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by Scott Westerfeld
Illustrated by Keith Thompson

Published by Simon Pulse, 2009
440 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7173-3

Ages 10 - 14

The genesis of World War I is given a creative twist in this alternative history that pits the Germans and the Austro-Hungarians with their iron war machines, or Clankers, against Britain’s Darwinists and their fabricated animal weapons. Aleksander Ferdinand is the lone surviving member of the Austro-Hungarian royal family following his parents’ assassination, and with a few loyal supporters he’s on the run from his German-influenced countrymen who would like to remove him from the ruling picture. At the same time, Deryn Sharp is masquerading as a boy so she can achieve her dream of working in the British Air Service. She’s serving aboard the massive airbeast Leviathan, a hydrogen-breathing whale merged with “a hundred other species…tangled into its design, countless creatures fitting together like the gears of a stopwatch.” When the Leviathan crash-lands near Aleksander’s hideout, the two groups of political enemies become allies to mount an escape from the German forces. Aleksander and Deryn’s tale ends on a high note, but there are still secrets to be revealed and battles to be fought in a forthcoming volume. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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