#BookReview THE LEVIATHAN by ROSIE ANDREWS

ABOUT THE BOOK

The most beguiling debut of 2022, perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock and The Binding.
She is awake…

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.

PUBLISHED BY RAVEN BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

Blackwell’s – signed edition

MY REVIEW

I found this to be an enthralling piece of historical fiction, with some brilliant supernatural/witchcraft elements that didn’t feel too out of place considering the time period that the story was set in. It centres around a family whose life is torn apart by some strange incidents, leaving the cynical brother Thomas to start his own investigations as to what may have took place in his home while he was away fighting in the English Civil War.

The timeline does jump around a bit which does take a bit of getting used to, but definitely adds to the twists and turns throughout the story and keeps you on your toes as a reader trying to work out where the story will take you to next. With witchcraft the hot topic of the time, the focus of the intrigue always leads you down that path, but Thomas isn’t one to look so kindly on hearsay and he wants to see for himself and isn’t easily swayed by local gossip.

It’s a turbulent time in the country, and that turbulence plays out in his own family with his sister calling him home after their father is felled by a stroke and Thomas needs to be there to take over the farm. His sister tells him of the ‘evil’ servant who she blames for this and says her father was bewitched. There’s an awful lot of dead animals around too at the farm and the weirdness just overwhelms them.

There’s also a later timeline to follow when Thomas is married to Mary and he has a different kind of life now, but the past never seems to be so far away and I loved that different viewpoint and stage in his life. The intrigue throughout was really well pitched and you could sense the fear of the locals of the unknown.

I loved this story from start to finish – the darkness, the gasps it made me emit throughout and it really does a great job of keeping that historical feel, alongside the myths and faith that were at the fore of society. A stunning debut!!

★★★★★

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