Goliath
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Narrator: Alan Cumming
Published 2011 by Simon & Schuster Audio
10.5 hours, Unabridged

The excellent adventure that began with Leviathan and continued through Behemoth carries on and indeed wraps up in Goliath, the third book in Scott Westerfeld’s mind-blowingly magnificent Leviathan trilogy.

As the story opens, the year is 1914 and the war between the Darwinist forces and the Clanker powers is ramping up. Meanwhile, orphaned and exiled Prince Alek of Austria-Hungary and commoner lass Deryn Sharpe (passing as a lad named Dylan Sharpe and serving as a midshipman in Britain’s Royal Navy) are still aboard the great airbeast Leviathan.

It’s only a few short weeks since Alek and Deryn concluded their exploits in Istanbul, chronicled in Behemoth, aiding in a revolution to topple the Clanker-allied Ottoman Empire. The Leviathan is headed for Tokyo when, somewhere over Siberia, a mysterious message arrives from the Czar of Russia via one of his two-headed imperial eagles. The next thing Deryn and Alek know, they are landing in the middle of the frozen nowhere to pick up a mad Clanker inventor named Nikola Tesla and some suspiciously heavy cargo with an equally weighty role to play in the future of the war and of our beloved protagonists.

And so a new adventure begins, leading the Leviathan across the Pacific to California, Mexico and New York. In addition to Tesla, other figures from our historical timeline who appear in this alternative history chronicle are William Randolph Hearst and Pancho Villa, as well as the lesser-known pioneering female reporter Adela Rogers.

Although the characters and the dialogue are just as engaging as in the previous two volumes, and Alan Cumming’s performance is just as delightful, the story feels just a little bit anticlimactic to this listener. Listeners who have been rooting for a romance between Deryn and Alek do get their happy ending, though, in a neat sequence of twists and turns that teeter on the very edge of despair and destruction on their way to the resolution. The door is not firmly closed, either; Westerfeld leaves many possibilities open for future visits to this world, its timeline and its characters. Here’s hoping for more Clankers and Darwinists, more boffins and beasties … and especially, more about those perspicacious loris!

Advertisements