Goliath (Westerfeld novel)

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Author Scott Westerfeld
Illustrator Keith Thompson
Country US
Language English
Series Leviathan Trilogy
Subject alternate history, U.S, enters World War I
Genre Steampunk
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
US September 20, 2011 AUS October 3, 2011
Published in English
Media type print (Hardback)
Pages 545
ISBN 9781416971771
Preceded by Behemoth

Goliath (2011) Steampunk novel by Scott Westerfeld, most of 55 chapters with (full-page) grey-shaded sketches by Keith Thompson, concludes Leviathan series after Behemoth. Prince Aleksander, secret heir to Austro-Hungarian throne, sees through the male disguise of Dylan of Scottish midshipman Deryn Sharp on the organic airship Leviathan. They rescue Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla from the site of a 1908 Siberian Tunguska event meteorite blast, but Alek destroys the inventor and his Goliath weapon under German attack in New York, triggering the entry of U.S. into 1914 World War I.[1]


As the airship Leviathan travels over Russia, Aleksandar, Deryn, and Newkirk are in the middy's mess with the perspicacious loris Bovril, talking about great circle routes. Alek mentions Deryn's father was an airman, but Newkirk says that the airman was Deryn's uncle. A two-headed messenger eagle from the czar heads towards the bridge, interrupting their discussion. A message lizard sends Deryn to the bridge and Newkirk to the cargo deck. Alek goes with Deryn, and there Dr Barlow tells them to take the bird to the rookery and feed it. Deryn nearly confesses her secret to Alek, but then says she cannot, and claims a fencing lesson. Count Volger tries to expose her gender unless she discloses the imperial message. Deryn convinces Volger to desist, so as not to shake the confidence of Alek, who admires her as a boy.

The imperial message is to pick up cargo from a fighting bear, but it is much heavier than expected, overloaded by metal parts and tools, and drags Deryn and Newkirk down into the trees until the crew manages to compensate by dumping clart (waste water) and other supplies. Dr Barlow orders Alek, with Klopp, Hoffman, and Bauer, to assemble the metal contraption and keep it secret. The loris shows them how it detects metal with Barlow's necklace.

Flying over Tunguska, Siberia, they notice the area has been destroyed, trees have been flattened and point in one direction, and many stripped corpses are present, including that of another organic airship. By dropping dried beef at a distance to distract giant starving bears, they rescue Nikola Tesla, his Russian soldiers and airship crew, who are holed up near the center of the destruction. Tesla's electrified fence, which had kept the bears away, is deactivated to allow the Leviathan to land, so he scares rogue bears with his electrified walking stick.

Later at night, as Alek is unable to fall asleep, he reads a newspaper article about "Dylan" and the Dauntless by Eddie Malone, and realizes something is off about the story Deryn has told him about her family and past. Artemis Sharp had a surviving daughter named Deryn, and Bovril whispers "Mr. Deryn Sharp" into Alek's ear.

At Dr. Barlow's request, Alek and Deryn use Tesla's device to pinpoint the inventor's bedroom. Deryn then sneaks in and discovers a metal lump hidden under Tesla's bed, and scrapes off a sample. Alek asks her, "Can I trust you, Deryn?" and Deryn realizes that Alek knows her true identity after she responds to her real name. After she argues with him and leaves, Alek realizes that Deryn didn't tell him because she is in love with him.

For a few days, Alek and Deryn are not on speaking terms. Alek decides to support Tesla in his mission to end the war with his magnetic beam, the Goliath, but sadly misses Deryn; she is angry he dropped her just because she is a girl. Sent to Tokyo just to brandish the British flag, the Leviathan battles an Austrian ship and two German zeppelins in support of the Japanese. When one of the engines is shot, both Deryn and Alek arrive to help, and Alek admits he wants Deryn back as his friend. When Dr Barlow wants Deryn to get new clothes, Alek saves her from discovery being measured by offering himself to the tailor's hands.

In Tokyo, Tesla demonstrates the Goliath publicly at a conference in the Imperial Hotel, claiming the sky color will change in London. The Royalty confirms the visible colors and orders the ship to New York for Tesla. While crossing the Pacific Ocean in a storm, Alek hits his head protecting Deryn. To keep him awake after a concussion, Deryn kisses him. They promise not to keep secrets from each other, and for Alek to lie protecting her secret.

Arriving at William Randolph Hearst's estate in California, Philip Francis films them. Reporter Eddie Malone is fleeing from Hearst's men, so Deryn helps him escape on board. He suggests Francis may be a German spy because he changed his last name from German. They use Tesla's detector to find arms and film hidden in kitten barrels after dinner and a cliff-hanger episode of the film Perils of Pauline, the adventuresome American female lead of which impresses Alek mightily.

Crossing Mexico, one engine stops suddenly. Pancho Villa's men offer to help them in exchange for the sugar. Deryn sends one message about suspicious walkers, then dons gliding wings to investigate. She semaphores C-A-M-E-R-A in time, but injures her knee on landing. Alek gets Pancho Villa's physician, Dr. Azuela, to treat Deryn instead of ship's Dr. Busk, but Eddie Malone overhears Deryn's secret when Azuela tells Pancho Villa. Pancho Villa and Mr. Francis film the Leviathan as part of Hearst's movie deal with Pancho.

Alek takes meals and helps Deryn keep her secret from the crew, but Deryn fears punishment in New York when Eddie Malone publishes his article. Alek is planning to stay in New York and help Tesla promote Goliath, and he ask Deryn to stay in New York with him to help Tesla. Dr Barlow offers Deryn a job with the Zoological Society of London, but retracts her offer fearing scandal from deceived British government and Air Service after learning Deryn's secret.

Alek saves Eddie Malone from falling off when a rocket hits the jitney that they are leaving on. Deryn, watching from the bridge, gets them to douse flames with waste clart water. Alek show Malone the Pope's letter to his claim to throne as emperor so the reporter will keep Deryn's secret.

Dr Barlow shows Deryn the article with Alek's story, not her secret, and offers Deryn the job again. At the Serbian consulate, Lilit tells Deryn about a German water-walker coming to attack Goliath, so Dr Barlow convinces Captain Hobbes to keep watch. When Leviathan sees approaching bubbles underwater, they bomb the escorts, but must leave the largest to land to prove the attack and encourage the Americans to join the war, so she sends a warning by eagle to Alek.

At his Tower, Tesla hosts a dinner before a demonstration that Goliath can change the color of the sky in Berlin, but under attack decides to fire for real, despite danger to Leviathan. Volger uses a smoke bomb for surprise, and Alek has to use the electrified cane of Tesla to kill the owner. The suppressed energy destroys the water-walker, so the U.S. enters the war on the Darwinist side when they see the wreckage. Dr Barlow receives a message that tells her that the sample Deryn stole from under Tesla's bed was from a meteorite, proving Goliath did not cause the Tunguska event.

Alek receives a medal for going with Deryn to fix Tesla's wire on the spine. After the ceremony, Alek and the barely healed Deryn again climb the spine together. Alek tells her the truth about Tesla's death, declares his love by kissing her, and throws the Pope's scroll overboard. He rejects his past which he has already lost. When he admits to needing a job next, Deryn suggests joining her and Dr Barlow at the London Zoological Society.

The last chapter is a newspaper article by Eddie Malone. Alek has accepted a position with the Zoological Society. Alek's only comment is the Habsburg motto "Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria, nube" or "Let others wage war. You, lucky Austria, shall marry."[2]

Bonus chapter[edit]

On December 16, 2011 Westerfeld published a bonus chapter to the novel on his site.[3]


  1. ^ 9781416971771 "Goliath" by Scott Westerfeld
  2. ^ ISBN 9781416971771 "Goliath" by Scott Westerfeld
  3. ^ http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/2011/12/bonus-goliath-chapter-and-art/