Norfolk, 1643. With civil war tearing England apart, reluctant soldier Thomas Treadwater is summoned home by his sister, who accuses a new servant of improper conduct with their widowed father. By the time Thomas returns home, his father is insensible, felled by a stroke, and their new servant is in prison, facing charges of witchcraft.
Thomas prides himself on being a rational, modern man, but as he unravels the mystery of what has happened, he uncovers not a tale of superstition but something dark and ancient, linked to a shipwreck years before.
Something has awoken, and now it will not rest.
Richly researched, incredibly atmospheric, and deliciously unsettling, The Leviathan is set in England during a time of political turbulence and religious zealotry. It is a tale of family and loyalty, superstition and sacrifice, but most of all it is a spellbinding story of impossible things.
She is awake.
And I must remind myself of how it began.
I don’t know why I feel so invested in convincing myself I enjoyed The Leviathan more than I did. I may be judging a book by its cover and trying to make the contents match.
Now, less than a hundred years after men and magic began to drift apart, we walk a new earth. We have become reasonable, and cleave to our certainties as once we cleaved to our king. Now, the buried stories are dismissed as old wives' tales, exaggerations, falsehoods. But still they bubble through the cracks, clinging on, refusing to go down into the dark.
There is a deeply terrifying nugget at the heart of The Leviathan, but it’s muddled and difficult to find. I don’t know if it’s the writing style or the narrator, but it almost felt like someone at a party telling a story poorly. I wanted to shake him and tell him to ‘get to the point already’. But, alas, all I could do was keep reading and hope he would get there eventually. Maybe it’s that the core of this story is too simple, and Andrews felt the need to try to overcomplicate matters, but all of the bluster and extra information took the edge off of what should have been much more frightening.
Missing the suspense and mystery that I think Andrews was aiming for, I was sadly left more confused and even uninterested at times. A truly gorgeous cover may have me wishing I enjoyed The Leviathan more than I did, but you can only hide from the truth for so long.