City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett - A Captivating Fantasy Mystery

"City of Stairs" is a fantasy novel written by Robert Jackson Bennett, published in 2014. It is the first book in "The Divine Cities" trilogy. The story is set in the city of Bulikov, once ruled by the gods who bestowed miraculous powers upon their followers. However, these gods were overthrown in a violent event known as the Blink, which also erased all traces of their miracles from existence, reshaping the city and its inhabitants' reality.

In a world where gods once walked among humans, Bulikov was the site of divine miracles and an empire ruled by these powerful deities. The gods were murdered, and their miracles were nullified in an event called the Blink, leading to a massive geopolitical upheaval. The city of Bulikov, once the center of divine power, has fallen from grace, now occupied by the Saypuri people who were once subjugated by the gods' rule.

Shara Thivani, an intelligence operative from the Saypuri government, arrives in Bulikov to investigate the murder of her mentor, Professor Pangyui, who had been researching the city's history and the events surrounding the Blink. Accompanied by her formidable bodyguard Sigrud, Shara delves into the intricate web of politics, history, and divine mysteries that shroud the city.

As Shara investigates, she discovers that the gods might not be as dead as history claims. The miracles may have vanished, but their influence on the city's culture, architecture, and society remains. Shara must navigate a complex landscape of political intrigue, cultural tensions, and secret histories as she uncovers the truth about the gods, the Blink, and the lingering power they hold over the city.

Throughout her investigation, Shara encounters a cast of compelling characters, including her enigmatic aunt, Turyin Mulaghesh, a former military officer with a troubled past. Together, they uncover shocking revelations about the gods' true nature, the motives behind their downfall, and the implications their resurgence could have on the world.

As the story unfolds, Shara and her allies find themselves entangled in a dangerous game of power and manipulation, facing threats from both the living and the divine. The boundaries between history, mythology, and reality blur as they race against time to prevent catastrophic consequences and to understand the mysterious City of Stairs.

"City of Stairs" combines elements of fantasy, mystery, and espionage in a unique and richly crafted world. It explores themes of cultural identity, the power of belief, and the consequences of historical events. With its complex characters and intricate plot, the novel has captivated readers with its exploration of a city shaped by the remnants of gods' influence and the secrets hidden within its streets. 

In conclusion, "City of Stairs" by Robert Jackson Bennett is a captivating fantasy novel that takes readers on a journey through a world where gods once held dominion and their fall from power reshaped a city's reality. The story follows Shara Thivani, an intelligence operative investigating the murder of her mentor in the city of Bulikov, where the gods were overthrown in an event known as the Blink.

As Shara uncovers the truth about the gods, the Blink, and the lingering influence of their miracles, she navigates a complex landscape of political intrigue, cultural tensions, and hidden histories. With the help of allies such as her enigmatic aunt Turyin Mulaghesh, she unravels shocking revelations that challenge the established narrative of the gods' demise.

The novel skillfully weaves together elements of fantasy, mystery, and espionage, creating a richly layered world that explores themes of belief, identity, and the consequences of historical events. The characters are multidimensional and compelling, each with their own motivations and secrets that add depth to the intricate plot.

"City of Stairs" leaves readers pondering the nature of power, the intricacies of memory, and the ways in which history can shape the present. Its thought-provoking exploration of a city both shaped and haunted by the divine creates a gripping narrative that keeps readers engaged from start to finish. As the first installment in "The Divine Cities" trilogy, the novel sets the stage for further exploration of this intriguing world and its mysteries. Overall, "City of Stairs" is a must-read for fantasy enthusiasts looking for a unique blend of genre elements and a compelling narrative.

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