The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft
Review by: Dani Long
I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The third book in The Books of Babel series is an amazing installment in an already superb series.
Unlike past books in the series, The Hod King is broken up into three parts. The first is an account of Thomas Senlin directly after the events of The Arm of the Sphinx. He is sent to Pelphia undercover by the Sphinx to investigate the Colosseum. Naturally, finding himself finally in such close proximity to his lost wife, Marya, Senlin cannot help but disregard the Sphinx’s orders and seeks a way to meet with her.
The other two parts of the story are told simultaneously and a little after the events of Thomas’s POV and focus on the perspectives of Voleta and Edith.
This is the first time in this series that any character other than Senlin has had a major POV and I gotta admit when I realized that was what was happening I was not sure it would be the same not having Tom at the forefront of the story.
But my fears proved absolutely groundless as I was soon just as absorbed by Voleta and then Edith as I was with Senlin’s part. Bancroft’s remarkable prose and character-building had me immersed in every page regardless of which character’s eyes I was looking through.
Looking at this series as a whole so far (there is one more book to come!), I am astounded at how far everything has come for these characters. A village schoolteacher steps off a train and a year later is neck deep in an adventure that neither he nor the reader saw coming.
I think that is part of what grabs me so much in this series. Thomas Senlin isn’t where he is now because of a prophecy or because he is some amazing warrior. I bet pre-Senlin Ascends Thomas would not have even described himself as brave. He was a village schoolteacher that lost his wife in a crowd. This schoolteacher has found the determination and the wit to go after his one simple goal. This series is very much the story of what a person can be capable of without even realizing it and I find that very inspiring.
Finally, I cannot wait to see the end of this series. I can’t possibly see where Bancroft will take us on the finale to this adventure. Both Tomas and Marya have been through so much that they can’t possibly fit back into their lives in the seaside village of Isaugh. But there is also no way that Thomas’s adventures will not leave a permanent mark on the Tower of Babel.