Join a book club that is reading Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution!

Velaris BookClub

Welcome to the Velaris Book Club, where the realms of fantasy and the allure of romance intertwine to create an enchanting literary experience like no other. If you've ever found yourself lost in the pages of magical worlds, captivated by epic love stories, and yearning for more, then you've come to the right place!

We are a new book Club in Glasgow and are looking for members to meet monthly in person at a cozy pub or cafe to discuss our fantasy Romance book of the month!

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


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?

Show more


560 pages

Average rating: 7.8




Community Reviews

Jun 26, 2024
8/10 stars
If you are someone who enjoys realistic characters, many of whom exhibit clear biases or racism, set in a somewhat magical setting you will enjoy this. Letty, in specific, is a great showcase of the privilege young white women experience. Her great frustration with her friends is that they can't be happy in a system that keeps her comfortable. The flaw with this book is that the ending implies there will be a sequel but the author has expressed no interest in continuing the story or going anywhere within the world. So that is disappointing but understandable.
Show more
Jun 08, 2024
8/10 stars
Really cool story. The ending pissed me off.
Show more
May 30, 2024
10/10 stars
Wow. I never imagined myself learning from and being so incredibly entertained by a book at the same time. I can’t believe R.F. Kuang is 26 years old, has a Bachelors from Georgetown, Masters from Cambridge, Masters from Oxford, and currently working on PhD from Yale. I’m in awe of her. The amount of effort and detail that went into this book is incredible. I will leave you with a quote from Babel: “Language was just indifference. A thousand different ways of seeing, of moving through the world. No; a thousand worlds within one. And translation - a necessary endeavor, however futile, to move between them.”
Show more
Apr 11, 2024
9/10 stars
The story telling and details blew me away. Loved the writer's style.
Show more
Mar 13, 2024
10/10 stars
The book was a journey. The characters were fully flushed out. It was difficult not to see the parallel struggles that we see in America today and yet it didn't pull me from the story. This one will sit with me for a while. I liked the magic system was based on language.
Show more

See why thousands of readers are using Bookclubs to stay connected.