Saturday, June 16, 2018

Leviathan by L.S. Johnson

Release date: June 15, 2018
Subgenre: Historical fantasy, Gothic

About Leviathan:

 

 We will survive this, Caroline.

It has been several months since Harkworth Hall burned, and mere weeks since Joanna Chase came back into Caroline Daniels’ life. But when a stranger arrives in their village and asks to see the damaged bay, they know that word of the creature has spread. With tensions simmering between France and England, they depart in haste for Medby, where Sir Edward’s brother resides. There they hope to discover if Thomas Masterson has stepped into Sir Edward’s shoes, and now wields the monster called Leviathan.

The situation in Medby, however, is far worse than they anticipated. Claiming the French attacked his ships, the younger Masterson seems about to launch an audacious reply. But his true plans are not so straightforward and there is little time for Caroline and Jo to uncover them.

With the threat of war demanding risks in kind, Caroline and Jo must weigh their deepening affection against the greater good … and learn to trust not only their instincts, but their hearts as well.

 

Excerpt:

 

“My plan exactly,” Jo said blithely. “I just need to fetch something.”
“What are you going to do?” I demanded.
“Just what I said,” she replied, but her eyes would not meet mine. She hurried inside and up the stairs to the guest bedroom she had taken over. She started to shut the door but I was on her heels, and she instead began rifling through the chest she had brought.
“What if Missus Simmons is right?” I asked. “What if our barging in makes things worse?”
She gave me an outraged look. “I never barge in! What kind of creature do you take me for?”
“You barge in on me every morning!” I retorted. For it was true: Joanna Chase was an unrepentant early riser, often beating the Simmonses to the kitchen to light the fire, at which point she would fling open my door, deposit her restless, energetic self upon my bed, and start to detail our day.
“And you have barged in on me now,” Jo said. She had pulled out half her clothes with such vigor that her hair was coming undone. “It is a testament to our ease with one another. With Moira Owston, I will be a model of decorum—as long as I am met with the same.”
Her tone was light, but I glimpsed a small, metallic object which she quickly tucked into her pocket.
“Was that a knife?” I said in what I hoped was a severe tone.
She stood and folded her arms. “It is only for protection,” she said. “What if our Frenchman is still in the village?”
“Mister Windham says that anyone bringing a weapon to a confrontation expects to use it.”
“Bother Mister Windham.” She tried to push past me.
“He said the latest dispatch advised us to start packing.”
“It advised many things.” Her voice still had an edge to it. “But I think our course of action depends on the nationality of the man.”
“Why would anyone come to see a ruin, though?”
“Remember what Missus Owston told us. He said, ‘so it is true.’ And how he cut her?” She took a step closer to me. “He knows about the beast, Caroline. Perhaps not all of it, perhaps he didn’t quite believe it. But he knew enough to visit the damage it caused and to try that handkerchief trick of Masterson’s.”
“He wants to control it?” I asked.
“Or he’s been threatened by it? A beast that could lay waste to an entire fleet? It would assure victory for the side that could wield it—or afford to pay its master.”
Lost in contemplating these horrible scenarios, I had not realize how her body was brushing mine; but suddenly I was aware, and aware, too, that her cheeks had tinged pink.
“You may have to become Missus Read sooner than anticipated,” she whispered.

 

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About L.S. Johnson:

L.S. Johnson was born in New York and now lives in Northern California, where she feeds her cats by writing book indexes. Her stories have appeared in such venues as Strange Horizons, Interzone, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, and Year's Best Weird Fiction. Vacui Magia: Stories, her first collection, won the 2nd Annual North Street Book Prize. 
 

 

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