Senlin Ascends is a steampunk adventure novel wherein our hero, Thomas Senlin, ventures into the mythical and massive Tower of Babel to reunite with his new wife and love of his life, Marya.
Sounds simple? It’s not.
Each ring of the tower is a different country with tyrannical and ruthless rulers who run their circle of influence with an iron fist. And as Senlin ascends, the technology becomes more and more advanced to the point where, even to an educated man like Senlin, it looks like magic.
“There is a lot of debate over how many levels there are. Some scholars say there are fifty-two, others say as many as sixty. It’s impossible to judge from the ground.” pg 4
And their married life had started out so well…
“Their honeymoon was ruined, that much seemed certain. They would have to fabricate some fable of luxury to tell their friends, and he would, of course, make it all up to her with a quiet weekend in a pastoral cottage, but for the rest of their marriage she would remember what a terrible trial their honeymoon had been.” pg 16
Senlin is no fool in love though. He’s introverted, introspective and thoughtful. His wife, Marya, is younger and impulsive. Together, they make a great team. If only he could figure out which direction she went.
The character of Senlin is one of the delights of this fantasy novel. He’s prickly and doesn’t seem lovable right off the bat. But as you get to know him, you realize, he’s one-of-a-kind.
“The subtext was obvious: Love, pure and eternal, reigned supreme. Senlin did not believe in that sort of love: sudden and selfish and insatiable. … He believed true love was more like an education: It was deep and subtle and never complete.” pg 59
Senlin is still hopeful he’ll find his wife until he discovers what the tower really is and what it does to the unknowing who venture within its walls.
“I am upset because we have pooled out human genius into the building of an elaborate Tower and have filled it up with the same tyrants that have plagued our race since we crawled from the sea. Why does our innovation never extend to our conscience?” pg 142.
Highly recommended for fans of fantasy and adventure fiction. Senlin Ascends is a masterful debut novel and start of a unique series.
Thanks for reading!