Senlin Ascends
by Bancroft, Josiah

When mild-mannered Thomas Senlin's wife disappears on their honeymoon, he must enter the Tower of Babel-a place of luxury and deception-to save her.

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, and their two rabbits, Mabel and Chaplin.

This series opener follows the transformation of judgmental headmaster Thomas Senlin, tourist, into something entirely different. He and his new bride, Marya, begin on their honeymoon, traveling to the fantastic Tower of Babel. Almost immediately, Marya is whisked away by the crowds. As Thomas journeys through the drama and pitfalls of the tower, from the beer pits of the first level to the theater of the second and beyond, he learns that perhaps the world is more complicated and messy than he'd thought. Senlin is something of a bumbling rube, which allows the reader to learn about the world as the lead character does. The Tower of Babel holds great promise: there is clearly more going on there than meets the eye, even as Thomas becomes aware of more and more of its nuances. The pacing seems slow-there is a long, long buildup as Thomas tries to find any trace of Marya and a whirlwind conclusion leading into the next phase of Senlin's story-but it allows for in-depth development of the setting. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

In his debut novel, Bancroft takes readers into a steampunk world revolving around the great attraction and mystery that is the Tower of Babel—a colossal structure rising up into the heavens that devours the unwary with intrigue and danger.One such unwary is Thomas Senlin, a school headmaster from a small fishing village, whose rosy ideas of the Tower lead him to honeymoon there with his young bride, Marya. But the two villagers are unprepared for the "big city"—especially a city so capricious and indifferent as the Tower turns out to be. Thomas loses track of Marya before even making it inside the Tower's gargantuan walls, and from there he begins his desperate quest to find her within the Tower's heights. The naïve and awkward headmaster is thrust into a world of treachery, drugs, hedonism, art, theft, airships, political feuding, soul-numbing violence, and above all secrets—secrets that he begins to see form a whole and a clue to the Tower's true nat ure. Will Thomas be able to keep his soul as he learns the Tower's often deadly rules, or will he simply be one more person broken by the Tower? (The true import of Thomas' quest won't be found here—there's a sequel coming, naturally.) Through it all, Marya seems to drift just out of his grip—but in her place, Thomas painstakingly assembles a ragtag team of allies and friends, if friendship can ever be true in a place where loyalty is just another currency and the powers that be have placed a price on Thomas' head. The lush setting holds the reader through a slow start, but once the plot gets going, it ticks along with the tight precision and artistry of a well-wound watch. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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