Leviathan Art – The Grand Map

Here we are, two days before Leviathan comes out, and I’ve just realized that it’s the beginning of a new month. That means it’s time to reveal one last piece of Keith Thompson’s wonderful art!

This is an illustration that we call THE GRAND MAP! And it comes with a story:

As I was writing Leviathan, and the characters began to wind their way across Europe, a wise editor of mine suggested that we might want to put a map in the book. I agreed, of course, because all the best novels have maps in them. Also, we’d already decided that Leviathan would have endpapers. Endpapers are the heavy leaves of paper pasted to the inside of the front and back covers of a book. Because they go through the printer separately from the rest of the pages, you can easily make them color.

“Delicious color art . . . ,” I said.

When I told Keith about this, he started researching (he’s always doing that) and discovered a bunch of cool “allegorical maps” of the period, which used illustration to communicate politics. Back in 1914, you see, a lot of people were illiterate, so maps had to show who the good and the bad guys were with pictures.

Here’s a real historical example from the Entente (what I call Darwinist) side of the war:

This map and the following one were reconstructed from smaller pieces by Paul K on his BibliOdessy site. You can zoom into them in greater detail at the University of Amsterdam.

And here’s an example showing the Central (Clanker) view of things:


Naturally, we thought that this allegorical style would be awesome to imitate. So Keith went off and created a Darwinist vs. Clanker version for us to use.

Here is the stupendous result:


Click the map to make it much bigger, and revel in the details!
UPDATE: The map jpg is now much bigger, and with the correct key. After clicking the above, click it again for a HUGE version.

Here are some notes about the map from Keith, explaining what all the symbolism means:

The Clanker Powers

“Germany is a massive military machine with weapons aimed outwards to all surrounding countries. It points threateningly at Britain, not so much as a sign of direct aggression, but more as an indicator that it was now Germany’s turn to start a grand global Empire to challenge the world’s current one.

“Austria Hungary is an aggressive armoured giant, teetering on shoddy foundations. It is also the primary aggressor in a land grab against Serbia, with two bayonets piercing the border.

“The Ottoman empire is a teetering automaton, collapsing under the weight of a paranoid and ungainly spying network that gazes at Europe through many lenses and spy glasses.

“The Swiss watch ticks away the time, comfortable to wait it all out.”

The Darwinist Powers

“Britain is an militaristic lion beast with a Roman Imperial italic-type helmet. It sits upon a mound of riches gathered from its Empire.

“France’s elephant beast (wearing the French kepi they started the war with before adapting their firefighter helmets) is influenced by the Elephantine Collossus built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 in Paris (later it ended up going to the Moulin Rouge.) It also represents France’s huge significance in WWI, which is something that tends to get a little glossed over.

“Russia is a huge imperialist bear, rotting and filled with maggots. (Russia collapsed during the real war.)

“Serbia’s imagery (a skeleton) is an indicator of the huge amounts of civilian deaths and suffering they’ll find themselves subject to.

“Norway and Sweden are both Scandinavian trolls in the style of John Bauer, an incredible and inspirational illustrator from the time who produced a lot of phenomenal work during the war.

“Portugal is a parrot for the Entente trying to goad a slumbering Spain into the war (this was based on something from a contemporary map and I’m not totally sure about the viewpoint’s veracity, but I couldn’t resist the image, and it seemed to match up with what I knew of the situation.)

“Ireland looks askance to Britain and brandishes a shillelagh. An indicator of their very rough relationship at the time, and of their upcoming involvement with the Central powers.

“Italy is a clutch of snakes with intents on the Central powers despite existing agreements. A foreshadowing of their arrangements at the secret 1915 Treaty of London where they were promised land in exchange for involvement. It was heavily influenced by Italian Prime Minister, Antonio Salandra’s open policy of serving Italy’s self-interest (there’s a great quote where the notion of ‘divine self-interest’ is invoked, but I can’t dig it up unfortunately.)”

Pretty cool, huh?

Note:This map only appears in the US/Canadian and Australian versions. The UK version doesn’t have it! I don’t know about other languages yet.

My tour starts Tuesday, the same day the book is out! For details, click the “Appearances/News” button up in the menu at any time, or just click here.

83 thoughts on “Leviathan Art – The Grand Map

  1. To those of you whose parentals are “Demons” (wow, sorry to hear that!) Check out your local library! I know two of the libraries around here already have copies on order. You can go on a waiting list!

  2. ping to beli-wa ( again ): a child molester? Eeew! Wait was it michael jackson? No, that was years ago… never mind…

  3. beli-wa: i loooove that word, its awesome. that totally describes the map. frabjous! a child molester, seriously??? who wrote it???
    have fun with leviathan everybody!!!!

  4. that mad is so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i want to read it so bad but i wont get to read it until our school or public library orders it which might be a while!!!! ugh i wanna read it NOW!!!

  5. I love how Keith put in a fly holding an accurate Mosin Nagant M1891 rifle behind Russia’s head.

  6. I keep looking for Peeps everywhere! But it is no where to be found. I really want to read that series! The Uglies series was awesome, so I’m expecting another miracle in book form from scott-sama!:)

  7. I am very glad to have to read this article. You have helped me again. There is a greate deal of knowledge to be gained from this article. I would love to read more of your aticles. Thank u so much for posting this article.

  8. ngbjgashbgkdshckjshf jhcgfdskjvnbzxmncvalskjdfhegijdfkjbghdflkjbnadcvlaehgfuhadnalchbldfivjacblcginhjgnhgoaocnenewtugevarnoevhtlkaejrnglvregjutaeriothavpheraoieuqhoifnhvgvjahp
    dsdgbtdfbgshj diym
    nbyaeN QHWerausmtriu

  9. Paris, the city of lights or romance as I think. There is not a more beautiful city in the world to visit. It has everything, good restaurants, cusy cafes aswell as alot of the finest museums in the world.

  10. this map is soo freaken awesome!! :O so is the book!! 🙂 i was done reading it in about a week, were reading this book at our school 🙂 its great!! 🙂

  11. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  12. I am becoming obsessed with the “Leviathan” series… I’m about a 3rd of the Way through “Behemoth” currently.
    I can’t wait for “Goliath!!”
    You should seriously consider making this into a movie. I’ve found a bunch of songs by My Chemical Romance that go along well with the series, especially
    “Na Na Na” and “Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back.” (The album is “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.”)
    One other suggestion– If you haven’t finished “Goliath” yet, could you pleeeaassee keep Count Volger alive? He’s my favorite character. ^^

    –Midshipman Chaos–

  13. Oh and another thing– (sorry for the double post)
    I’ve also read “The Last Days” and the first “Midnighters” book.
    I loved “The Last Days” ^^
    I also wrote down a bunch of 13-letter words for awhile after reading “Midnighters.” XDD

  14. Oh and another thing– (sorry for the double post)
    I’ve also read “The Last Days” and the first “Midnighters” book.
    I loved “The Last Days” ^^
    I also wrote down a bunch of 13-letter words for awhile after reading “Midnighters.” XDD

    -Midshipman Chaos-

  15. It’s nice to see this in color, as the black and white version in the book (though still awesome) is a little hard to discern. Thanks for showing the historical references as well. I can’t recall ever seeing maps like those even referenced when I was in high school.

  16. Liked the first book, the second, uh. The third, bleaugh. The Clankers should’ve won. How are those massive land ships (from leviathan) going to lose against lions or bears, huh? The Germans were not “evil.” The French and British wanted war just as much, if not more than, the Germans. I highly suspect you are an “Anglophile” so to speak. Or perhaps a “Germanophobe.” I suggest you write another book, but this one were the Clankers win.

  17. Okay for the people who think Twilight is better than the Uglies series go stand under one of the sultan’s war machine elephants haha book humor. Anyway this book and artwork are the greastest things I’ve ever seen I wish maximum ride had that kind of artwork it world make it sooo much easier to understand. But it was good anyway nothing like the Leviathan series, it’s about kids with wings that kind of thing, Mr. Westerfeld you should right one like that book series you’d probably write it better too cause some parts I just didn’t agree with like when they went to save the penguins. Anyway I love your books! Oh, and to Mr. Thompson I LOVE YOUR ARTWORK. If I could draw like that I would draw ALL DAY!
    Leah age 13 from the good ‘ol US of A! – I’m a fellow writer but I can’t get published I’m too young! LOL!

  18. I am a total world war 1 buff/ steampunk fan. Needless to say I just about peed myself. Ok, I did pee myself. But this map is amazing and im happy to say I picked up on the significance of the way each country is depicted. If this is ever a poster it’s going on my wall.

Comments are closed.