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.
Thomas arrives home from service in the war to an ailing father and a distressed sister claiming a maid has brought witchcraft into their home; killing livestock and diminishing the patriarch’s health.
As the investigation into alleged witchcraft unfolds, Thomas fields an investigation of his own as to who is the maid is. She’s undoubtedly a beguiling woman. He questions whether his war wearied self can reconnect with his kinsfolk after his years away, and ultimately, he begins to question just how much witchcraft, and evil, exists.
I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book. Unfortunately I found the tail end of the novel a little lacklustre (the sea serpent felt very out of place) and it felt very long drawn to get to the climax. Nevertheless, it definitely sticks in my mind and on the whole enjoyed the book.
The time period was illustrated flawlessly. Moreover, the characters were likeable and throughly fleshed out. The dialogue between the characters, the structures of the homes and towns and the religious influence and fear of witchcraft, altogether created a gripping page-turner, enriched further by the mystique and richness of Andrews prose.
The quality of Andrews writing is stunning for a debut, and I will be keeping an eye out for any future novels on the horizon, as I truly believe Andrews has the potential to own the gothic historical fiction genre.
The Leviathan was a very atmospherical and suspenseful story. Rosie Andrews has written a gem of historical fiction that will delight lovers of Stacey Halls, Laura Purcell and many other gothic lover aficionados.
Thank you kindly to Bloomsbury Raven Books for an e-ARC of this in exchange for an honest review.