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Behemoth
Cover of Behemoth
Behemoth
Leviathan Series, Book 2
The latest in the New York Times bestselling breakout steampunk series from Scott Westerfeld.

At the end of Leviathan, our heroes Alek and Deryn were aboard a mighty air ship heading toward Constantinople to deliver a secret package. But their secrets—Alek's family is responsible for starting World War I, and Deryn is a girl passing as a guy in the British Air Service—are in jeopardy when their mission goes awry. The only way to save themselves in a hostile, politically charged city is to offer up the thing that matters most—their air ship.
In this striking futuristic rendition of an alternate past where machines are pitted against genetically modified beasts in the first world war, lines between allies and enemies blur, and the consequences are Behemoth .
The latest in the New York Times bestselling breakout steampunk series from Scott Westerfeld.

At the end of Leviathan, our heroes Alek and Deryn were aboard a mighty air ship heading toward Constantinople to deliver a secret package. But their secrets—Alek's family is responsible for starting World War I, and Deryn is a girl passing as a guy in the British Air Service—are in jeopardy when their mission goes awry. The only way to save themselves in a hostile, politically charged city is to offer up the thing that matters most—their air ship.
In this striking futuristic rendition of an alternate past where machines are pitted against genetically modified beasts in the first world war, lines between allies and enemies blur, and the consequences are Behemoth .
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    ONE

    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...

About 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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 13, 2010
    The action is nonstop in Westerfeld's thrilling sequel to last year's Leviathan—fans of that book won't be disappointed. It's 1914 in the author's alternate world, the great powers are moving toward full-scale war, and Deryn, still posing as a boy, has found a place as a midshipman aboard the gigantic, living British airship Leviathan as it sails east on its secret mission to Istanbul. When Austria-Hungary enters the conflict, her friend Alek, the runaway heir to that empire, realizes that he must escape from the airship to avoid imprisonment, giving Deryn "a chance not just to help Alek but to change the course of the whole barking war." Battles abound between eccentric fighting machines and even stranger fabricated "beasties" as Deryn and Alek prove their courage and ingenuity while putting themselves in harm's way. 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. Ages 12–up.

  • AudioFile Magazine BEHEMOTH, which follows Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN, is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It's 1914 in this steampunk story, which includes events from WWI. Deryn poses as a boy named Dylan in order to be a midshipman for the English Darwinists. She meets and helps Alek, who's posing as a commoner because he's in danger as heir to the Hapsburg Empire. Narrator Alan Cumming skillfully keeps this complex and compelling story on track. The gorgeous descriptions, dramatic dialogue, and offbeat humor are enhanced by his nuanced performance. An afterword by Westerfeld helpfully explains what is true and what is not. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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Behemoth
Leviathan Series, Book 2
Scott Westerfeld
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