Arm of the Sphinx

Arm of the Sphinx : Book Two of the Books of Babel

4.41 (7,097 ratings by Goodreads)
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'Josiah Bancroft is a magician. His books are that rare alchemy: gracefully written, deliriously imaginative, action-packed, warm, witty and thought-provoking' Madeline Miller, author of Circe

'Like its predecessor, it is a brilliant piece of work . . . these two books are genius. I just love them. The story, characters and imagination shine' Mark Lawrence

Forced by necessity into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew struggle to survive aboard their stolen airship as the hunt for his lost wife continues. But the Tower of Babel is proving to be as difficult to re-enter as it was to escape.

Hopeless and desolate, they turn to a legend of the tower, the mysterious Sphinx. But help from the sphinx doesn't come cheaply and, as Senlin knows, debts aren't always what they seem in the Tower of Babel.

Praise for the series:

'Brilliant' - Publishers Weekly

'I loved it' - Django Wexler

'An engrossing intoxicating delight' - Forbidden Planet

'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
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Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 130 x 199 x 28mm | 306g
  • Orbit
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0356510832
  • 9780356510835
  • 88,784

Review quote

An immensely satisfying sequel . . . Senlin Ascends made my annual Best of the Year list, and Arm of the Sphinx will doubtless make this year's list, which is as strong a recommendation as I can make -- FORBIDDEN PLANET What is remarkable about this novel, quite apart from its rich, allusive prose, is Bancroft's portrayal of Senlin, a good man in a desperate situation, and the way he changes in response to his experiences in his ascent -- GUARDIAN on SENLIN ASCENDS Senlin Ascends was a fantastic read, and felt truly unique. I will most definitely be reading the rest of Bancroft's work -- BOOKNEST This is an exceedingly rich book. A depth of imagination married with a poetic turn of phrase and an engaging cast of characters (both those we meet and those who keep us waiting) conspire to deliver an epic story soaring high above the clouds -- FANTASY FACTION on SENLIN ASCENDS Senlin Ascends crosses the everyday strangeness and lyrical prose of Borges and Gogol with all the action and adventure of high fantasy. I loved it, and grabbed the next one as soon as I turned the last page -- Django Wexler on SENLIN ASCENDS A terrific, free-ranging fantasy that ranges from Kafkaesque horror to heist thriller . . . This book is bonkers, entertaining, clever and - quite possibly - unique -- PORNOKITSCH on Senlin Ascends An extraordinary debut that is well worthy of the hype. A beautifully written, highly engaging page-turning masterpiece -- FANTASY BOOK REVIEW on SENLIN ASCENDS An impressive display of imagination and humour . . . we have no reservations about recommending it -- SCIFINOW on SENLIN ASCENDS Arm of the Sphinx is an entertaining and easily devoured read . . . Bancroft's prose is beautiful - at times breathtaking . . . In his deadpan humour and sparkling creativity, Bancroft's writing reminds me of Terry Pratchett - breaking ground and defying tropes with an entirely different kind of world -- FANTASY FACTION Every page of Arm of the Sphinx is a delectable treat, with countless delightful passages, characters and a story that gets more intriguing as mysteries build and questions are answered . . . a wonderful series that has all the makings of a modern fantasy classic -- THE SPECULATIVE SHELF The world-building is brilliant and totally unique . . . I devoured this book within a couple of days. Arm of the Sphinx is a completely original and beautifully written story that is poetic, descriptive and completely intoxicating -- FANTASY BOOK REVIEW Bancroft's world continues to teem with explosive energy, and he ranges ably from the transcendent to the vicious in an instant. The unchecked splendour of the scenery is balanced by the complicated, sympathetic characters, and the plot maintains a steady stream of surprises without ever wearying. This volume not only matches but adds to the notable achievements of the first. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY It's rare to find a modern book that feels like a timeless classic. I'm wildly in love with this book -- Pierce Brown, on SENLIN ASCENDS Like its predecessor it is a brilliant piece of work . . . these two books are genius. I just love them. The story, characters and imagination shine -- Mark Lawrence
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About Josiah Bancroft

Before settling down to write fantasy novels, Josiah Bancroft was a poet, college instructor, and aspiring comic book artist. When he is not writing, he enjoys recording the Crit Faced podcast with his authorial friends, drawing the world of the Tower, and cooking dinner without a recipe. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Sharon, their daughter Maddie, and their two rabbits, Mabel and Chaplin.

More examples of his work, including updates on upcoming instalments in the Books of Babel series, can be found at
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Rating details

7,097 ratings
4.41 out of 5 stars
5 53% (3,763)
4 37% (2,634)
3 9% (621)
2 1% (63)
1 0% (16)
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