Sometimes our expectations are dashed to the ground and pummeled when faced with reality. This happens for Thomas Senlin when he and his wife Marya take a trip to the Tower of Babel in Josiah Bancroft’s debut novel. Thomas’ romanticized vision of the tower as a beautiful place full of wonders and amenities is immediately shattered when he arrives at the base of the tower and is separated from his new bride within minutes. In order to find her again, he has to start going up through the floors, or Ringdoms, of the tower. His encounters range from the surreal (such as an entire floor where visitors are cast in a play that they’ve never read or rehearsed) to the suspiciously serene (a floor dedicated to bathhouses and bars). Thomas will have to use every wit he has to find his wife or he’ll end up like all the other visitors: indentured servants or dead. Bancroft’s novel is a fun Steampunk adventure that will make you want to find out what lies on the next floor, and each one thereafter.
— From Emilo Flores
The first book in the word-of-mouth phenomenon debut fantasy series about one man's dangerous journey through a labyrinthine world.
"One of my favorite books of all time" - Mark Lawrence
The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of luxury and menace, of unusual animals and mysterious machines.
Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.
Senlin is determined to find Marya, but to do so he'll have to navigate madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassins, and the illusions of the Tower. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just endure.
This quiet man of letters must become a man of action.
The Books of Babel
Arm of the Sphinx
About the Author
Josiah Bancroft started writing novels when he was twelve, and by the time he finished his first, he was an addict. Eventually, the writing of Senlin Ascends began, a fantasy adventure, not so unlike the stories that got him addicted to words in the first place. He wanted to do for others what his favorite writers had done for him: namely, to pick them up and to carry them to a wonderful and perilous world that is spinning very fast. If he's done that with this book, then he's happy.
Josiah lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Sharon, their daughter Maddie, and their two rabbits, Mabel and Chaplin.
"It's rare to find a modern book that feels like a timeless classic. I'm wildly in love with this book."—Pierce Brown, author of Red Rising and Iron Gold
is one of the best reads I've had in ages . . . I was dragged in and didn't escape until I'd finished two or three days later."—Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns
"Senlin is a man worth rooting for, and his strengthening resolve and character is as marvelous and sprawling as the tower he climbs."—The Washington Post
"What is remarkable about this novel, quite apart from its rich, allusive prose, is Bancroft's portrayal of Senlin, a good man in a desperate situation, and the way he changes in response to his experiences in his ascent."—The Guardian
crosses the everyday strangeness and lyrical prose of Borges and Gogol with all the action and adventure of high fantasy. I loved it, and grabbed the next one as soon as I turned the last page."—Django Wexler, author of The Thousand Names
"With deceptive simplicity Bancroft brings this gothic place and its denizens to a colourful life...I loved it!"—Adrian Selby, author of Snakewood
is an adventure rife with character, voice and beauty-a well-polished knife drawn out slowly."—Sam Sykes, author of The City Stained Red
is a unique masterpiece. A brilliant debut. Highly recommended!"—Michael R. Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption
"Ticks along with the tight precision and artistry of a well-wound watch."—Kirkus
"This is fantasy storytelling of a high order."—The Toronto Star
"More than deserving of advance buzz and initial self-published success, Josiah Bancroft's Senlin Ascends
is an early contender for year-end best lists, and a towering achievement in weird fantasy."—B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
"Brilliant debut fantasy . . . This novel goes off like a firework and suggests even greater things in the author's future."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
starts off with a bang, and it never slows down. With its breathtaking pace, this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers."—San Francisco Book Review
"A great fantasy!"—Portland Book Review
"This is an exceedingly rich book. A depth of imagination married with a poetic turn of phrase and an engaging cast of characters conspire to deliver an epic story soaring high above the clouds."
"Like a blend of Kafka's The Castle
and Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast
, Josiah Bancroft's ambitious first chapter in his The Books of Babel series is an impressive display of imagination and humor."—SciFiNow