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Babylon Steel [Kindle Edition]

Gaie Sebold
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Babylon Steel, ex-sword-for-hire, ex...other things, runs The Red Lantern, the best brothel in the city. She’s got elves using sex magic upstairs, S&M in the basement and a large green troll cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and she’d love you to visit, except...
She’s not having a good week. The Vessels of Purity are protesting against brothels, girls are disappearing, and if she can’t pay her taxes, Babylon’s going to lose the Lantern. She’d given up the mercenary life, but when the mysterious Darask Fain pays her to find a missing heiress, she has to take the job. And then her past starts to catch up with her in other, more dangerous ways. Witty and fresh, Sebold delivers the most exciting fantasy debut in years.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gaie Sebold 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. Born in the US, she has lived in the UK most of her life, currently in an ‘up and coming’ area of London which doesn’t appear to have got very high yet.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1074 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris; 1 edition (December 23, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006PKV4Q8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,725 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new kind of heroine, and a brilliant fantasy novel February 4, 2012
By Stefan
Format:Mass Market 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Is Much Better Than Its Cover And Title March 19, 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. It was much better developed both in plot, universe-building and characterization than I would have been led to believe by the Xena-type cover and title. I love when you go into a book expecting it to be readable and then find that you become so invested in what's happening that don't want to put it down.

It's not a simple sword-and-bodice story about a brothel-keeper with a heart-of-gold. There are a couple of levels to this story. In addition to the present-day situation of ex-warrior Babylon Steel and the problems in her life in Scalentine, there is a slowly revealed story of an abandoned child named Ebi who exists on one of the other planes of existence in this story's universe, a subplot that slowly ties into what is happening in present-day Scalentine.

For urban fantasy fans, there are were-creatures, the Fae, aliens of every description, a mysterious diplomatic corps, and a very creepy religious order. But they all were treated rather matter-of-factly, as part and parcel of Scalentine's everyday world, with no one group superior to the other. I liked that. The book was also well-paced with enough going on in the twin storylines to keep things interesting and moving along.

I'll be keeping an eye out for Gaie Sebold's next book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting start, appealing heroine, a bit uneven June 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The woman who now calls herself Babylon Steel was born "Ebi" and orphaned on a harsh "plane" many dimensional portal jumps away from where she has made her home. Chosen to be a priestess (or so she was told..) of the local goddess of Love & War, Ebi is trained in both arts, and if she enjoys the former much more, she's very good at the later as well.

When her life goes horribly wrong, she escapes and makes her way to the small (and possibly magically created) plane of Scalentine where people of all sorts, human and otherwise make their homes and live off the portal trade under the shadowy protection of the "Diplomatic Section" and the more day to day reality of the local militia. Babylon finds the place congenial and generally friendly to the "Love" side of her skillset and eventually works her way up to owning her own, completely legal, brothel, The Red Lantern, where if they can figure out how to have sex with you, and you aren't a complete jerk, you can find a safe good time.

There are only a couple of flies in the ointment of Bablylon's contented life. The local cult "Vessels of Purity" have started a campaign against whoring, and have made the Red Lantern one of their targets. Since the place is completely legal, they can only picket and make life difficult, but it's enough to affect business. Then there's a missing girl the Diplomatic Section wants Babylon to find, the coming crazyiness of a two moon syzygy, and, oh, distinct signs that Babylon's past may be about to catch up with her...

I should say up-front that Babylon is a whore, and a proud one. The book doesn't shy away from that at all, but at the same time, it is not erotica. If you are looking for the tale of a chaste blushing heroine, this is not it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do you like garret PI? June 26, 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
urban fantasy with a bit of gritty noir, reminded me a lot of the Garret PI novels. Likable characters, well plotted, fun world. Great first book, looking forward to seeing more from this author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh
It came highly recommended by people whose tastes are usually trustworthy. Because of that, I may give it another try. If I get further, I may even rescind this review. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Eleanor M. Coy
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting fantasy story
Read from January 30 to February 03, 2015

Babylon Steel is a unique fantasy book that offers a story filled with strange beings, alternate planes and an interesting main... Read more
Published 2 months ago by LadyCroft86
4.0 out of 5 stars Rolmantic Action Fantasy
nice adventure romp with a sexy foundation. Multiple universes, species, and mores from the viewpoint of a brothel owner who just happens to be a former avatar of a god.
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars They call you the golden avatar, but no one really knows you as you...
Everyone knows that Star Wars isn't really science fiction, it's just fantasy with space ships. Which doesn't make it any less amazing (when it's amazing), mind. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Karl Ruben Weseth
3.0 out of 5 stars Book is Okay
The book was okay. There were no great moments, just average. Probably will not read again, but you are welcome to it.
Published 22 months ago by Marvel
5.0 out of 5 stars Snappy action, sassy heroine
I like any book that has a strong, no-no sense heroine, and that is certainly who Babylon is. This is the story of her beginnings (how she became who she is) neatly tied up with... Read more
Published on April 27, 2013 by Rooney Kelley
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good solid entertaining read
Here is an example of a writer who took the time and effort to tell a good story. A good writer makes it work no matter what the setting or plot. Read more
Published on December 16, 2012 by Boomer49
5.0 out of 5 stars More fun than any erotic book should be!
Vibrantly written, earthy and haunting. This tale of an ex-soldier, now Madam speaks with a sweaty honesty. Read more
Published on October 23, 2012 by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut
This was a real pleasure and a great debut. Set in a world that has portals to other worlds and places we have a city with an eclectic mix of species and culture. Read more
Published on June 23, 2012 by Nick Brett
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and fun
Outside of the typical urban and epic fantasy, but with great humor and deep characters. I appreciated the "different" spin on the genre and applaud the authors inventiveness. Read more
Published on May 21, 2012 by Hoops21
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More About the Author

Gaie Sebold was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since she was very small. She is still quite small, but older.
Her first published novel, 'Babylon Steel', came out from Solaris in 2012. The second in the Babylon Steel series, 'Dangerous Gifts', came out in 2013. A steampunk novel, 'Shanghai Sparrow', is due in 2014.
She has a number of short stories in current anthologies including the David Gemmell memorial anthology 'Legends' and the 'World War Cthulhu Fiction Anthology'.
Gaie occasionally hits people with latex swords and has been known to read poetry, in public, for money. She has had a number of jobs, none of them as much fun as writing or running writing workshops. The most interesting thing she ever had to do for a day job was travel on the Underground while carrying a 6 foot carriage whip and an artificial severed finger.
She lives with writer David Gullen and has a paranoid cat, a shaggy garden, and rather a lot of hats.

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