Aleksander Ferdinand is the son of the Arch-Duke of Austro-Hungary whose assassination was the spark that started the Great War (World War I). But, Alek's Great War is a battle between the Clankers, who build steam-driven war machines, and the Darwinists, who develop fighting and flying animals never seen before, by controlling their lifethreads. Alek must go into hiding in an abandoned castle so that the Germans will not find him and stop him from ending the war, as his pacifist father would have done. Soon after his arrival, he meets Deryn, an Irish commoner and a girl who is pretending to be a boy so that she can fly in the Leviathan. The Leviathan is a mix of the lifethreads of a whale and a hundred other species to produce the flying animal that inspired the Clankers to devise their zeppelins. These unlikely friends will combat the Clankers and their allies, in the hope of bringing a peaceful end to the war.
Similar books: Airman by Eoin Colfer
Awards nominated: Rebecca Caudill Award Nominee 2012
Date read: 5/19/2011