Shanghai Sparrow

Shanghai Sparrow Cover
Eveline Duchen is a thief and con-artist, surviving day by day on the streets of London, where the glittering spires of progress rise on the straining backs of the poor and disenfranchised. Where the Folk, the otherworldly children of fairy tales and legends, have all but withdrawn from the smoke of the furnaces and the clamour of iron. Caught in an act of deception by the implacable Mr Holmforth, Evvie is offered a stark choice: transportation to the colonies, or an education and utter commitment to Her Majesty’s Service at Miss Cairngrim’s harsh school for female spies. But on the decadent streets of Shanghai, where the corruption of the Empire is laid bare, Holmforth is about to make a devil’s bargain, and Eveline’s choices could change the future of two worlds…

“Tremendous, pacey fun — perky heroines, mysterious men, vivid settings, dastardly plots and a steam powered dragon. What more could a girl want?” Francis Knight, author, Fade to Black

Published by Solaris April 2014

Babylon Steel

FC-BC (BABYLON STEEL) UK BBabylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex…other things, runs the best brothel in Scalentine; city of many portals, two moons, and a wide variety of races, were-creatures, and religions, not to mention the occasional insane warlock.
She’s not having a good week.  The Vessels of Purity are protesting against brothels, women in the trade are being attacked, it’s tax time, and there’s not enough money to pay the bill.  So when the mysterious Darask Fain offers her a job finding a missing girl, Babylon decides to take it.  But the missing girl is not what she seems, and neither is Darask Fain. In the meantime twomoon is approaching, and more than just a few night’s takings are at risk when Babylon’s hidden past reaches out to grab her by the throat.

A unique and richly realised setting, a vivid cast, a plot that coils and divides and fakes and deceives… Ingenious, gripping, and full of pleasures on every level. Exceptional.”

Mike Carey, author of NYT Best Seller The Unwritten and the Felix Castor novels

Published by Solaris in January 2012

Dangerous Gifts

The second novel in the Babylon Steel sequence. Babylon, former avatar of the goddess of sex and war, currently owner of the Scarlet Lantern, the best brothel on Scalentine, city of portals, has been offered a job; as bodyguard to Enthemmerlee, the latest candidate for the Council of Incandress; and as spy for the Diplomatic Section, the barely-acknowledged government of Scalentine.

She doesn’t want it. Incandress is on the verge of civil war. Enthemmerlee represents the hopes or fears of a large portion of its population and is a prime target for assassination. And on Scalentine racial tensions and economic stresses are boiling up, with Babylon’s lover, Chief Bitternut, trying to keep the lid on.

But circumstances conspire to send her to Incandress. There, what with attempting to turn Enthemmerlee’s useless household guard into a disciplined fighting force, dodging the Moral Statutes, the unwilling presence of a very annoyed member of the Diplomatic Section and the need to keep both herself and her client alive, things become rather too interesting. And that’s before Babylon realises that the situation is far worse than she thought, and is driven to a choice that will have far-reaching consequences…

“…a hugely entertaining novel, full of humour and excitement but also with real depth.”Simon Bestwick, author of Tide of Souls and The Faceless

Published by Solaris January 2013

Other Projects

There’s another Babylon Steel novel in the works; this one involving families, kidnapping, arena fights and interplanar politics.

I am also working on a novel in collaboration with the absurdly talented Dave Gullen, whose short stories have appeared in a number of prestigious magazines and anthologies and whose debut novel, Shopocalypse, is now out.

Well, there are orcs. Sort of orcs. (I happen to like big green guys with tusks. What can I say?). It started out as a lighthearted piece of fluff, but seems determined to evolve into a fully-fledged fantasy novel with worldbuilding and subplots and stuff.

I have a few other projects percolating, including a contemporary paranormal and a fantasy noir. Somewhere on the back burner is a project which seems to get more vast every time I look at it, which is what happens when you have overblown ambitions to write a fantasy novel with six different viewpoint characters, spanning several continents, and dealing with nice simple little subjects like Story and Myth. And stuff. I may finish it before the inevitable reign of Our Squid Overlords, or possibly not.




  1. I just finished Babylon Steel, and had to get in touch to say I was UTTERLY gob-smacked, deeply enchanted and more than a little wowed by your fabulous novel.

    I’m so glad there is another story brewing, as I think I’m ever so slightly hooked on Ms Steel & co.

    • Thank you so much! I hope I can continue to keep you hooked. Oh, dear, that makes me sound like a pusher…

  2. I just finished Babylon Steel. The characters and plot are fresh, entertaining, and believable. I had completed just a few chapters in the book and already hoping for another book or books.!! Look forward to the sequel in 2013. Thanks for such a good book.

    • Thank you! I hope you enjoy the sequel, it should be out early next year. And apologies that I’ve taken so long to reply. Life, and stuff…

  3. Hey Candace – I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I have written other novels but they’re still seeking a publisher at the moment. I’ve got some other projects on the back burner too. Just not enough hours in the day right now…

  4. I must admit, I was very skeptical of Babylon Steel when I first got a hold of it. But then again, I’m not much of a fantasy reader, I’m more of a space opera person. Now, however, I absolutely cannot wait until the sequel comes out. I also sincerely hope that your other stories get published soon. Thank you for a fantastically new and imaginative world!

    • I’m glad you overcame your skepticism! I do hope you enjoy the sequel. Should be out early next year, and I’ve started outlining the next one. (The…threequel? There really should be a better word for that, and probably is, but it’s early…)

  5. Just finished “Babylon Steel.” I’m into hard SF & almost never enjoy fantasy, eg, orcs ;), but the cover looked interesting so I took the risk. You wrote a wonderful story! The characters are well-developed and the plot engaging and exciting. You’ve got a great series-in-the-making. Can’t wait for the sequel. All the best!

    • Ah, well, I don’t have any actual orcs. As such. Not in this series, anyway! I’m very glad you took the risk and enjoyed it.

  6. Just finished Babylon Steel and I have to tell you I found it unputdownable!
    The characters are great with strong relationships and the plot was awesome. I can’t wait for the sequel!

    • Hi Kay
      I’m working on a couple of other projects at the moment, but I’m hoping to do more with Babylon, yes! I’m really pleased you liked them.

  7. My friend gave me “Babylon Steel” for Christmas on the recommendation of a local scifi book store here in Vancouver, BC. And have to say I LOVED IT! Just finished it today, and promptly googled you :-)

    So happy to find there is another one, which I am going to go out and buy ASAP.

    Your story was so original and engaging – it was a real treat to read. Also really enjoyed the build up to the end! Looking forward to reading more, and you can be sure I’ll be passing your books along to my friends!

    • Hi Janeway! (good name btw :) )
      I’m delighted you enjoyed it – and yes, please, pass them on to your friends! I’m a great believer in borrowing/lending books, it’s how I’ve discovered some of my favourite authors.
      Would you mind telling me the name of that bookstore? I’d like to thank them personally.


  8. Hi Gaie, just wanted to say I really really enjoyed both of the Babylon Steel books (kindle); I only tried the first book on a whim after seeing an advert in the back of a 2000AD comic. Loved the characters and the setting, and found it very difficult to put down!
    Are there plans for another book in the not-too-distant future?

  9. Your book “Babylon Steel” came up as a recommendation in one of Kobo’s numerous ‘We think you would also like – ‘ emails. Since I needed a good pile of books to see me through a holiday I took a chance and bought it.

    As a lover of the English language, I was disappointed by “The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley. It tells an excellent tale of an English secret organisation engaged in a constant battle with random paranormal events (think Torchwood), but when an obviously English character uses the word ‘gotten’ or ‘ass’ it grates on my nerves.

    How refreshing to read not only a cracking story, but to come across beautiful phrases such as “half-arsed attempt at an apology”. You have restored my faith in the ability of authors to write real English.

    I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the series and no, I’m not going to wait for the next holiday, I must get it soon.

    • Hi Terry
      Thank you! It’s a delight to hear that. I have had one review which said I should stop using ‘odd English phrases that are confusing to American readers’ or something of that nature. Erm…really? Well, actually…no.
      I hope you enjoy the sequel, Dangerous Gifts.
      All the best

      • I find it interesting that you have had such a curious review, was this a professional review? I do find myself wondering how the process works from a publishing point of view, who determines which spell checker gets used for the published book and how much influence does the author have on the format of the published book?

        I imagine it would be feasible to create separate versions for either side of the pond, but I get the impression that publishers don’t generally do that. Modern e-books could easily be produced in either format as there are no prohibitive print run quantities to worry about.


        • Hi Terry
          There are different editions for UK and US markets for some books, I believe. However as you say I don’t think it’s generally done. I don’t know the status with e-books; there are other complications, I believe, even without the print-run costs.
          As to the review, I honestly can’t remember where it came from! It was a nice review, actually. And pretty much any review is better than none – I’m always grateful for the publicity and it does mean someone actually read the book, which is always a plus.

  10. Are there any published or soon-to-be-published short stories/novellas that are set in the Babylon Steel universe? If so, what are their titles and where they can be found?

    • Hi Simon
      I’m really sorry about the delay in replying – I only just found your comment (I need to check my filters more often!) There are no published short stories or novellas at the moment but you can find extracts from the Babylon universe on the Scalentine blog here: – hope you enjoy them.

  11. Hi Gaie,
    I really love your Babylon Steel books. I am in the middle of reading Dangerous Gifts for the 2nd time. I love the characters you create and the situations Babylon ends up in the middle of, even though she really doesn’t mean to. Both books are a fun read with a lot of exciting action. It’s fun to travel with her through the various planes. I hope she is going to have more adventures in the future.

    Thanks, Charlie

    • Dear Charlie
      Thank you so much! And again sorry for the delay in replying – I think I need a better notifications system…
      I have another book coming out soon, Shanghai Sparrow, which is not set in the Babylon Steel universe, but I am hoping there will be more of Babylon soon. If you enjoy the books you may like the Scalentine blog at which has some extracts from events in that world.

  12. Hi Gaie,

    Just finished Dangerous Gifts and Babylon Steel, and what a delight they were. Original, numerous, engaging and witty.

    I’ve read a lot of fantasy fiction and was starting to despair of finding something fresh and exciting. So glad I found your books.

    Hoping there will be a third installment in the Babylon saga soon !



    • Hi Dean – thank you so much! I do have hopes for a third Babylon book – in the meantime, please check out the Scalentine website for short fiction and bits and pieces from Babylon’s world ( I also have a new book out – Shanghai Sparrow, the first in a steampunk adventure series – you can read the first chapters here: if you haven’t already.
      All the best

    • Hi Charlie – thank you so much! I’m sorry it’s taken me ages to reply – I have some catching up to do, obviously – but yes, there is a sequel, Sparrow Falling, due out next year.

  13. Hello Gaie (Nice name).

    I picked up Babylon Steel on a whim in a shop in Dublin, simply because I liked the flashy cover. Fantasy has been my favorite genre since I could read, and I have read many authors like David Eddings, George RR Martin and JRR Tolkien. I would like to tell you that in my mind, your books have blown all of these lads away and left Babylon Steel as ‘THE’ fantasy series for me.

    Also, can’t wait for more Flower (I’m a chef but sometimes I wish I was a giant green troll as well.)

    • Hi Eric! That’s lovely, I’m hugely flattered. Sorry for the delay (I really need to stop having to say that – the notifications don’t seem to be working so well, so I didn’t find your comment until now) anyway I’m delighted you enjoyed it. I’m very fond of Flower too, he’s one of my favourites. All the best, Gaie

  14. I just finished Babylon Steel and loved it. I immediately went and bought Dangerous Gifts. I am sure I will finish it tomorrow. Love the rich mixture of characters, especially Ms Steel. I have raised two strong young ladies and I got them both interested in reading by focusing on anything with a strong female lead. Years ago they both finished college and have gone on to a well balanced life of family and work. Even though we live thousands of miles apart we still trade books. Keep up the great work!

    • Hi Joe
      Thank you! I am so pleased you liked the book, hope you enjoy the sequel too. Sounds like you raised your daughters well – that’s what I like to hear! I’m working on a steampunk series at the moment – the first, Shanghai Sparrow, came out last year – but I hope to do more Babylon Steel soon. All the best, Gaie

  15. Indeed the sequel (Dangerous Gifts) was all that I expected. I am awaiting delivery of Shanghai Sparrow. I live in America and often wonder how we ever got along without Thank you and keep up the GREAT writing.

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