Behemoth (Leviathan Series #2)by Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson
The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker Powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to… See more details below
The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker Powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what’s ahead.
In this sequel to Leviathan (2009), Deryn and Alek foment revolution at the onset of the Great War. They both have secrets: Deryn, a girl in disguise, serves on a living airship; Alek is secretly heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Alek ends up in Istanbul after a cinematic escape from the airship, while Deryn is stranded there after a top-secret mission. The two discover a city caught between Clanker and Darwinist powers, a city using machines and engines as the Germans do but tremulously allied to the beastie-manufacturing British. Alek and Deryn join the intrigues of a multi-ethnic secret society seeking to overthrow the Sultan. It's a racketing adventure, packed with genetically engineered beasties, human-looking machines and nosy American reporters. Though subject to all the weaknesses of steampunk--an exotic East that owes more to Orientalism than to accuracy; a romantic and exciting interpretation of exceedingly dark historical periods--it also showcases the genre's strengths: gleeful battles, well-appointed airships, wee clockwork library helpers and sea monsters. Keith Thompson's lively black-and-white illustrations suit perfectly. (Steampunk. 12-15)
Read an Excerpt
Alek raised his sword. “On guard, sir!”
Deryn hefted her own weapon, studying Alek’s pose. His feet were splayed at right angles, his left arm sticking out behind like the handle of a teacup. His fencing armor made him look like a walking quilt. Even with his sword pointed straight at her, he looked barking silly.
“Do I have to stand like that?” she asked.
“If you want to be a proper fencer, yes.”
“A proper idiot, more like,” Deryn muttered, wishing again that her first lesson were someplace less public. A dozen crewmen were watching, along with a pair of curious hydrogen sniffers. But Mr. Rigby, the bosun, had forbidden swordplay inside the airship.
She sighed, raised her saber, and tried to imitate Alek’s pose.
It was a fine day on the Leviathan’s topside, at least. The airship had left the Italian peninsula behind last night, and the flat sea stretched in all directions, the afternoon sun scattering diamonds across its surface. Seagulls wheeled overhead, carried by the cool ocean breeze.
Best of all, there were no officers up here to remind Deryn that she was on duty. Two German ironclad warships were rumored to be skulking nearby, and Deryn was meant to be watching for signals from Midshipman Newkirk, who was dangling from a Huxley ascender two thousand feet above them.
But she wasn’t really dawdling. Only two days before, Captain Hobbes had ordered her to keep an eye on Alek, to learn what she could. Surely a secret mission from the captain himself outweighed her normal duties.
Maybe it was daft that the officers still thought of Alek and his men as enemies, but at least it gave Deryn an excuse to spend time with him.
“Do I look like a ninny?” she asked Alek.
“You do indeed, Mr. Sharp.”
“Well, you do too, then! Whatever they call ninnies in Clanker-talk.”
“The word is ‘Dummkopf’” he said. “But I don’t look like one, because my stance isn’t dreadful.”
He lowered his saber and came closer, adjusting Deryn’s limbs as if she were a dummy in a shop window.
“More weight on your back foot,” he said, nudging her boots farther apart. “So you can push off when you attack.”
Alek was right behind her now, his body pressing close as he adjusted her sword arm. She hadn’t realized this fencing business would be so touchy.
He grasped her waist, sending a crackle across her skin.
If Alek moved his hands any higher, he might notice what was hidden beneath her careful tailoring.
“Always keep sideways to your opponent,” he said, gently turning her. “That way, your chest presents the smallest possible target.”
“Aye, the smallest possible target,” Deryn sighed. Her secret was safe, it seemed.
Alek stepped away and resumed his own pose, so that the tips of their swords almost touched. Deryn took a deep breath, ready to fight at last.
But Alek didn’t move. Long seconds passed, the airship’s new engines thrumming beneath their feet, the clouds slipping slowly past overhead.
“Are we going to fight?” Deryn finally asked. “Or just stare each other to death?”
“Before a fencer crosses swords, he has to learn this basic stance. But don’t worry”—Alek smiled cruelly—“we won’t be here more than an hour. It’s only your first lesson, after all.”
“What? A whole barking hour … without moving?” Deryn’s muscles were already complaining, and she could see the crewmen stifling their laughter. One of the hydrogen sniffers crept forward to snuffle her boot.
“This is nothing,” Alek said. “When I first started training with Count Volger, he wouldn’t even let me hold a sword!”
“Well, that sounds like a daft way to teach someone sword fighting.”
“Your body has to learn the proper stance. Otherwise you’ll fall into bad habits.”
Deryn snorted. “You’d think that in a fight not moving might be a bad habit! And if we’re just standing here, why are you wearing armor?”
Alek didn’t answer, just narrowed his eyes, his saber motionless in the air. Deryn could see her own point wavering. She set her teeth.
Of course, barking Prince Alek would have been taught how to fight in the proper way. From what she could tell, his whole life had been a procession of tutors. Count Volger, his fencing master, and Otto Klopp, his master of mechaniks, might be the only teachers with him now that he was on the run. But back when he’d lived in the Hapsburg family castle, there must have been a dozen more, all of them cramming Alek’s attic with yackum: ancient languages, parlor manners, and Clanker superstitions. No wonder he thought that standing about like a pair of coatracks was educational.
But Deryn wasn’t about to let some stuck-up prince outlast her.
So she stood there glaring at him, perfectly still. As the minutes stretched out, her body stiffened, her muscles beginning to throb. And it was worse inside her brain, boredom twisting into anger and frustration, the rumble of the airship’s Clanker engines turning her head into a beehive.
The trickiest part was holding Alek’s stare. His dark green eyes stayed locked on hers, as unwavering as his sword point. Now that she knew Alek’s secrets—the murder of his parents, the pain of leaving home behind, the cold weight of his family squabbles starting this awful war—Deryn could see the sadness behind that gaze.
At odd moments she could see tears brightening Alek’s eyes, only a fierce, relentless pride holding them back. And sometimes when they competed over stupid things, like who could climb the ratlines fastest, Deryn almost wanted to let him win.
But she could never say these things aloud, not as a boy, and Alek would never meet her eyes like this again, if he ever learned she was a girl.
“Alek …,” she began.
“Need a rest?” His smirk wiped her charitable thoughts away.
“Get stuffed,” she said. “I was just wondering, what’ll you Clankers do when we get to Constantinople?”
The point of Alek’s sword wavered for a moment. “Count Volger will think of something. We’ll leave the city as soon as possible, I expect. The Germans will never look for me in the wilds of the Ottoman Empire.”
Deryn glanced at the empty horizon ahead. The Leviathan might reach Constantinople by dawn tomorrow, and she’d met Alek only six days ago. Would he really be gone so quickly?
“Not that it’s so bad here,” Alek said. “The war feels farther away than it ever did in Switzerland. But I can’t stay up in the air forever.”
“No, I reckon you can’t,” Deryn said, focusing her gaze on their sword points. The captain might not know who Alek’s father had been, but it was obvious the boy was Austrian. It was only a matter of time before Austria-Hungary was officially at war with Britain, and then the captain would never let the Clankers leave.
It hardly seemed fair, thinking of Alek as an enemy after he’d saved the airship—two times now. Once from an icy death, by giving them food, and the second time from the Germans, by handing over the engines that had allowed them all to escape.
The Germans were still hunting Alek, trying to finish the job they’d started on his parents. Someone had to be on his side.…
And, as Deryn had gradually admitted to herself these last few days, she didn’t mind if that someone wound up being her.
A fluttering in the sky caught her attention, and Deryn let her aching sword arm drop.
“Hah!” Alek said. “Had enough?”
“It’s Newkirk,” she said, trying to work out the boy’s frantic signals.
The semaphore flags whipped through the letters once more, and slowly the message formed in her brain.
“Two sets of smokestacks, forty miles away,” she said, reaching for her command whistle. “It’s the German ironclads!”
She found herself smiling a little as she blew—Constantinople might have to wait a squick.
The alarm howl spread swiftly, passing from one hydrogen sniffer to the next. Soon the whole airship rang with the beasties’ cries.
Crewmen crowded the spine, setting up air guns and taking feed bags to the fléchette bats. Sniffers scampered across the ratlines, checking for leaks in the Leviathan’s skin.
Deryn and Alek cranked the Huxley’s winch, drawing Newkirk down closer to the ship.
“We’ll leave him at a thousand feet,” Deryn said, watching the altitude markings on the rope. “The lucky sod. You can see the whole battle from up there!”
“But it won’t be much of a battle, will it?” Alek asked. “What can an airship do to a pair of ironclads?”
“My guess is, we’ll stay absolutely still for an hour. Just so we don’t fall into any bad habits.”
Alek rolled his eyes. “I’m serious, Dylan. The Leviathan has no heavy guns. How do we fight them?”
“A big hydrogen breather can do plenty. We’ve got a few aerial bombs left, and fléchette bats …” Deryn’s words faded. “Did you just say ‘we’?”
“You just said, ‘How do we fight them?’ Like you were one of us!”
“I suppose I might have.” Alek looked down at his boots. “My men and I are serving on this ship, after all, even if you are a bunch of godless Darwinists.”
Deryn smiled again as she secured the Huxley’s cable. “I’ll make sure to mention that to the captain, next time he asks if you’re a Clanker spy.”
“How kind of you,” Alek said, then raised his eyes to meet hers. “But that’s a good point—will the officers trust us in battle?”
“Why wouldn’t they? You saved the ship—gave us engines from your Stormwalker!”
“Yes, but if I hadn’t been so generous, we’d still be stuck on that glacier with you. Or in a German prison, more likely. It wasn’t exactly out of friendship.”
Deryn frowned. Maybe things were a squick more complicated now, what with a battle coming up. Alek’s men and the Leviathan’s crew had become allies almost by accident, and only a few days ago.
“You only promised to help us get to the Ottoman Empire, I suppose,” she said softly. “Not to fight other Clankers.”
Alek nodded. “That’s what your officers will be thinking.”
“Aye, but what are you thinking?”
“We’ll follow orders.” He pointed toward the bow. “See that? Klopp and Hoffman are already at work.”
It was true. The engine pods on either side of the great beastie’s head were roaring louder, sending two thick columns of exhaust into the air. But to see the Clanker engines on a Darwinist airship was just another reminder of the strange alliance the Leviathan had entered into. Compared to the tiny British-made engines the ship was designed to carry, they sounded and smoked like freight trains.
“Maybe this is a chance to prove yourself,” Deryn said. “You should go lend your men a hand. We’ll need good speed to catch those ironclads by nightfall.” She clapped him on the shoulder. “But don’t get yourself killed.”
“I’ll try not to.” Alek smiled and gave her a salute. “Good luck, Mr. Sharp.”
He turned and ran forward along the spine.
Watching him go, Deryn wondered what officers down on the bridge were thinking. Here was the Leviathan, entering battle with new and barely tested engines, run by men who should by all rights be fighting on the other side.
But the captain didn’t have much choice, did he? He could either trust the Clankers or drift helplessly in the breeze. And Alek and his men had to join the fight or they’d lose their only allies. Nobody seemed to have much choice, come to think of it.
Deryn sighed, wondering how this war had got so muddled.
© 2010 Scott Westerfeld
Meet the Author
Scott Westerfeld is the author of the Leviathan series, the first book of which was the winner of the 2010 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. His other novels include the New York Times bestseller Afterworlds, the worldwide bestselling Uglies series, The Last Days, Peeps, So Yesterday, and the Midnighters trilogy. Visit him at ScottWesterfeld.com or follow him on Twitter at @ScottWesterfeld.
Keith Thompson’s work has appeared in books, magazines, TV, video games, and films. See his work at KeithThompsonArt.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I hopped from Leviathan to Behemoth and I couldnt have been more happy with a sequel. The creatures and machines in this story makes me wish that they actually exist and the characters are easily relatable! I CANNOT wait for the next one, I will be marking it down on my calender!
The first book was epic ! :) so is#2
Best book in the world
This was a great book that matched that of the first. This book is one of the best books ever! A good reader!
You would be crazy not to get this book.
The war is still raging: In this sequel to Westerfeld's Leviathan, World War I is still raging across Europe. And yet again, Deryn and Alek are on another adventure. Westerfeld keeps the excitement flowing through this second book as the airship, Leviathan, heads for the Ottoman Empire. I loved the action in this novel and Westerfeld's attention to detail, especially concerning the variety of cultures when they arrive in the Empire. It really added life to the story Details, details, details: One of the best things about this novel, in my opinion, is the attention to detail. Those little descriptions here and there really made things seem realistic despite the alternative view of the world during that time period. Pictures!: I thought I grew out of picture books but the illustrations throughout Behemoth really provided a great visual for some of the stranger aspects of the novel. What Westerfeld didn't describe was depicted beautifully in the pictures. After finishing the novel, I actually went back to look at them all. Once again, Westerfeld leaves me wanting more, but we'll all have to wait for Goliath until September.
I absolutely this entire series
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy and serving in the British Air Services aboard the Leviathan as it heads to the capital of the Ottoman Empire on a secret mission. Alek, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, is also aboard the Leviathan posing as a commoner among his men. Together these Clankers and Darwinists have forged an uneasy alliance born out of necessity. But when war comes to the airship, everything changes. The year is 1914. The British Darwinists and their fabricated beasties have declared war against Austria-Hungary and their Clanker war machines. The rest of the world sits, waiting, on the brink of war. As the threat of war looms closer, Alek finds himself running out of options. He can't stay aboard the Leviathan any longer and risk becoming a prisoner of war. But can he ask his only friend, Dylan Sharp, to commit treason by helping him escape? Deryn knows that Alek has to leave the airship. She knows the he should go. But no matter what she tells herself Deryn doesn't want him to go. How can the one person who trusts her completely also be the one she can't share her biggest secret with? Alek and Deryn should be on opposite sides of this conflict but instead they have become fast friends. As the two make their way through the mysterious and dangerous city of Istanbul they just might find a way to stop this war in its tracks in Behemoth (2010) by Scott Westerfeld with illustrations by Keith Thompson. Behemoth is the sequel to Leviathan. It's also the second book in Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy. This book is filled with everything that made Leviathan great and then some. Westerfeld's reimagined world is just as vivid and compelling as before. The action is just as exciting. There is alternate history. There is steampunk. There are beasties, walkers and a lot of people making insinuations by saying "Mr. Sharp" repeatedly.* There will be humor. Oh, and those mysterious eggs from Leviathan? They totally hatch in Behemoth. Deryn's secret continues to weigh heavily, especially when it comes to Alek. Meanwhile Alek, almost literally, has the weight of the world on his shoulders as he works to find a way to end the war. Westerfeld also spends more time on a lot of favorite secondary characters (including Dr. Barlow and Count Volger, my personal favorites) and world building as we see an Istanbul very unlike the one we know and learn more about familiar characters. The scope and detail Westerfeld brings to this book (and which Thompson brings to his delightful illustrations) is truly astounding. Behemoth is an excellent addition to a wonderful trilogy, possibly even better than the first in the trilogy. This is a book that really exceeds all expectations and will leave readers eagerly waiting for Goliath, the forthcoming conclusion to a stunning trilogy. Possible Pairings: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers with illustrations by Kelly Murphy, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, Firefly (television series) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (graphic novel and movie), The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne (television series), Serenity (movie) *Sometimes one line can really make a book. Believe it or not, "Mr. Sharp." might be the line of this book.
Its one of the Must Reads (: i love this book . I wont say that if you dont like this book then ur stupid or stuff like thay because everyone has their opinion . So just sayin for the people out there , this book is problably reccommended to ages 9 and up . When i read this , i got confused a little because i never got t read the first one . Soooooooooo ... ya . Hope you enjy this book ! Lydia Munchkin(: age 12
This book is the boom if you don't read u r weid
I am a big fan of Leviathan and Behemoth. Where do I begin on how good Behemoth is? Like its predecessor, Behemoth tells an amazing story that draws inspiration from WW 1. Lead characters, Alek and Deryn, with the supporting characters (some familiar, some brand new) keep the plot exciting and moving. No doubt, the art work is phenomenal, but if it was absent, the prose still does a good job of visualizing a war that is both familiar and bizarre. If real history books were written like and exciting as this, maybe I would have my BA in history. Oh well, I'm lookin' forward to Goliath.
This series keeps getting better and better. I waited to read this one until Goliath came out because I knew I'd want to head straight for it. The world that Westerfeld created within our own past is a piece of perfection. Characters, characters, characters. I feel right at home with these. It is like we all have went to school together since kindergarten and know each others' every move. The relationships take sweet little twists and turns this time around. Ins and outs are shown and we learn more about our little friends this time. Now, in fear of releasing to much, I will say that Goliath will definitely epic on this level... The storyline will keep you on the edge of your seat in this one. There's many plot lines going on at the same time, but they intertwine in some small and big ways. And, oh, the tangled web we weave as Alek and Deryn are both challenged to stand up into positions that are way beyond their years. Their shortcomings and successes make this a definite win for anyone!
A brilliant sequal to ann exstrordinary triolgy
It was one of the best books ever read! Keep up the good work!;)
Amazing book that keeps you hooked from start to finish.
wonderfull book i can't wait for the next one to come out.
Behemoth is a great follow-up to Leviathan! I really enjoyed Leviathan, and enjoyed Behemoth so much more. Scott Westerfeld really changed things up in this book! Deryn and Alek seem to be starting to unwind as this series is ending...I can't wait for Goliath to come out!
fantastic. is there a third one? if so, whats its name?
The secound one made the series even more addicting
i didnt thimk this series would be any good but its a great book if u like fiction. definitly an odd book though
i usually think that sequals cant beat the first but this story is definitly an exception!!!!!
This is a wonderful sequel to Leviathan, and just as gripping. These books would make an awesome CGI movie! It has many moments of suspense that leave you on your seat, and I for one cannot wait until Alek figures out what "Dylan's" Secret is! I can't wait for the next and final book in the Leviathan Trilogy!!!
I blog on The Worm's Apple, a book blog. I've been waiting for this book to come out, and I immediately went and bought it. If you haven't read leviathan, do so and then check back. If you have, I don't want to spoil the story, but I will give you more of a feel for it on my blog. However, I shall tell you who I recommend it to:Everyone. (; .It is a good book for readers who love fiction, sci-fi, action, anything and everything. Whatever you like, whatever you're nuts about, this series is for you. I love it, and if you like any thing exiting, or a story where you are thinking again and again, "when will they tell their secret(s)? this is driving me nuts!" you'll love this. find a book and read!check out my blog for more book ideas/recommendations