The most beguiling and gripping debut novel of 2022
by Rosie Andrews
Pub Date 17 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 17 Feb 2022
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ), Raven Books
A beguiling tale of superstition, myth and murder, perfect for fans of The Binding, The Essex Serpent and Once Upon a River.
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 mystery and a story of impossible things.
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‘Darkly compelling and dripping with atmosphere, The Leviathan is a bewitching tale of good, evil and all the shades in-between’ Stacey Halls, Sunday Times bestselling author of THE FAMILIARS
'A sinister, twisting tale, thoroughly gripping and utterly absorbing' Jennifer Saint, author of ARIADNE
'It’s hard to believe that such an accomplished novel could be a debut - The Leviathan is a gloriously dark story that sweeps you along to its harrowing yet satisfying conclusion. Superb' Susan Stokes-Chapman, author of PANDORA
'Infused with creepy gothic dread and gorgeously written. Fantastic' Amy McCulloch, author of BREATHLESS
‘This debut oozes quality ... The Leviathan is a sumptuous treat that positively thrums with tension ... I absolutely loved it and I am excited to see what Rosie Andrews does next’ Lianne Dillsworth, author of THEATRE OF MARVELS
‘An original and compelling page-turner, beautifully told’ Annie Kirby, author of THE HOLLOW SEA
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 38 members
It is 1703, and she is awake. An ageing man recounts the story of how it all began, while a storm rages outside. It is 1643. England is in a state of civil war, and a young Thomas Treadwater, receives a distressing letter from his sister, Esther. Thomas, injured in battle, returns to Norfolk to find his home in disarray. Their cattle dead, Esther ailing, and their widowed father beguiled by a bewitching beauty. As Esther’s conditions worsens and their father is suddenly taken by a stroke, something more sinister begins to surface; crashing down around Thomas’ life and drowning those in its wake. Thomas must uncover the mystery of the horrors that unfurl before him, and live with the consequence of his actions. Rosie Andrew’s haunting historical gothic debut is gripping, in every meaning of the word. The story coiled itself around me and refused to let go. Andrews uses meticulously researched detail, along with appropriately antiquated language and syntax, to absorb you into the narrative, and setting, of a troubled bygone England. The use of a split timelines plot structure is implored skilfully, switching back and forth, between 1703 and 1643, at just the right moments to the betterment of the wider narrative, layering the tale and facilitating gradual revelations while leaving just enough keep you to enrapt in the mystery. I was sceptical near the beginning of the novel, of a few choices made regarding characters, and yet, by the mid-to-end point of the novel, not only were each of these choices justified in a meaningful way, but I felt not a single aspect or minor detail was missed as narrative timelines rejoined. The payoff for which is one of the most satisfying conclusions to a novel I have read this year. Not in a long time have I had such a visceral reaction to a story. Andrews manages to craft a tale that had my heart racing and reading into the dead of night; a fitting ambience for the compellingly dark tones of the novel which Andrews expertly delivers. I highly recommend reading The Leviathan. If this is a debut, I eagerly await what comes next from Rosie Andrews. I am certain this story will remain in my mind, lurking beneath the surface, for a long time.
A book that splits timelines can often be challenging to engage with even in such a book as this where the split is relatively short, thankfully the author has mastered the her craft well and this tale slows seamlessly with no need to reread parts to refresh one’s memory, a dark tale that thrills and enthralls, I will certainly be buying this when it goes to audible as well
A novel set in Norfolk, 1643. Soldier, Thomas Treadwater, arrives home, drawn back by a worrying letter sent by his sister, accusing the new servant of immoral and improper conduct. When he arrives he finds his father on death's door, and the local witch hunter has put the new servant in prison, along with their long term loyal servant and her mother. Thomas is a rational man, who prides himself on not believing in witchcraft, and superstition. Determined to save their loyal servant, and restore his family's honour, he starts to investigate what has been happening while he has been at war. But what he uncovers shakes him to his very core. This novel is set in a time of war, political tension, and religious upheaval, where the church still cried witches when the unknown (or unwanted) was happening. The story was a fantastic read, well written, with the story weaving in and out of a series of ever unfurling horrors, that Thomas must try to get to the bottom of, and live with the consequence of the actions he takes. It was an intense story, with fantastic use of timeline switching to keep you really on your toes, and character development taking you by surprise at times. When I finished this book, my mind kept coming back to the story, and thinking about the ending, thinking about the suffering endured - the story really stuck in my head. I can highly recommend this as a read. Even if you think you don’t read historical era fiction, trust me, this one you do! *I received this book from NetGalley for review but all opinions are my own.
The novel's first-person narrator is Thomas Treadwater. Summoned home from the civil war by his sister, he is carrying a particularly nasty wound that requires a period of rest and relaxation. But as he returns home, he finds things are far from well. And so begins a traumatic tale of civil and political turmoil, religious zealotry, witchcraft and supernatural elements. The Leviathan starts rather slowly as we get to know Thomas and his background history. This includes his wartime exploits, which means how he picked up his wound. It is all fascinating stuff and relevant to the story. What has occurred at home whilst Thomas has been absent, came to be a matter of life and death and the cause of what followed in the narrative. I always find anything with Witch trials at its core a pleasure to read. The situation involving Chrissa Moore, the accused servant, was captivating beyond belief. Her persecutors Manyon, Rutherford and Huxley were all particularly annoying individuals for varying reasons. That is one of the reasons the book was such a joy to read. The author has got the characters spot on. Thomas, being the unbelieving sceptic who would risk everything to his sister Ester, right down to young Henry, the author had them nailed to a tee. The author uses appropriately antiquated conversation, which gives the narrative authentic historical backing and realism. It made me wonder what sort of language Thomas would have learned on the battlefields and how well he did in restraining himself from using it. The suspense and drama escalate as the book veers into the supernatural. It takes on a gothic and unreal feel to the narrative. The book has great pace and depth with an atmospheric, almost eerie overtone to the proceedings. It makes for a harrowing story but a thoroughly mesmerising and compelling one. The Leviathan is a superb historical work of fiction. The author has created an imaginative intelligent, well-crafted story. The Leviathan is an excellent read, and I recommend this book highly.
Set in the mid 1600s to the early 1700s, 'The Leviathan' follows returning Norfolk soldier, Thomas Treadwater, on his tumultuous journey embroiled in witchcraft and biblical lore as he fights to save the family he loves. This powerful debut novel by Rosie Andrews is compelling as it is unique; set apart from other recent explorations witchcraft in the current literary trend, the twists and turns in the plot keep you on your toes throughout. There is a richness of language and description within this novel which retains its natural conversation throughout, completely hooking you into Thomas' narrative. Whilst the biblical and uncanny elements of the novel may not suit every reader, particularly the embodiment of the Leviathan, I immensely enjoyed this novel and all the undulating chaos it depicted. I found it an excellent debut novel and I will be looking forward in anticipation to Rosie Andrew's future writing.
I loved this creepy, gripping historical tale. Rosie Andrews' writing is breathtakingly beautiful and I was completely engrossed in The Leviathan. I look forward to reading more from this talented author. Five stars from me.
The Leviathan is a brilliantly atmospheric tale of mystery that speaks of myths and monsters, set against the backdrop of the 17th century’s obsession with witchcraft and superstition. With a small cast of complex and intricately drawn characters, Rosie Andrews expertly drew me into their compelling story and made me desperate to keep reading as the novel grew increasingly pacey. As well as being a thrilling tale, The Leviathan is everything great historical fiction should be; beautifully written in prose that is apply reminiscent of the period and full of wonderfully observed details which point to meticulous research. An absolute triumph and one that I feel will become a true modern classic. I’d highly recommend this to anyone!
A welcome addition to the historical fiction genre. This debut novel from Rosie Andrews will sit nicely alongside Sarah Perry, Diane Setterfield and Anna Mazolla. It takes place, mainly, in Norfolk, in 1643, in a time when witch-hunts and religious fervour was at its height. The Witchfinder General was roaming far and wide to try and condemn so-called witches. Thomas Treadwater, fresh from the civil war, is called home by a letter from his sister, accusing a servant of bewitching their father. Upon arrival he finds his father dying, having suffered (we assume) a stroke and the "witch" in prison. What follows is a fine tale of betrayal, consequences, family, and a quest to restore family honour. The story is interwoven with the usual backstory, from many years prior, and as the events of that time are revealed, we learn the true horrors that led to today. We have all the necessary characters - wronged woman, driven hero, maniacal puritan, and misguided girl. All nicely drawn and easy to love or hate as required. I did actually feel for them all. One element of the book which appeals to me (and which may put others off) is the close attention to the language of the time. It's spot on for 17th century and really does add to the atmosphere. The prose is likewise flowing and gripping. The sights, sounds, and smells of the day are nicely represented. I was lucky to score a NetGalley ARC, but I'll definitely be ordering a physical copy upon its release - it looks like a gorgeous cover. Highly recommended.
This is a truly gripping book, full of mystery, suspense and a thrilling climax. Thomas is a very sympathetic narrator and I found myself rooting for him from the start, and the horror of the devastation the Leviathan causes throughout the novel is chilling and propulsive. There are many surprises and revelations which keep the plot tight and focused, and I’ll certainly be recommending this book to friends and family!
If this book doesn’t get a spot in your top 10 books of 2022 then I don’t know what will, it’s hard to believe that this is the debut novel from Rosie Andrews… anyways… I’m not going to lie to you all, I only picked this book up because of it’s gorgeous cover and the fact that it had leviathan in the title… that’s all it takes for me to feel like I need to read this book right here and right now. Okay, I know you’re only here for the actual review and not my ramblings… This book is set in the lovely county of Norfolk and is set in two time periods, 1643 (the past where most of this book is set) and 1703 (the present day for this book) and the heroic Thomas Treadwater returns home from war at the request of his sister and finds their father catatonic in bed, unable to communicate and completely paralysed. His sister, Esther, accuses the family’s servant Carissa of having a hand in the mysterious goings on around the family farm and the local witch hunter puts her in prison, but not only the new servant, he also sends the family’s loyal servant and Thomas and Esther’s mother to prison as well. Thomas does not believe in witchcraft and he sets out to restore honour to his family and clear the good name of the family’s loyal servant. From there on in sh*t gets real, excuse my French, because what Thomas uncovers might actually break him, and at the very least, it disturbs him in such a profound way I don’t see him recovering from these events any time soon. I won’t go into too many details because no one likes spoilers, but this book is absolutely fantastic. I can’t get this book, or the story, out of my head. It’s pacing was perfect, the switching of the timelines was clear and concise (sometimes timeline switching can be confusing if it’s not executed properly), and more importantly the story keeps your hooked from the very first page. Rosie’s world building is spectacular and I loved the absolute chaos that unfolded in the pages of this well crafted book. I can’t wait to see what Rosie gives us next, she is now an auto-buy author for me, and it takes a lot to get that status from me, I’m very particular. Thank you so much to Net Galley for providing me with an arc of this masterpiece. She is Awake. Coming February 2022.
The Leviathan, the debut novel by Rosie Andrews, follow Thomas Treadwater as he returns from fighting in the English Civil War and discovers that things at home are fraught with danger. With his father suffering from an unknown illness, the household staff accused of witchcraft and his sister terrified, Thomas must unravel these mysteries to discover what has really been happening in his absence and, in the process, his lack of belief in the supernatural is seriously tested. Set across two timelines, the 1643 troubles Thomas faces and a flash-forward to his later life in 1703, the author builds an unnerving and suspenseful historical mystery. This story is beautifully written and the world Rose Andrews creates pulls you in, making The Leviathan a real page-turner. I can see this being a best-seller in 2022 and can’t wait to see what the author produces next! A must read!
I loved this! Set in 1643 Thomas Treadwater returns home from the war to find mystery and chaos in the home he shares with his sister and father.Suspicions of witchcraft,and a beguiling serving girl all serve to confuse Thomas who considers himself a modern rational man.As he begins to delve into resolving the ensuing madness there emerges an even darker side to the tale with the shadow of a hidden sea creature affecting them all. This has many layers and you feel yourself being dragged downwards into the mire that surrounds Thomas and his family.It’s a perfect winter read
I am so thankful that I had the chance to read an advance copy of this beautifully written book. The story is set in 1643, the story has many layers surrounding the story of Thomas Treadwater who is a veteran returned to war to suspicions of witchcraft all culminating in a darker tale of a hidden sea creature. I would recommend this book and can almost guarantee that it will be a huge hit once it is released. The writing style is wonderful and hard to believe this is a debut novel. I look forward to reading further stories by this author.
A wonderful gothic novel set in the 17th century what is not to love! This from the perspective of an elderly Thomas Threadwater as he recalls the fallout of his return from fighting in the Civil War and finding his family and estate in utter disorder. Accusations are made and Witch hunter enters the fray. As the he slowly unravels the truth, many horrors surface and seem impossible to face. The Leviathan is a wonderful novel, and Rosie Andrews has created a fascinating mixture of historicial and gothic fiction. The split timeline is executed perfectly and the chapters from the older Thomas are particularly are often heartbreaking. I absolutely would recommend this to anyone
Witchcrafty shenanigans Religious intolerance Religious bigotry Love, hate, madness, Political mayhem. Violence and death... Above are some of the important ingredients the lucky reader will stumble upon in this captivating and compelling novel set in England during the bloody Civil War that shattered its peace and wrecked its soul from 1642 to 1651. The Leviathan takes place at the beginning of the eventful national mayhem and is a sweeping tale that encompasses all that went wrong & was wrong within English society at the time. Brilliantly plotted and blessed with a colorful and unforgettable cast of characters, this marvellous fictional tapestry will grab you from its first chapter and take you on a terrific journey through the very tumultuous waters of mid 17th English chaos. Historical fiction at its best and a literary feat that deserves to be enjoyed without any moderation whatsoever👍 Many thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for this terrific ARC
Set in the mid-1600s, this starts out as a story about witchcraft and the after-effects of the English Civil War but soon developers into an atmospheric, gothic thriller. Read it right to the end - and then turn back to the beginning and reading it again with a fresh perspective. Well-written, creepy and enthralling. Five stars from me!
A true gothic offering! It’s just after Christmas in 1643 and Thomas Treadwater is making his way home. He is injured from battle, the weather, is bitterly cold, and his horse is lame. He worries about home as his sister Esther has written, with concerns about their father’s conduct with a new maid. Unable to go further, Thomas rests for the night, an action he comes to regret. Next day Thomas continues on his way. On the approach to his home he finds all the sheep in the fields around the house are dead. On reaching home he finds his sister upset as their father has suffered a seizure and is unable to communicate. Help has been sent for, but is it too late? This book starts off with witchcraft and quickly develops into a much bigger story, with deception, poverty, love, hate and bigotry all being woven in. The love of a brother for his sister shines through, though not without its consequences. Written across a split timeline, the story follows the actions and decisions of Thomas to protect his family. This is a debut book and I really enjoyed it. Within a few pages the story gets going and keeps up the pace. Thank you NetGalley.