In this steaming, clanking sequel to Leviathan, Midshipman Dylan Sharp (aka Deryn, girl sailor in disguise) and secret Austrian prince Alek try to keep the world powers in balance as the Clankers and the Darwinists hover on the precipice of war. It is 1914, and the mighty British genetically designed airship Leviathan, carrying Deryn, Alek and the Darwinist creature fabricator Dr. Barlow is headed to Constaninople, capital of the Ottoman Empire. There, diplomatic Dr. Barlow hopes to smooth the Sultan’s ruffled feathers over the fact that the promised dreadnought & Kraken combo built for the Ottomans by the British won’t be delivered until the potential threat of war from the Germans has cleared. Alek and his Austrian entourage have plans to escape while Dr. Barlow is negotiating and disappear into the city’s cosmopolitan crowds, especially now that Britain has just declared war on Austria-Hungary. Deryn manages to look the other way, even though it’s mutiny to help Alek and her heart is breaking at the thought of being separated from him. Luckily, it’s not for long. Before they know it, they’ve fallen into each other’s company again, reunited after Alek stumbles upon a brewing plot to overthrow the Turkish monarchy and Deryn is abandoned when a top secret spy mission to disable an integral component of the Sultan’s security measures doesn’t go exactly as planned. Together, they will topple a tower, halt a speeding train and unleash a behemoth–all in the name of stopping World War I before it has a chance to start. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you better start here. For the rest of you steampunkers, prepare for a wild ride through the tangled streets and opulent palaces of Constantinople (which you should really call Istanbul). As lavishly demonstrated through Keith Thompson’s top notch illustrations, the action is epic, the machines are magnificent and the fabricated beasties (especially a certain perspicacious loris–where can I get one??) just can’t be beat.Â A spicy, rich, satisfying second helping of a book that will just leave you craving more delicious alternative history goodness. I seriously can’t wait until Book Three!