Babel Babel


Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution

    • 4.2 • 475 Ratings
    • $1.99
    • $1.99

Publisher Description

Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller from the author of The Poppy War  

“Absolutely phenomenal. One of the most brilliant, razor-sharp books I've had the pleasure of reading that isn't just an alternative fantastical history, but an interrogative one; one that grabs colonial history and the Industrial Revolution, turns it over, and shakes it out.” -- Shannon Chakraborty, bestselling author of The City of Brass

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal retort to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell that grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of language and translation as the dominating tool of the British empire.

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel.

Babel is the world's center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide…

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? 

Sci-Fi & Fantasy
August 23
Harper Voyager

Customer Reviews

miosturizer ,

A wonderfully written look into the other

This book is a wonderful look experience of brilliant people who are not welcomed into the halls of power. The revolutionary message is poorly paced and the supposed grand coalition is poorly fleshed out. That is fine since the coalition and the revolution is not what this book is about. What we’re left with is a wonderful book about the experience of accomplished people who are disenfranchised by a racist system of extraction with with a quick mention of revolution at the end.

A Casual User ,

reality in the otherworldly fantasy

The ethereality of the characters brings surreal reading experience. The novel distills real world issues in a fantasy setting, perfected with archetypical characters. The author managed to mold the story around the characters with their own preposterous point of view, and created something otherworldly, yet perfectly reflecting all the problems and struggles in our real world.

Fhfhjgc ,

Absolutely Fantastic

I have been telling people about this book since before I even finished it. It is absolutely incredible, heart breaking, endearing, earth shattering. I cannot say enough about it. The author has captured the intended purpose so well, the ending brought me to tears and is a mirror of our world today. I cannot say enough about this piece. I read it online and I will be getting a hard copy so I may keep it forever. Thank you

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