Josiah Bancroft: “Senlin Ascends” is a richly imagined novel – fantasy & sci-fi, steampunk, and suspense.
“Senlin Ascends” is book 1 of “The Books of Babel Series.”
Sequel: “Arm of the Sphinx”
The principal character is Tom Senlin, who changes from being a village schoolmaster to someone who must deal with life-threatening perils, intrigue, scoundrels, nobles, and assassins when he visits the Tower of Babel.
The Tower of Babel is immense, of unknown origin. It towers over a desert on the continent of Ur with numerous ringdoms, stacked one upon another. Each ringdom is unique and is connected to the others within the Tower. Airships fly between the Tower and the rest of Ur, as well as between the ringdoms.
The “Everyman’s Guide to the Tower of Babel” depicts it as a wondrous place of adventure and romance, to explore for its arts, theater, culture, technological and scientific advances. The Tower attracts tourists, pilgrims, merchants, and people searching for a new life.
Thomas Senlin is headmaster and teacher of the school in the fishing village of Isaugh. He and his wife Marya travel by train for their honeymoon at The Tower. When they arrive at The Market, at the foot of The Tower, they are fascinated and overwhelmed by this first encounter with the Tower.
The Market is very crowded, busy, thriving, a constant flow of people, residents, and tourists, shoppers, and merchants. A dangerous place for the new and unwary. One moment Tom and Marya are together, and in the next, Marya has disappeared
Distraught, terrified, Tom begins his desperate search for his wife. He learns many newcomers disappear, never to be found again. Tom’s determination to find her takes him into the ringdoms of The Tower. He discovers The Tower is a more complex place, than the descriptions in the Tourist Guide.
Drawing on his knowledge and abilities as a teacher, and his determination to find Marya, he learns and adapts to survive in the Tower. It is a world of treachery, luxury, poverty, of nobles, and political intrigue.
Tom begins his journal: “Every Man’s Tower, One Man’s Travails” by T. Senlin
The tension and drama in the story ratchet up when Tom steals an airship “The Stone Cloud” and escapes from the ringdom of New Babel to fly north to the ringdom of Pelphia: home of the wealthy Pell nobles. Onboard with him is a small crew: Adam, an engineer; Edith, first mate; Iren, master-at-arms; Voleta, lookout on the rigging, a born athlete and acrobat.
Tom begins the ship’s log: “The Stone Cloud’s Logbook, Captain Tom Mudd.”