Master spy, former con-artist, Eveline Duchen returns in adventure set in a world of steam and magic.
Eveline Sparrow (formerly Duchen) hopes to put her past experiences as a thief and con-artist to more legitimate use; which is why some of the girls at her Sparrow School receive private lessons in burglary, fakery, and other such underhand practices.
But it’s hard to get honest work when few businesses will employ young ladies in the security professions. The duns are at the doorstep, her friend Liu the half-fox-spirit is in some sort of trouble, and the rivalries of the Folk are in danger of overspilling into the mundane world and forcing the Empire into a bloody and horrifying war. Can Eveline pull things out of the mire this time, or will the Sparrow’s wings be clipped once and for all?
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 Where the Folk, the otherworldly children of fairy tales and legends, have all but withdrawn from the smoke of the furnaces and the clamour of iron.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, (Rojan Dizon novels)
Published by Solaris April 2014
(Gears of Empire, Volume 2, Sparrow Falling, due Spring, 2015)
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The Babylon Steel series
“…there is not a moment in this novel where you will feel bored. The pace is just blistering.” Marc Aplin, Fantasy Faction.
Babylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex…other things, runs the best brothel in Scalentine; city of many portals.
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. More than just a few night’s takings are at risk when Babylon’s hidden past reaches out to grab her by the throat.
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Babylon Steel, former avatar of the goddess of sex and war, owner of the Scarlet Lantern brothel, has been offered a job as bodyguard to Enthemmerlee, candidate for the Council of Incandress; and as spy for the barelyacknowledged government of Scalentine.
Incandress is on the verge of civil war. Keeping both herself and her client alive is a hard job that only gets harder. And that’s before she is driven to a choice that has terrible and far-reaching consequences…
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“…a hugely entertaining novel, full of humour and excitement but also with real depth.” Simon Bestwick, (author of Tide of Souls and The Faceless)
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…
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…
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…
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!
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.
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!
Thanks, I’m really glad you enjoyed it. I hope you like the sequel too.
Thank you, Lucy! That’s great – I do hope you enjoy the sequel, which is due out in February.
Just started Dangerous Gifts today!! So far, so good!!!
just finished dangerous gifts and i loved it as much as i loved the first book. i like to know if more babylon steel books coming?
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.
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.
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?
I am hoping to do more with Babylon in the future, but no dates as yet. However if you like her world and characters you might enjoy the Scalentine blog here; http://scalentine.gaiesebold.com/
All the best
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.
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.
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.
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?
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: http://scalentine.gaiesebold.com/ – hope you enjoy them.
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.
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 http://scalentine.gaiesebold.com/ which has some extracts from events in that world.
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 (http://scalentine.gaiesebold.com/). I also have a new book out – Shanghai Sparrow, the first in a steampunk adventure series – you can read the first chapters here: https://gaiesebold.com/?page_id=307 if you haven’t already.
All the best
I really loved your new book Shanghai Sparrow. I hope there is a sequel.
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.
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
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!
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
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 Amazon.com. Thank you and keep up the GREAT writing.
Thanks Joe – I hope you like Shanghai Sparrow, and I will do my best with the writing 😉
What can I say? Just finished Babylon Steel, and it is absolutely brilliant. Looking forward greatly to reading some more of your work. This fantasy writing is of such high quality it comes across as much more real and meaningful than a lot of so-called literary fiction. Great storytelling and magical ideas. More power to your pen Gaie 🙂
Hi Jamie – that’s wonderful, thank you! As well as the books on this page, I’ve also got a few short stories knocking about in various anthologies – here, in case you feel like having a go at any of those. (The story in ‘Wicked Women’ is a Babylon Steel story – and there are a lot of other great stories in there so it would be well worth your while). And thanks again for your feedback, it really does make my day!
Just finished Dangerous Gifts. I found that I was enjoying this so much that I had to read it really slowly – because I didn’t want it to end and have to move on to read something else less than perfectly, sparklingly brilliant by some merely human author. Thank the gods of good writing that I still have Shanghai Sparrow and the short stories to go.
By the way, I’m quite fond of semicolons too 😉
Jamie, thank you so much. It’s lovely to get such great feedback, and I really hope you enjoy Shanghai Sparrow – it’s a bit different but I had fun with it, so I hope you will too.
I saw you in panel in Archipelacon and it sparked interest to read Babylon Steel. There wasn’t any copies left there sadly, but a wonderful friend brought a copy from the Nine Worlds later, and now I finally had time to read it.
What a fun book it was! The city of Scalentine was busy, chaotic, colorful, full of wonders and horrors. I loved how varied the inhabitants were, some familiar strange (weres, Fey), some not-so-familiar-but-plenty-strange (the Fade and Mokraine), some strange and adorable (Kittack, Frithlit) and some sort of humans thrown in as well. (I noticed there’s a section for Scalentine adds on this site, will check that out properly next). Babylon herself is a fine heroine and the reveal of her backstory was wonderfully done, it didn’t rely on surprise-twists, but raising the emotional stakes. And, of course, her unashamed, unapologetic delight in sex is something too rarely seen.
I look forward getting my hands on Dangerous Gifts, though I hope there is good chunk of Scalentine and the residents of the Lantern in it too, not just the Incandress. I also hope there is plans for more!
Hi Arren! As always I am terribly late replying to you, but thank you so much for your comments, and I really hope you enjoy Dangerous Gifts. I definitely plan more in the series but I have some other projects to finish first. In the meantime you can always check out some of my other work if you like: here and of course you can find more of Babylon’s world here. There’s also a story featuring Babylon in the Wicked Women anthology. So I hope that will keep you going for a while!
Just finished re-reading the Babylon Steel books. Was really hoping that you’d written another. Anything in the pipeline?
Hi Colleen – very pleased you are hoping for another Babylon Steel book. I am working on one along with other projects – actual publication is a bit more complicated, but I will be letting people know as soon as I have any news. In the meantime there is a Babylon Steel story in the Wicked Women anthology published by Fox Spirit, along with a bunch of other great stories, if you fancy a little more Babylon!
A house with a library is a home with a soul
Fill mine with Babylon Steel Novels I say!!
Fill every shelf!
This may be the nicest review I’ve ever had! Thank you! But I don’t think I’m quite that prolific. However I hope to have news on more in the Babylon series within the next year.
Hey, I loved Shanghai sparrow and it’s squel. I was wondering if there will be a book 3 in the series.
Thank you for your time.
Hi Karina – I’m really pleased you liked the books! I can’t confirm at the moment whether there will be more in the series, but I am working on a number of other projects which I hope you’ll enjoy. There’s also the Babylon Steel series, or some short fiction, if you fancy giving that a go. All the best.
Just wondering how goes Babylon Steel lately. I’m halfway through the first book and already know i need all the books in my life. Any news to share?
Dear Ashley – thank you so much! I am working on another project right now and do not currently have any new Babylon news, but I do hope to have some soon.
I very much enjoyed the first two Babylon Steel books — note, I do expect/anticipate a third. Now, I have to try the Sparrow series.
Thank you for the reading!