Author : Rosie Andrews
Title : The Leviathan
Pages : 350
Publisher : Raven Books
Publication date : February 3, 2022
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
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.
| MY THOUGHTS |
To be honest, I’ve been staring at a blank screen for a good hour now and I still don’t really know what to say about ‘The Leviathan‘. This is why we need half star ratings!
Thomas Treadwater is summoned home by his sister, who claims a servant has been engaging in improper conduct with their widowed father. By the time Thomas arrives home, the servant is in jail, his father is confined to bed due to a stroke and all the sheep are dead. Superstition hangs in the air like a dark cloud but Thomas is a rational man and doesn’t believe in witchcraft. However, while he tries to get to the bottom of things, his sister begins to act rather strangely. If not witchcraft, then what exactly is going on?
This story is told in three parts. Part one was quite the slow-burner with a focus on a witch-hunt, part two took somewhat of a different turn as the story veered a lot more into myth territory and by part three I felt like I was reading a completely different book than the one I started.
I’m by no means saying none of it was enjoyable because it was. I haven’t exactly been on a role with historical fiction (although I suppose this one comes with a supernatural twist) lately so this was definitely a pleasant surprise but, I’m sorry to say, I often found myself pretty confused. While the writing is truly beautiful, I also felt it was maybe a tad too convoluted at times and I didn’t always get what was going on.
On the other hand, these characters are brilliantly crafted with a delightful contradiction between Thomas and his incredibly pious sister, but also with rather “streetwise” Mary. The struggle is real for Thomas, and the year 1643 will change his life forever when all his dreams and hopes are dashed. This is something you get an extremely good feel for since we get to know Thomas as a young man and as an old one. On top of that, ‘The Leviathan‘ is immensely atmospheric which is always something I particularly adore. And, definitely at the later stages, the story is pretty creepy and tense. But that’s also where it lost me.
And all of that combined is why writing this review is giving me such a headache. It is indeed spellbinding and I often found myself utterly enthralled but not throughout the entire story. I liked it, but didn’t love it. I enjoyed most of it, but not all of it. I’ve no idea what else I can say. Except, all in all it is a remarkable debut by Rosie Andrews and in a round-about sort of way I do recommend you pick it up.
Apologies if your head is aching too now. 😳
With thank to the publisher for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.