THE FALL OF BABEL by Josiah Bancroft from @orbitbooks

THE FALL OF BABEL by Josiah Bancroft.

Orbit. p/b. £9.99.

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.

Captain Winters aboard the State of Art has come to round up a series of paintings that were long ago scattered by the Brick Layer himself and said to be the key to opening the Bridge of Babel. That act comes with its own hazards, but the crew are nothing if not determined. Even Voleta, still recovering from a fatal wound.

Adamos Boreas is also determined, though in his case, to con those who would try to con him. He has learnt to survive in the tower. Thief he may be, but for now, he is New Babel’s prisoner. A fact that would have been fine with Adam if only his captors did not seem to know so much about him.

Thomas Senlin, once headmaster, ship’s captain, and now willing captive of Marat the zealot, is undercover, deep within the Hod King, a siege engine powered by the destruction of books. Its mission: to ascend the Tower of Babel. Now, Senlin has come to Marat’s attention and must play his part without flaw to save his wife and child and indeed everyone else.

The Fall of Babel is as rich with wit, intelligence and a keen understanding of the whims and follies of man as its predecessors. This fourth book concludes events through the eyes of Adam, Senlin, Edith, Voleta and indeed other key players in The Books of Babel quartet and is a vast tome, rife with the details, distractions and mania we have come to expect of this series.

Adam is a welcome return as a point of view character and carries the first part of the book almost single-handedly. Things take a more frantic and more surreal turn from thereon in as the narrative threads traverse, diverge and occasionally clash. The world of Babel could spawn a thousand more tales, but this one feels satisfyingly complete in its telling.

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