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City of Stairs: A Novel
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Series:
Divine cities volume 1.
Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2014
Status:
Checked Out
Description
An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city—from one of America's most acclaimed young fantasy writers.

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country's most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place...
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/09/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780804137188
ASIN:
B00J1ISJFA
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Robert Jackson Bennett. (2014). City of Stairs: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Robert Jackson Bennett. 2014. City of Stairs: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Robert Jackson Bennett, City of Stairs: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Robert Jackson Bennett. City of Stairs: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:57:06
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: ROBERT JACKSON BENNETT is the author of American Elsewhere, The Troupe, The Company Man, and Mr. Shivers. His books have been awarded the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson, and the Philip K. Dick Citation of Excellence. He lives in Austin with his wife and son.
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title
City of Stairs
fullDescription
An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city—from one of America's most acclaimed young fantasy writers.

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country's most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place...
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Seattle Times
      • content: "Entertaining yet thought-provoking...Entrancing characters, exciting descriptions and piercingly clear action keep the story moving swiftly and surely to a satisfying conclusion."
      • premium: False
      • source: Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Way of Shadows
      • content: "Suddenly, the pages are whipping by, 50 at a clip as mysteries are uncovered, miracles happen and assassins begin scaling the walls. ... Bennett is plainly a writer in love with the world he has built -- and with good cause. It's a great world, original and unique, with a scent and a texture, a sense of deep, bloody history, and a naturally-blended magic living in the stones."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus
      • content: "Robert Jackson Bennett deserves a huge audience. This is the book that will earn it for him. A story that draws you in, brilliant world building, and oh my God, Sigrud. You guys are going to love Sigrud."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal (starred)
      • content: "Smart and sardonic, with wry echoes from classic tales mixed up in an inventive, winning narrative. [Bennett is] a master of the genre."
      • premium: False
      • source: Mur Lafferty, Campbell Award winning author of Playing for Keeps
      • content: "An excellent spy story wrapped in a vivid imaginary world."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 9, 2014
        Bennett (American Elsewhere) ventures into secondary-world fantasy in this action-packed, occasionally numinous, noir-like novel, which combines metaphysical and geopolitical observations. The city of Bulikov, once the sacred seat of a brutal, miracle-fueled empire, now stagnates under the administration of its former colony Saypur, which has become a technology-driven superpower. Exiled operative Ashara Komayd is the privileged great-granddaughter of the last Kaj of Saypur, the man who killed the Divinities, thereby both literally and politically destabilizing an entire continent. While investigating the politically inflammatory murder of a Saypuri professor who was studying Bulikov’s censored history, she finds disquieting evidence that some Divinities—and their legacy—may yet survive. Bennett largely sidesteps questions of colonialism and cultural appropriation in his tightly paced mystery, but supporting characters like Ashara’s indestructible aide, Sigrud, and conflicted ex-lover Vohannes Votrov flesh out the otherwise narrowly focused setting. The open ending promises a sequel. Agent: Cameron McClure, Donald Maass Literary Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 15, 2014
        Another dark fantasy by master of the genre Bennett (American Elsewhere, 2013, etc.), a literate swirl of religion, politics, finance and other sources of misery. "You know you are my foremost Continental operative." Thus a suit to our protagonist, a divinologist who just happens to know her way around a conspiracy theory. Is Bennett's latest merely an elaborate excuse to make a pun on Dashiell Hammett's The Continental Op? Probably not, but Shara Thivani, mutatis mutandis, wouldn't be entirely out of place in an old issue of Black Mask-if, that is, that century-old mystery mag had a soft spot for vaguely Central Asian locales in some not-quite-defined version of the future, along with a little genre-crossing into the horror realm. Shara, an agent of the island state of Saypur, is posted to the vast mainland city of Bulikov after having been abroad for 16 years. Continental Bulikov-a city of ups and downs indeed-once ruled Saypur, but the tables were turned thanks to a conspiracy that involves some considerable theological twists and turns; suffice it to say that Black Mask founder H.L. Mencken would have enjoyed the iconoclasm attendant in Bennett's account of that tumultuous history. Will the tables be turned once again? That's what Shara and her sidekick, the monkish but menacing Sigrud, "a hammer in a world of nails," are there to forestall. The story is winding, the cast of characters sizable but not so sprawling as in many a fantasy; it's all well and neatly told. Bennett's invented geography isn't quite as beguiling as, say, Borges' library, but he does a thoroughly credible job of worldbuilding; readers will find themselves huffing and puffing their ways across the city and its namesake stairs, which "do not end: they stretch on and on, soft and moist, formed of dark, black clay and loam" and lead to all kinds of odd places. Smart and sardonic, with wry echoes from classic tales (a little "Telltale Heart," anyone?) mixed up in an inventive, winning narrative.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        August 1, 2014
        Bennett's previous novels (including, most recently, American Elsewhere, 2013) have established him as one of the more interesting new voices in sf/fantasy/horror. His oeuvre contains very different books, and his new one again charts a new course. Imagine an amalgam of spy thriller, murder mystery, and high-concept fantasy: Bulikov was a powerful city, wielding the (literal) power of the gods to rule the world; but now the gods are dead, and Bulikov is a shadow of its former self. When a historian, sent into the city from the outside world, is killed, a brilliant spy's search for a murderer uncovers secrets so shocking that they could change the course of history. As an exercise in world building, the book is captivating, and as a spy thriller, it succeeds remarkably well, building suspense slowly and steadily until it's time for Bennett to unleash some of the surprises he's been keeping tucked away. Highly recommendable for fans of hyperrealistic, alternate-world sf/fantasy.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from August 1, 2014

        Posing as a cultural ambassador, intelligence officer Shara Komayd comes to the city of Bulikov to investigate the murder of prominent Saypuri academic Efrem Pangyui. Efrem was a controversial figure, as he was studying the history and artifacts of the Continent from before the Saypuri conquest--history that the Continentals are not themselves allowed to study or even mention. The gods of the Continent are all presumed dead but Shara senses through her investigation that some of them might not be as dead as everyone thinks. VERDICT The personalities of Shara and her hulking assistant Sigurd leap off the page, as do supporting characters such as Shara's former lover Vohannes Votrov and the gruff local Saypuri governor Mulaghesh. The world Bennett (The Troupe; American Elsewhere) has constructed is a complex political landscape of a subjugated people holding onto the memories of their glory days and protective gods and the conquerors reaping revenge for their own previous subjugation. An excellent spy story wrapped in a vivid imaginary world. [See Prepub Alert, 3/24/14.]

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2015

        In the city of Bulikov, the gods are dead and the conquered populace forbidden from talking or writing about their past. Saypuri master spy Shara Thivani comes to Bulikov to investigate the death of a historian and discovers the city's god might not be as dead as everyone thinks. Complex politics and characters--as well a great puzzler of a mystery--make this an amazing series opener. (LJ 8/14)

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        August 1, 2014

        Posing as a cultural ambassador, intelligence officer Shara Komayd comes to the city of Bulikov to investigate the murder of prominent Saypuri academic Efrem Pangyui. Efrem was a controversial figure, as he was studying the history and artifacts of the Continent from before the Saypuri conquest--history that the Continentals are not themselves allowed to study or even mention. The gods of the Continent are all presumed dead but Shara senses through her investigation that some of them might not be as dead as everyone thinks. VERDICT The personalities of Shara and her hulking assistant Sigurd leap off the page, as do supporting characters such as Shara's former lover Vohannes Votrov and the gruff local Saypuri governor Mulaghesh. The world Bennett (The Troupe; American Elsewhere) has constructed is a complex political landscape of a subjugated people holding onto the memories of their glory days and protective gods and the conquerors reaping revenge for their own previous subjugation. An excellent spy story wrapped in a vivid imaginary world. [See Prepub Alert, 3/24/14.]

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city--from one of America's most acclaimed young fantasy writers.

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions--until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself--first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it--stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country's most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not...

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