Can’t Wait Wednesday : Babel by RF Kuang


“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is: Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by RF Kuang. Here’s the gorgeous cover and the description:


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 of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.

Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports 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? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?

Babel — a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal response to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of translation as a tool of empire.

Expected publication : August 2022


10 Responses to “Can’t Wait Wednesday : Babel by RF Kuang”

  1. Susy's Cozy World

    This sounds mighty intriguing!!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I love the sound of it and the cover is just superb.
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    The cover is just as intriguing as the synopsis! 🙂

  3. Tammy

    I love this cover so much. Great choice, Lynn. I’m very interested in this one😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, the cover is like a work of art isn’t it. And the story sounds absolutely fascinating.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Nadine - NadsBookNook

    Super excited for this one!

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Yes, I need this one!

  6. WordsAndPeace

    Because of the topic (translation), this is very appealing. However, I’m always weary to launch into a 500+ pages book when I have never read the author before. Have you ever read other books by her? What did you think?

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