for his best interests, or if he is truly committed to Alek 100% and his pride is wounded when Alek no longer looks to him for every decision. Dr. Barlough with her Tasmanian Devil is another fascinating character taking no nonsense from anyone as she carries forth a diplomatic military (even scientific?) mission.

Personally, I found the beasties more fascinating than the mechanisms, but that is probably the biologist in me throwing a party over this book. Did anyone else ever play that computer game Impossible Creatures? Yeah, it’s somewhat crazy cool like that. I haven’t come across tigers with lobster claws or anything, yet, but if there was a burning need for such a beastie, I am sure Westerfeld could build it in.

Narration: Alan Cumming was fantastic. He gave this perfect, sometimes sarcastic, tone to Deryn, especially when she is cussing (Bum rag! Barking spiders!). He also did accents, and not just British. Alek and his fellow Austrians were all done in a Germanic accent (I personally can’t tell a German accent from an Austrian). Occasionally, he was called upon to make a weird mechanical or bestial noise, which he pulled off easily.
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dsutton_sa, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by dsutton_sa)
Since I'm into steam punk and anything dealing with bio-mechanical weaponry, I decided to read this book. I like how it involves British Darwinists who employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the best in the British fleet. But, the story also involves two main characters in the midst of the war. One character is named Aleksandar Ferdinand, a prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His life was ruined when his people turned against him. He has no title and no empire. His only means of survival is to captain a ship called the Stormwalker and it's loyal crew. The other character is Deryn Sharp,a commoner, who disguises herself as a boy in the British Air Service. Complicated. She's always worrying that someone will find out her secret which will happen, but anyway. The two meet and an adventure ensues and they end up on the Leviathan. It's a great book.
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Product Details

Westerfeld, Scott
Simon Pulse
Thompson, Keith
Thompson, Keith
Offermann, Andrea
Milford, Kate
Action & Adventure - General
Fantasy & Magic
Legends, Myths, & Fables - General
Action & Adventure
Children s-Adventure Stories
Edition Description:
The Leviathan Trilogy
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 7
f-c cvr
8.25 x 5.5 in
Age Level:

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Leviathan Used Trade Paper
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Product details 464 pages Simon Pulse - English 9781416971740 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Now in paperback, the New York Times bestselling launch of Westerfeld's masterful series that SLJ reviewd as "sure to become a classic."
"Synopsis" by ,

A fast-paced and richly textured historical fantasy, this prequel to The Boneshaker centers around the seedy underworld of Coney Island, the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the two orphans who are determined to stop evil forces from claiming the city of New York.

"Synopsis" by ,

A crossroads can be a place of great power. So begins this deliciously spine-tingling prequel to Kate Milfordandrsquo;s The Boneshaker, set in the colorful world of nineteenth-century Coney Island and New York City. Few crossroads compare to the one being formed by the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River, and as the bridgeandrsquo;s construction progresses, forces of unimaginable evil seek to bend that power to their advantage. Only two orphans with unusual skills stand in their way. Can the teenagers Sam, a card sharp, and Jin, a fireworks expert, stop them before itandrsquo;s too late? Here is a richly textured, slow-burning thriller about friendship, courage, and the age-old fight between good and evil.

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