FATHOM by Cherie Priest


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Ancient monsters battle it out using humans as pawns in Priest’s latest (Not Flesh Nor Feathers, 2007, etc.).

In 1920s Florida, a spirit called Mossfeaster engages architect Edward Bok to build a huge, mysterious tower. Meanwhile, on an island off the state’s west coast, hardworking Nia arrives for a visit with her cousin Bernice. But Bernice is dangerously violent, possibly insane, expressing virulent hatred of her shady-businessman stepfather Antonio. During preparations for a party, Bernice stabs Antonio with a cake knife. Since Nia is a witness, Bernice goes after her next. Nia flees into the water. Bernice vanishes, taken by a sea monster named Arahab. When Nia returns to consciousness, she’s become a living statue, shrouded in stone. Four years later, Bernice, transformed into an immortal, learns that Arahab has chosen her to help ex-pirate José, another of Arahab’s servants, rouse Leviathan, Arahab’s father, and destroy the world. Meanwhile, insurance agent Sam discovers evidence of black magic rituals on the island. Mossfeaster rouses Nia; once her stone covering is stripped off, she too is immortal, her purpose to counteract Bernice’s activities. Bernice and José pick up a shell-like artifact that Arahab needs to wake up Leviathan. But Bernice, wanting to enjoy her immortality for a few more years before the world ends, is already scheming to trick Arahab. And Sam must help Mossfeaster get Nia off the island before Arahab can destroy her.

Pleasantly offbeat, with plenty of vivid, compelling action sequences, though the plot doesn’t withstand too much scrutiny.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7653-1840-4
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2008


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