Behemoth (novel)

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Behemoth
Behemoth Westerfeld Cover.jpg
Author Scott Westerfeld
Illustrator Keith Thompson
Country United States
Language English
Series Leviathan Trilogy
Genre Steampunk, alternate history
Publisher Simon Pulse
Publication date
October 5, 2010
Media type Print (hardback)
Pages 496
ISBN 978-1-4169-7175-7
Preceded by Leviathan
Followed by Goliath

Behemoth is a novel written by Scott Westerfeld. The book is the second installment in the Leviathan series. It picks up where Leviathan ends. It was published on October 5, 2010.[1]

As with Leviathan, the audiobook is read by Alan Cumming.

The sequel, Goliath, was released on September 20, 2011.[2]

Summary[edit]

Behemoth continues an alternate history story begun in Leviathan. It is 1914, and the Darwinist countries of the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Serbia are on the brink of a world war with the Clanker countries of Germany and Austria-Hungary. War has been declared, although the Ottoman Empire has not yet entered. The Darwinists use technology based on genetically manipulated animals, while the Clankers use machinery.

Plot[edit]

The story starts when the crew of the Leviathan sights two German ironclads and decides to attack them, thinking that the sea ships are defenseless. Klopp and Alek are controlling the engines, with Mr. Hirst, the Leviathan's chief engineer, observing. However, they discover that one of the ships, the Goeben, is preparing a threatening Tesla cannon, a lightning generator. Klopp immediately puts the engines on full retreat without permission. Mr. Hirst, seeing this as an act of mutiny, attempts to interfere and tries to shoot Klopp with a compressed air pistol. However, Alek leaps at Mr. Hirst and ends up getting shot in the ribs, though not fatally. The lightning still hits and Newkirk, who was flying in a now-burning Huxley above the Leviathan, is almost killed, but is saved by Deryn. After the escape, Deryn and Dr. Barlow visit Alek, and he explains what happened on the ship. Later, as Deryn delivers a message to Count Volger, who learns that Alek had told her of his identity as a prince.

After landing in Istanbul, Aleksandar plots an escape from the Leviathan. The night of the escape, Alek is taking watch over Dr. Barlow's eggs when one egg hatches revealing a "perspicacious" loris, as identified later by Dr. Barlow, that seems to understand and repeat various sounds and words in seemingly useful ways. The creature then latches onto Alek and flees with him. In their escape Volger and Hoffman remain behind in order to allow Alek and the others to flee. The group manages to head into the city of Istanbul, where they try to remain hidden among the commoners. Alek and Corporal Bauer leave the hotel after laying low for a while with Klopp, one of the masters of mechaniks. Alek discovers a very nosy American reporter by the name of Eddie Malone, in which he discovers some information about the Leviathan that he finds interesting. At that point, a few German soldiers walk in, searching for Bauer. They make a hasty escape only to be caught by Zaven, a leader of one of many resistance groups against the sultan's rule collective known as the Committee of Union and Progress.

Back on the Leviathan, Deryn finds Eddie Malone who is aboard the ship to relay Alex's message to a now-captured Volger. Deryn reluctantly brings him to the count's room. The count this time proposes that Deryn help him escape the ship. Deryn refuses initially, until Volger threatens to divulge her masquerade -that he had figured out all by himself- to Malone, to which she agrees with a heavy heart. Hours later, Deryn is assigned a secret mission in the Gallipoli peninsula to plant a fabricated barnacle that destroys metal into the Ottoman Empire's kraken net in order for Britain to attack once the Ottoman Empire joins sides with Germany. The mission is successful, but the others in her four-member team are captured or killed. Deryn manages to evade capture and enters Ottoman territory, deciding to find Alek.

Meanwhile, Alek hides from the public view, he ends up scuffling with a girl who turns out to be Zaven's daughter, Lilit. Zaven formally introduces the young lady and his mechanical bed-ridden mother Nene, who both are also taking part in a revolution prepared by the Committee. Alek then agrees to join the Committee as an ally, wishing to strike a blow at the Germans. They then stage a revolt, using a gold bar Alek has saved for funding. They buy up parts and lots of spice at the advice of Deryn, who used it as a weapon against a German agent trying to hijack the British embassy's walker. They prepare the Committee's walkers for throwing spice bombs. Because Deryn reveals that the Behemoth, a massive fabricated sea creature of Britain, will eliminate the ironclads with the guidance of the Leviathan, the Committee executes a mission unknown to much of the group to destroy a massive Tesla cannon in Istanbul. While the revolt is successful, Zaven is killed destroying the Tesla cannon. Deryn, Alek and Lilit meet up again with the former two giving the tragic news to Lilit. As planned, the British invade and use the Behemoth to obliterate the ironclads Goebon and Breslau. Before leaving the cliffs for the now chaotic Istanbul by body kite to continue fighting in the revolution, Lilit bids "Dylan" and Alek goodbye; while mentioning to the former that she also knows of "his" secret. The others all escape aboard the Leviathan. When all of the people on the ship discover that Alek is a prince from Eddie Malone's newspaper, they treat him with great respect. The third novel, Goliath, is set in motion when they find out they are going to the Far East.

Historical inspiration[edit]

  • The Sultan Osman I was a real warship. So were the German warships SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau, which were hunted by Allied ships across the Mediterranean in the opening days of World War I and ended up in the Ottoman Empire, playing a critical role in the Ottoman entry into the war.
  • The revolution by the Committee of Union and Progress, the so-called "Young Turk Revolution", was successful in 1908 and the sultan was overthrown. However, in the novel Westerfeld made the 1908 revolution unsuccessful and created a second revolution in 1914 because, as according to him, "I wanted my characters to be involved in a successful revolution, one that would perhaps nudge history toward a more positive outcome."
  • The Orient Express was real and ran its last course on December 14, 2009, a few weeks after Westerfeld's book was published.

Reception[edit]

Publishers Weekly wrote "This exciting and inventive tale of military conflict and wildly reimagined history should captivate a wide range of readers. Thompson's evocative and detailed spot art (as well as the luridly gorgeous endpapers) only sweetens the deal."[3] while Common Sense Media called it a "Sci-fi stand-out with high adventure, great characters."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amazon.com: Behemoth". Archived from the original on 30 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  2. ^ "Leviathan Series". Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  3. ^ "Behemoth". www.publishersweekly.com. PWxyz LLC. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Behemoth: Leviathan Trilogy, Book 2". www.commonsensemedia.org. Common Sense Media Inc. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 

External links[edit]