Leviathan : Leviathan

  • by Scott Westerfeld
  • Narrated by Alan Cumming
  • Series: Leviathan
  • 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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. The Leviathan is a living airship, the most formidable airbeast in the skies of Europe.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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Outstanding Narration

Most of the reviews talk about how outstanding the story is, and I agree wholeheartedly. I didn't know about the steampunk genre when I picked this up, and it is an excellent introduction. And I want to say that the last I learned about WWI was in ninth grade (more than 15 years ago) but I still knew what was historical fact and what was made up.

But I thought proper tribute needed to be made to Alan Cumming, the narrator. For the most part I use audiobooks as a way to pass the time. I work with words, so I prefer to see them. But this story was significantly enhanced by having it read to me by a European man. I hate to admit it, but it is because I am from the United States and not well traveled - that's why I love books. I don't know how accurately Cumming is doing these different accents (Austrian, various Brittish and I can only assume that Russian will come later) but they are a hella lot better than I could do them on my own head if I were reading the novel. He even gets the differences between the common Brittsh and "posh" Brittish.

I will say this about the author's work. As I said, I work with words myself, so I find the slang of the mid-shipman protagonist highly entertaining. Is that true Brittish slang of the time or did the author make that up as well? I don't know, but I love it. "Barking spiders!" and a "rattled attic," all without uttering what we would consider profanity today, which we all know sailors are prone to doing.

Two masters of their craft come together to create a truely imaginative work. HIGHLY recommended.
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- Anita Margarita

An unexpected pleasure

From time to time I do enjoy a "young adult" listen (particularly the excellent City of Ember series, as well as His Dark Materials) but generally I don't expect too much in terms of story, setting, and character. Here is another fine exception to that expectation. "Leviathan" was amazingly brought to life here by Cumming, as we follow the stories of Aleks (a prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on the run for his life) and Deryn (daughter to a ballooner, she enlists in the British Air Services as a boy in disguise) at the outbreak of The Great War as set in a wonderfully detailed and re-imagined alternate history, where "Clankers" (steam-powered mechs) power the German forces, and crossbred animals (tiger-wolf hybrids to pull carriages, amazing engineered jellyfish and whale airships) are the basis of the "Darwinist" forces of England.

All in all a thoroughly satisfying listen which I enjoyed immensely.
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- Samuel Montgomery-Blinn "I'm a voracious audiobibliophile, mainly interested in speculative fiction, with the occasional mimetic fiction or non-fiction title sneaking in."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-06-2009
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio