Sunday, 31 May 2015

Spotlight: 'Senlin Ascends' by Josiah Bancroft

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)For today's Spotlight I'm glad to present the first in the series The Books of Babel by Josiah Bancroft, Senlin Ascends. Described as a mix between Gaiman’s Stardust and Gibson & Sterling’s the Difference Engine, Senlin Ascends is an adventurous read with well-developed characters. And isn't that a stunning cover?
Senlin, a mild-mannered school teacher, is drawn to the Tower of Babel by the grandiose promises of a guidebook. The ancient and immense Tower seems the perfect destination for a honeymoon. But soon after arriving, Senlin loses his young wife, Marya, in the crowd. 
Senlin’s search for Marya carries him through slums and theaters, prisons and ballrooms. He must survive betrayal, assassination, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find Marya, Senlin will have to do more than survive. This quiet man of letters must become a man of action.
Find Senlin Ascends on: Facebook, Website and Goodreads

About Josiah:
I am a freelance writer, poet, and musician. My work has appeared in dozens of journals and magazines, including Slice Magazine, BOMB Magazine’s: Word Choice, Rattle, the Cimarron Review, the Cincinnati Review, and Gulf Coast. In 2010, my book of poems was a finalist for AWP’s Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. 

The poet Alberto Rios had this to say about my collection of poems, The Death of Giants:
"These are poems of constantly surprising adventures for the reader. The title poem sets the tone, marvelous in its pragmatism and equanimity, and the poems benefit from this start. Things happen, and things get done because of that, but what is so easily said is the precise source of wonder in these pieces, in that even the most complex and strange occurrences are simply dealt with."

And especially for you, here's a small excerpt from the beginning of Senlin Ascends!
The train came to a final stop though they saw no station outside their window. The conductor came by and told them that they’d have to disembark; the tracks were too clogged for the train to continue. No one seemed to think it unusual. After days of sitting and swaying on the rails, the prospect of a walk appealed to them both. Senlin gathered their two pieces of luggage: a stitched leather satchel for his effects, and for hers, a modest steamer trunk with large casters on one end and a push handle on the other. He insisted on managing them both.Before they left their car and while she tugged at the tops of her brown leather boots and smoothed her skirt, Senlin recited the three vital pieces of advice he’d gleaned from his copy of The Everyman’s Guide to the Tower of Babel. Firstly, keep your money close. (Before they’d departed, he’d had their local tailor sew secret pockets inside the waists of his pants and the hem of her skirt.) Secondly, don’t give in to beggars. (It only emboldens them.) And finally, keep your companions always in view.Senlin asked Marya to recite these points as they bustled down the gold-carpeted hall connecting train cars. She obliged, though with some humor.“Rule four: don’t kiss the camels,” she said.“That is not rule four.”“Tell that to the camels!” she said, her gait bouncing. And yet neither of them was prepared for the scene that met them as they descended the train’s steps. 
What do you think? Does Senlin Ascends sound like your kind of book?

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