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Publisher's Summary

Discover the extraordinary debut that has everyone talking.

Mild-mannered headmaster Thomas Senlin prefers his adventures to be safely contained within the pages of a book. So when he loses his new bride shortly after embarking on the honeymoon of their dreams, he is ill-prepared for the trouble that follows.

To find her, Senlin must enter the Tower of Babel - a world of geniuses and tyrants, of menace and wonder, of unusual animals and mysterious machines. He must endure betrayal, assassination attempts and the long guns of a flying fortress. And if he hopes to ever see his wife again, he will have to do more than just survive...this quiet man of letters must become a man of action.

©2013 Josiah Bancroft (P)2018 Little, Brown Book Group

Critic Reviews

"One of my favourite books of all time." (Mark Lawrence)

"An extraordinary debut that is well worthy of the hype. A beautifully written, highly engaging page-turning masterpiece." (Fantasy Book Review)

"Thomas Senlin is the most unlikely yet likeable hero since a certain hobbit rushed out of Bag End leaving his second breakfast half-finished and entirely unwashed-up." (Fantasy Faction)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 01-21-18

Senlin Snags Me By The End!

It's not often I feel conflicted about what rating to give a book but this is definitely an example. Senlin Ascends really is a pure fantasy, almost a Fantasia in the sense that there is no attempt to do any kind of vaguely logical world-building. Instead a mild mannered small school headteacher is plunged into a mystical tower which is idealised as the height of human achievement when in reality it's anything but. Senlin is driven to explore the levels of this enormous structure, each contains its own almost self-contained society with absolutely no suggestion of anything about how they interact paying more than lip service to logic. It's almost like an extended fable.

This of course gives the writer enormous ease and freedom and Bancroft doesn't hold back filling each of the levels or "Ringdoms" with a colourful army of larger than life characters and crazy inventions such as the "Beer-me-up" I think it was. It made me laugh at the thought of it anyway - an end to climate change? The narration by John Banks suits the tone of the book very well. He delivered the author's at times incredibly clever and literate prose in just the right manner.

To me though the whole thing only really took off in the last three to four hours when a lot of threads came together and the story and its hero really seemed to emerge as a strong character. For this reason and the fact that this will drive you insane if you need any level of logic to apply to your fantasy I'm sticking at four stars for the whole thing.

However, by the end of those last few hours I feel as if I've been snagged on Senlin's coat tails and will likely take the second of what I've heard is to be a four book series when it comes out in March.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • JPA
  • 01-29-18

Unique. Brilliant.

I've never read a story quite like it.

Victorianesque in setting and feel, with steampunk elements and an industrious, mysterious tower as its main focus. This single POV story witnesses true character progression and setting discovery. Twists, turns, alliances and betrayals.

Enter the tower and walk along side Senlin as his ardous climb through level and status surprises and amazes you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • David Bosrock
  • 03-24-18

step into babel.. you wont regret it :)

glistening flights of lucid fantacy.. yet rooted in a fully believed world. an epic conjouring.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • joe arnold
  • 03-22-18

imaginative and exciting

beautifully written, fantastic narration. not the type of fantasy I usually listen to, being less "gritty" but nonetheless gripping for that.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lauren
  • 02-01-18

Outstanding audiobook

Absolutely loved this book! It is well deserving of the praise it receives, and the narration brought it to exceptional levels. Wonderful pacing and voices and so often I forgot I was listening to a book - everything played out in my mind like a film. I cannot wait to read the sequel!

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  • Jackson
  • 02-27-18

Unique and Amazing!

Would you listen to Senlin Ascends again? Why?

Senlin Ascends is a fantastic book with a unique setting that gives the reader an ever-changing environment and dynamic cast that will keep the reader always looking for more.John Bank's is the perfect fit for Thomas Senlin, and does an admirable job of a wide range of voices.Can't recommend this book enough.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Radlad30
  • 04-15-18

One of the best books I have ever 'read'

Where does Senlin Ascends rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of my favourite books of all times, not just on audiobooks.

What did you like best about this story?

It is beatifically written. It has have an almost poetic feel, something I have only really encountered in Lord of the Rings and The Book Thief.

The world created is immersive and the story completely engrossing. It is fantasy escapism at its best.

It will no doubt end up a blockbuster movie or tv series, which is a shame in a way.

What about John Banks’s performance did you like?

John's performance was excellent. His characters were completely believable and engaging, with only 'Erin' perhaps being a bit off to my ear.

Any additional comments?

I cannot recommend this enough. It is a joy and a treasure. I can't wait for the third book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-25-18

different but the same

This story is along the same lines as keys to the kingdom. Different levels, different problems. I am not sure I liked it. reader was great.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 06-17-18

Fantastic setting, interesting characters.

Fantastic setting and interesting characters. Perfomance is also well presented and entertaining to listen to.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • mitchell
  • 05-08-18

just couldn't get into it

got to chapter 6 before I had had enough of whatever was, or was not, happening in this book. character was so hard to relate to and his choices were far too frustrating to continue reading to see if it gets better.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • amanda
  • 04-17-18

Can't wait for the next one.

A fantastic story brilliantly narrated. Unique and well written, unusual characters. Grabbed me at the first chapter.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-16-18

Very slow moving "keep waiting for the action .

this book , if a paperback i would hand it back at the store. too slow " no handing a audio book back.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Cindy
  • 04-16-18

Not really worth the time

Would you try another book written by Josiah Bancroft or narrated by John Banks?

No and no. I can't figure out how this book got a good review! I persevered through half before I threw in the towel.

What will your next listen be?

Not sure. I'm between series...

What didn’t you like about John Banks’s performance?

Lack of range vocally. He didn't bring the story to life.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Annoyance that I wasted my money buying the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-11-18

great fun. it's like Alice in wonderland

instead of going down the hole he's going up the tower! keep going Selin, you can do it!