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Babylon Steel Paperback – 5 Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (5 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907992375
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907992377
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 441,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gaie Sebold began writing shortly after learning to read, and has produced a large number of words, many of them different. Her debut novel introduced brothel-owning ex-avatar of sex and war, Babylon Steel (Solaris, 2012); the sequel, Dangerous Gifts, came out in February 2013 and a steampunk novel, Shanghai Sparrow, is due in 2014. She also has short stories in a number of current anthologies including the David Gemmell Memorial Anthology 'Legends' and the World War Cthulhu anthology.
Gaie is a member of London-based critique group T Party Writers. She has worked as a cleaner, secretary, till-monkey, stage-tour-manager, editor, and charity administrator. She reads a lot, gardens a lot, and sometimes runs around in woods hitting people with latex weapons. She lives with writer David Gullen and a paranoid cat.
Events and short fiction from Babylon Steel's world can be found at www.scalentine.gaiesebold.com and Gaie also blogs at www.gaiesebold.com.

Product Description

About the Author

Gaie Sebold is based in London works for a charity, reads obsessively, gardens amateurishly, and sometimes runs around in woods hitting people with latex weapons. She has won awards for her poetry and has published short stories. This is her debut novel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stefan VINE VOICE on 5 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
I had no idea what to expect from Babylon Steel. I'd read the synopsis and thought the premise sounded interesting. What I found was a novel that has a strong central character, and a fun and well-constructed plot, which was a blend of fantasy and thriller with a dash of humour. There's also some pretty good social commentary. This is a very good debut, and I really hope we see more of Babylon Steel, and certainly more from Gaie Sebold.

Babylon Steel is an interesting novel. There are three distinct acts, but also an additional, `historical' thread of chapters that alternate with the main story set in the `present'. It's a little difficult to go into too much detail, but the search for the missing girl is only part of the overall story, as Babylon and her companions (also her employees) find themselves mixed up in some local politics, and Babylon's own past catches up with her.

The setting is an interesting one. In Sebold's reality, there are multiple "planes", connected by various portals (some stable, some not), and Babylon's home is on a plane situated on an intersection between a number of them. As a result, the place is populated by a large number of intelligent and morphologically different species. I'm not sure if this would technically make the novel Sci-Fi or still fantasy... I suppose both? The technology levels remain low - for example, people still fight with swords and not guns.

Usually, I find the alternating-time-periods structural device frustrating, but the way Sebold has written the novel, I found myself getting invested in both threads equally.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By 3rd spearman on 7 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Babylon Steel is an ex sword-for-hire who runs the Red Lantern, a high class brothel in Scalentine, city of many portals. When she has a few problems balancing the accounts and having enough ready cash to pay her taxes she takes on a missing person case from the mysterious Darask Fain against her better judgment. Along the way she runs into trouble from the prudish Vessels of Purity religion and the past she's tried to leave behind finally catches up with her. Its a fine rollicking adventure tale with an interesting female lead and a collection of colourful characters as Scalentine, having many portals, is a melting pot of people from many planes. There is a good dollop of mystery, some magic (its a multiverse where you can hop from world to world using portals and there are some "glamour" style spells but no-one throwing fireballs) and an interesting world(s). It was a very enjoyable debut and I look forward to seeing what Sebold does next. Recommended to all lovers of fantasy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 18 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Babylon Steel, former sword-for-hire and prostitute, runs a brothel called The Red Lantern in Scalentine, a hub city containing portals to different lands. Unfortunately, business hasn't been great and with a massive tax bill looming, Babylon needs money fast. Salvation comes from Darask Fain in the Diplomatic Section, who commissions her to find a missing Guidain heiress who's presumed to have been kidnapped just before her important political betrothal to another Gudain family.

But this is a bad time for an investigation. The approaching Two-Moon (when both of Scalentine's moons are full), means there's a lot of craziness about. A religious order called the Vessels of Purity are campaigning against prostitution and threatening the Lantern and someone's brutally beating up prostitutes. Worse is the arrival of a group of people from Babylon's past, a past that she thought she'd escaped for good, and which threatens to destroy everything she's worked so hard for ...

Gaie Sebold's debut novel is an epic fantasy featuring a strong, sexually confident woman who controls her own destiny.

Babylon's chatty, first-person voice carries you through the various plot strands. It's refreshing to read fantasy with a female character who knows what she wants and what she likes and while Babylon might not be great at asking for help, she understands when she's outgunned and is competent at what she does. I enjoyed her relationship with her brothel's crew, particularly with Previous, an ex-mercenary who works as a guard, and Precious, the huge, scaly cook. I also liked the way Sebold mixes in Babylon's backstory, as an abandoned orphan on Tiresana, a dying land under the control of ruthless Avatars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Callaghan VINE VOICE on 22 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fantasy romp featuring the titular Babylon Steel, a brothel madam/swordmistress who lives on the chaotic and varied Scalentine, a tiny plane which is fed by a number of magical portals disgorging numerous strange refugees and other travellers. Babylon herself has been one such refugees, but having settled down in Scalentine she will find that she and her crew at the Red Lantern will be drawn into the search for a missing girl which will culminate in a confrontation between her and the mysterious past she's left behind.

The writing is great - Gaie has a light, lucid prose style and the city shows a fantastic and playful inventiveness. Babylon is a tough but likeable heroine ably supported by a well-drawn supporting cast, and all in all, it's a wonderful fun read. Highly recommended.
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