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The Hod King

(The Books of Babel #3)

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  6,608 ratings  ·  764 reviews
Fearing an uprising, the Sphinx sends Senlin to investigate a plot that has taken hold in the ringdom of Pelphia. Alone in the city, Senlin infiltrates a bloody arena where hods battle for the public's entertainment. But his investigation is quickly derailed by a gruesome crime and an unexpected reunion.

Posing as a noble lady and her handmaid, Voleta and Iren attempt to re
608 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Orbit
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Tiki Looks like Amazon has it for preorder...Kindle release Dec.4, 2018. Can't wait- Great Series!!!…moreLooks like Amazon has it for preorder...Kindle release Dec.4, 2018. Can't wait- Great Series!!!(less)
Jens Raab The pub date had apparently planned to be in December for a while (it was mentioned like that on Bancroft's website when I looked there in the beginni…moreThe pub date had apparently planned to be in December for a while (it was mentioned like that on Bancroft's website when I looked there in the beginning of October) but has now been pushed back to 22 January.(less)

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Average rating 4.51  · 
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Mark Lawrence
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As an author I know there’s an inevitable degree of fear when you cast your book out on the waters of the reading public and offer them the chance to tell you that your baby is ugly, or worse … average.

I’m less familiar with the other side of the equation, the fear that a long awaited and much anticipated book will not capture the magic held by earlier books from the same author. In a series this can be a particularly sharp anxiety as the author holds in their hands the legacy of beloved charact
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing

ARC provided by Orbit in exchange for an honest review.

1.) Senlin Ascends ★★★★★
2.) Arm of the Sphinx ★★★★

“The world is full of wolves and lambs, but precious few shepherds.”

I can’t believe that Josiah Bancroft did it again, but he truly did it again. This is such a wonderful installment in a world that I never want to leave. This entire series is such a unique treat that is truly unlike any other fantasy out there. Every paragraph is so smart, every chapter so perfectly crafted, and
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Milestone achieved: I have written over 300 reviews!

The Hod King is Bancroft’s best work so far; a novel that's stunning in originality enhanced with suspenseful and exciting moments.

Before I start my review, I would like to mention that, if you need a detailed summary of the series so far as I did, check out for their great plot overviews—tons of spoilers, of course—of both Senlin Ascends and Arm of the Sphinx. I finished reading Arm of the Sphinx in July 2017 and sinc
James Tivendale
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I received an advanced review copy of The Hod King in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Josiah Bancroft and Orbit Books for the opportunity.

When I concluded my review of Arm of the Sphinx I stated that I would be counting down the days until I could rejoin Senlin and his companions adventures in The Hod King. As soon as I received this novel all other books failed to exist to me until this was completed.

The narrative is mainly set within the Ringdom of Pelphia where our col
Charlotte May
“Come the Hod King.”

Loving this series!

This third instalment in the Senlin Ascends series is split into 3 sections following different characters over the same timeline.

Senlin and his crew, along with the help of the Sphinx have landed in Pelphia, and Senlin is determined to find his estranged wife Marya. But does she want to be found?

Meanwhile Iren and Voleta have also been given a task, should Senlin’s not work. How far will Voleta go for a bit of danger and excitement?

Finally we have Edi
Spencer Orey
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. This lived up to my expectations, which were sky high after the first two books, mostly because the writing is superb.

There are some of middle book in the series issues that larger series like Game of Thrones and Wheel of Time face, where by scattering our focus across multiple points of view, not as much ends up happening overall story-wise. This book felt like it started three separate times. I liked all three starts, and I liked what the author did with them and how the threads wove
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
These books have become a delightful diversion for me. Most importantly, they're FUN.

Most of my interest stemmed first from the whole Victorian Tower of Babel vibe with steampunk cyborgs, ancient genetic tampering, airships, and Senlin's total fish-out-of-water story. In the second, we enjoy the fruits of this schoolmaster after he has become a notorious pirate captain and we learn a lot about the history of the Tower. The Sphinx is something else.

But it's the third book that really pushed the c
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my most anticipated reads of the year, I’ve been blown away by the skill of this author in his previous books and could not wait to get my hands on this. THANK YOU SO MUCH ORBIT!!!

This is going to be a tough review for me because I’m going to try and keep this as spoiler free as possible – but how to do that with a third book in the series? I’ll give it a go.

Senlin is now a wanted man, his “likeness” is posted throughout the Tower portraying him as the feared pirate Thomas Mudd. L
Dyrk Ashton
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was incredibly lucky enough to receive an ARC - thank you Orbit and Josiah Bancroft!

Once again, Josiah Bancroft amazes. With each of the first two novels in The Books of Babel series, I've thought I had gathered at least some idea of the kind of project Bancroft was trying to accomplish and a decent inkling of how it might proceed. And with each book I've been proven wrong--in the best possible way. The writing is superb, the style and narrative are truly daring, and the world is one of the mo
Hiu Gregg
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-releases, arcs
If I’m honest, I’m not sure what follows can be thought of as a review. Some books and some series are just too dear to my heart for me to look at with a critical eye, and Josiah Bancroft’s Books of Babel definitely fall into that category. I want to just vomit my feelings on the book onto this page, but The Hod King gave me so many feelings that I’m going to have to contain myself somewhat, somehow.

The Hod King confirms what many of us already suspected and what more of us already knew: Josiah
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Thanks to the publisher and author for an advanced reading copy of The Hod King in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC in no way influenced my thoughts or opinions, though the incentive of having my bathtub scrubbed clean by Josiah was pretty hard to pass up.

Have you ever been reading a novel, or a series, that you wished would never end? You become so completely engrossed with the world and its peculiarities, its characters and their machinations, the… Beer-Me-Go-Rounds? Well, The
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Have you heard of the podcast Crit Faced? It’s the one where five fantasy authors record themselves playing Dungeons and Dragons each week. Josiah Bancroft is one of them. His character, Jean Mallerme, is a bard – one of the more challenging occupations to role play, but one of great versatility. Through Bancroft’s full commitment to the role, Mallarme morphs into an actor, a troubadour, a thief, a comic relief, a cad, and a master of disguise. He speaks in Mallarme’s voice and embodies Mallarme ...more
David Katzman
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I continue to be very impressed by The Books of Babel series. If you expected it to conclude with book three, The Hod King, allow me dissuade you from that right now. We end here on a soft cliff-hanger, so my only negative about this book is THE LONG WAIT THAT WILL NOW OCCUR UNTIL THE NEXT BOOK IS RELEASED damn you Josiah Bancroft.

Find my review of Books 1 and 2 here: It's a fantastic story that is both quintessentially steampunk and a subversion of the g
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
The Hod King is another spectacular instalment of The Books of Babel. Fans of the series can rest easy that the break between volumes two and three has not disrupted the style or inherent beauty of the writing and that once again Josiah has produced something that belongs in the very top echelons of the fantasy genre.

We all know that Headmaster Thomas Senlin lost his wife Marya in the first three pages of Senlin Ascends and ever since then it has been a veritable rollarcoaster ride for him and
Megan ❀
Is it too early to say this is my favorite book of the year? If the mood of the first two books was "oh man I can't put this down, I have to find out what happens next," The Hod King is hands-down "EVERYTHING BAD THAT COULD HAPPEN IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW."

Basically, I was white-knuckled on the book the entire time I was reading it.

Josiah Bancroft never ceases to amaze me with his originality. I swear, this man is a bottomless well of creativity. His world-building never stagnates. He never settle
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 or 5 stars? Some part of me thinks if I ask that question then it's not a 5.
Can it maybe be a 4 stars book but with the heart of 5.
Also, I think I'm mostly upset bc I have to wait for a 4th book that has no release date yet :(
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hod King is the long-awaited part three of the Books of Babel, an extraordinarily well-crafted fantasy series. Bancroft plunges the reader right into the deep end of the story without so much as a an effort at providing a synopsis of the two earlier books which offer so much of the background and history not just of the Tower, but of the characters and what they’ve gone through to become what they are. It is therefore highly recommended that the reader peruse those first two volumes before d ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Other reviews started coming in while I was reading this; my editorial team did me a solid getting the ARC but I’m a slow reader. Those reviews, including a very good one by Mark Lawrence, call this the best in the series and the one that more fully cements Senlin’s trip up the Tower of Babel as a timeless modern classic.

Who am I to disagree? I am so awestruck by how compelling and relatable and yet fantastical and mysterious this adventure continues to be.

All In. 5 Stars.
Holly (The GrimDragon)
“Only people who go to bed early believe in happy endings. We night owls understand that happiness does not dwell in finales. It resides in anticipation, in revelry, and in worn-out welcomes. Endings are always sad.”

I've tried to write this review multiple times since finishing earlier this month, yet nothing I put on the screen ever feels adequate.

This is where I tell you that as the third installment in The Books of Babel series, it's inevitable that there will be slight spoilers ahead if you
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk
Such cruelty and disregard toward his readers and characters‘ feelings… Wow. I haven’t suspected Bancroft had it in him. 
I was wrong.
The Hod King opens with the crew preparing to infiltrate Pelphia. Each of them gets a mission from Sphinx. None of them follows instructions. As a result, things go off the rails fast and with shocking and dark outcome. In theory, the plan should have worked - Iren and Voleta would infiltrate Pelphian society and contact Maria, while Tom, posing as a repulsive ac
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
* I was sent this one by the publisher to review honestly *

This is the third book in the series so I cannot go into too much detail about what is happening in the plot, but as usual Josiah Bancroft has managed to create a story which baffles and delights in equal measure. I love the bizarre nature of this world, a world with a tower where every level is unique and the people are so over the top it's fascinating. There are Hods who live in dark passageways, serving the rest of the Tower, a Sphin
Jon Adams
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, at this point, I'd be floored if one of Bancroft's books weren't 5+ stars.
Every. Single. Emotion.
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
"The Tower is a pestle grinding upon the mortar of earth. It pulverizes bones, fortunes, kings, love, youth, and beauty. That is its purpose - to crush."

I fell back into this story so easily. Josiah's writing is so different (in an amazing way!) I thought for sure I was going to have a hard time remembering details because this story is full of so many intricate plot points and characters but man, I was in it on page one! The author weaves past occurrences throughout the story seamlessly which h
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to need to stare into space for a while now. Damn, Josiah. ...more
Michael Evan
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*minor spoilers may follow*

I remember the initial hype surrounding the self published version of Josiah Bancroft’s Senlin Ascends. A Fantasy set in the Tower of Babel with comparisons to Lewis Carroll and Douglas Adams instantly sparked my interest, and as I expected, I not only loved the novel, but as a husband that constantly worries about his wife’s safety I found it triggering and often horrific. The situation Tom Senlin experiences in this gargantuan world of pre-cell phone Babel, felt more
Travis Riddle
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not a stretch to say this is one of my favorite fantasy series now, and I'm stoked to see how Bancroft ties all of these threads together in the finale.

What I loved about Arm of the Sphinx was how much the scope was widened, showing us so many different facets of the Tower and revealing to us just how weird and intricate everything is. While The Hod King doesn't have quite that same expansion, what it does beautifully is take what we've learned about and, while it does add some more to tha
It is a rare thing, a fantasy series that keeps on getting better and better with every book. I am so impressed with the Books of Babel, which has everything I could possibly want in a story: rich and complex world building, a cast of characters that is both diverse and layered, and who evolve in the most interesting way, and plot developments that keep surprising me in the best possible way.

After Thomas Senlin and his crew made port with the Sphinx (, th
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-own
Another fantastic book in this amazing series. I still feel like Alice when reading the Books of Babel.
And now the wait for the final installment begins...
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Let’s be honest with one another. If your reading this then chances are pretty good that you’ve already enjoyed Senlin Ascends and Arm of the Sphinx. You’re familiar with Thomas Senlin and his delicate predicament. You’ll remember that since arriving at the awe-inspiring Tower of Babel, he and his wife Marya have been separated from one another. Against his better judgement (Senlin is an imminently sensible sort), he has decided to brave the chaos that lies within the vast building and uncover h ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wheelathon-iii
Read this review and more at Book Geeks Uncompromised!

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 h
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Hod King [Nov 5, 2019] 8 19 Nov 13, 2019 10:45AM  

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Before settling down to write fantasy novels, Josiah Bancroft was a poet, college instructor, and aspiring comic book artist. When he is not writing, he enjoys recording the Crit Faced podcast with his authorial friends, drawing the world of the Tower, and cooking dinner without a recipe. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Sharon, their daughter Maddie, and their two rabbits, Mabel and Chapli ...more

Other books in the series

The Books of Babel (4 books)
  • Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)
  • Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel, #2)
  • The Fall of Babel (The Books of Babel, #4)

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