By Scott Westerfeld [LibraryThing]
It’s 1914, and the world powers are on the brink of war: the German and Austria-Hungarian powers (Clankers) with their enormous machines, and the British, French, and Russian (Darwinist) powers with their engineered beasts. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is the spark needed to light the powder keg, and war spreads quickly, throwing millions of lives into turmoil.
In Serbia, Alek Ferdinand, son of the assassinated archduke, must go into hiding when he learns that his allies were behind his parents’ murders, and his own people might be even more dangerous to him than the enemy. Meanwhile, in England, commoner Deryn Sharp has disguised herself as a boy and joined the British Air Services, where she serves aboard the whale airship Leviathan. But when the Leviathan is called on for a strange mission, things go badly very quickly, and not even neutral territory can protect Alek and Deryn when they meet…