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The Anubis Gates (Fantasy Masterworks, Volume 47) (original 1983; edition 2005)

by Tim Powers

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,848832,038 (3.98)1 / 262
Member:salimbol
Title:The Anubis Gates (Fantasy Masterworks, Volume 47)
Authors:Tim Powers
Info:GOLLANCZ (ORIO) (2005), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Once owned, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:novels, fantasy, Fantasy Masterworks, 20th century books, male authors, science fiction, time travel, dark fantasy, 2012 reading, historical fantasy, alternate history

Work details

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers (Author) (1983)

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In 1801 the British have risen to power in Egypt and suppress the worship of the old Egyptian gods. A cabal of magicians plan to drive the British out of Egypt by bringing the gods forward in time from an age when they were still powerful and unleashing them on London, thereby destroying the British Empire. In 1802, a failed attempt by the magicians to summon Anubis opens magical gates in a predictable pattern across time and space.

In 1983, ailing millionaire J. Cochran Darrow has discovered the gates and found that they make time travel possible. Darrow organizes a trip to the past for fellow millionaires to attend a lecture by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1810. He hires Professor Brendan Doyle to attend and give expert commentary. One of the magicians, Doctor Romany, happens to spy the time travelers and kidnaps Doyle before he can return. Doyle manages to escape torture and flees back to London, now trapped in the 19th century.

Doyle joins a beggars guild and meets a beggar named Jacky. He plans to meet and befriend William Ashbless, a wealthy poet that Doyle has studied profusely, in order to gain a benefactor. Doctor Romany scours the city for Doyle with his legion of murderous beggars, led by the clown-magician Horrabin. At the same time, Doyle discovers that Darrow has remained in the 19th century to search for Dog-Face Joe, a body-swapping werewolf, in hopes of bribing Joe into granting him a healthy new body. Doyle himself becomes targeted by Joe, receiving the poisoned body of Darrow's former bodyguard, but manages to cure himself of the poison before dying.

In his new body, Doyle realizes that he himself is the historical Ashbless. He copies down Ashbless' poetry from memory and deduces his own future from his study of Ashbless' life. Using this knowledge, he continues to thwart the magicians' plans. After Romany discovers a gate to the 17th century, Doyle follows him through and stops his attempt to change the past. Meanwhile Darrow successfully contacts Dog-Face Joe and organizes a deal in which Joe will provide Darrow with healthy bodies and allow him to live forever.

Doyle is kidnapped and brought to Muhammad Ali's Egypt, where the magicians' Master tempts him with resurrecting his dead wife if he will tell them the secrets of the time-gates. Doyle resists and kills the Master. Meanwhile, Jacky discovers Darrow's secret and kills him along with Dog-Face Joe. Doyle returns to London, where the last magician, Romanelli, kidnaps him, Jacky, and Coleridge. In a drugged stupor, Coleridge frees Horrabin's twisted menagerie of monsters, allowing him and Jacky to escape. Romanelli escapes with Doyle to the underworld, but is eaten by Apep while Doyle is rejuvenated on board the sunboat of the god Ra. Doyle meets back up with Jacky and discovers that not only is Jacky secretly a woman, she is his future wife.

Decades later, after living out Ashbless' entire life and becoming a widower, Doyle goes out to meet his historic date with death. Doyle discovers that his intended murderer is a duplicate of himself that the Master had made in Egypt decades before. Doyle kills the duplicate, thereby supplying the corpse for his death, and boats away into an unknown future.


[edit] Major characters
Brendan Doyle - An English professor at Cal State Fullerton, Doyle is still haunted by the motorcycle accident that killed his wife Rebecca. He is a short and unathletic man who is having difficulty getting published. He is fascinated by the enigmatic poet William Ashbless.
J. Cochran Darrow - A famous tycoon who is suffering from terminal cancer. His enterprises have discovered the time gates.
The Master - The oldest and most powerful magician in the world, now somewhat feeble-minded, the Master plots to rejuvenate magic and restore Egypt by crushing Britain. His unnatural powers make contact with the earth painful for him and his magician followers.
Amenophis Fikee - A powerful magician, Fikee is the Master's agent in Britain. He leads a clan of gypsies and wears clogs to avoid contact with the ground. After a magical ritual misfires, his mind snaps and he becomes Dog-Face Joe. Bodies that he inhabits grow fur, but he uses a body-swapping spell to flee the curse, poisoning his old bodies to prevent discovery.
Doctory Romanelli - A powerful magician, Romanelli is the Master's agent in Turkey and leads a clan of gypsies to do his bidding.
Doctor Romany - A "ka", or magical duplicate, of Romanelli created to help Fikee in London, Romany takes up Fikee's duties in his absence. He wears spring shoes to avoid contact with the earth.
Jacky - Apparently a mustachioed young beggar, Jacky is actually a woman from a noble family who has taken a new identity to search for Dog-Face Joe, who switched bodies with her fiance and caused her to kill him.
Horrabin - An evil clown who leads a pack of murderous beggars, Horrabin magically maims some of his minions to be more profitable. His "mistakes" become monsters that he locks away in the catacombs beneath his lair. He wears stilts to avoid contact with the ground. The "mistakes" eventually manage to kill Horrabin by using thrown mud to weaken him. Then they knock him to the ground and kill him.
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Not really what I expected - ancient Egyptian stuff barely figures in it. I guess, the sorcery in it is supposed to be of Egyptian origin, and it does have some scenes in Egypt - but overall the atmosphere is much more Dickensian than Egyptian, with a significant dash of horror. It's a time-travel romp with historical figures that keep popping up and the constant threat of grotesque mutilation. Oliver Twist meets The Mummy???
So - if you like evil clowns, this is a book for you!!! (personally, they really creep me out, soooo....) ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Time travel. Egyptian myth invades 1802 UK. Then 1983 steps in. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
This is first of all an adventure story and then fantasy and science fiction. It is more of a fantasy than sci-fi because it only uses time travel as a prop for a story. Magic however is very prevalent.
The story begins in the 1983, the same year the book was published and yours truly was born as well :). Brendan Doyle is an american professor and an expert on a 19th century poet William Ashbless (which is invented by the author) and Samuel Coleridge (a real historical poet from 19th century). Things start to roll off when Doyle gets an invitation from an old British millionaire, J. Cochran Darrow who has discovered that time travel is possible. Under the guise of attending Samuel Coleridge lecture, with Doyle providing commentary, Darrow organize the trip with Doyle and some selected millionaires back to 1810. Things however get complicated when Doyle gets kidnapped by Egyptian magician who has witnessed the time travelling. Consequently Doyle gets stuck in 19th century London, while the real reason for Darrow's trip is revealed gradually.
What follows is a myriad of lanes this plot takes us on with such vibrant characters as beggars of London, murdering magician clowns, chimeras, gypsies, Lord Byron, body-switching werewolf, Samuel Coleridge, old Egyptian gods, living toy soldiers, and old Egyptian magician who is trying to overthrow English rule over Egypt or make it so it has never happened.
This book is simply marvelous in terms of plot. However, that is also its downfall. 460 pages is simply not enough to work out everything that needed to be worked out. It could have easily been 1000 pages and it would be fast paced and enjoyable as it was. Because it's too short, sometimes it jumps around too much and it takes a while to figure out in which plot lane you are now.
However that being said, I enjoyed it tremendously, and I have Tim Powers on my radar now. I bought On Stranger Tides and Last Call because this man knows how to write adventure stories, and I love it!
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good plot in a book, or fantasy with historical references, Samuel Coleridge or Lord Byron fans, or anybody who wants to read an adventure story. ( )
  Jaskier | Dec 1, 2015 |
Reading this book often felt like playing detective, as I tried to figure out how all the various aspects of the plot (time travel, body switching, the bizarre underground world of freaks and beggars, Egypt) were going to come together. But they did... for the most part.

One of the things I liked most was the change (and I mean that in every sense of the word) experienced by Brendan Doyle. He evolves into a completely different person (literally) and ends up taking it in stride. I admired the fact that, once he understands his role in history (and the reveal of that is quite astounding), he takes full responsibility for his new life instead of doggedly trying to get back home no matter what.

However, there were little bits and pieces that were left hanging: the Brotherhood, Egypt, the original time travel experiment. In the end, though, maybe the reader is supposed to understand that these strange things were meant to be (and are somewhat explained in what we know of Ashbless and his work at the beginning), and that in any case life is messy and not all ends can be neatly tied up. I also understood, in the end, that the lack of explanation for some of the phenomena made me feel like I had just popped into the world, just like Brendan does at the beginning. We have to figure stuff out, just like he does.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed the book. Some of its characters (Horrabin, for example, or even the almost superhuman Ashbless) were frighteningly vivid. And, though there was a conclusion of sorts, I like the fact that I get to wonder: what happens to Ashbless now, and where will Brendan come in a hundred or so years down the line? ( )
  bookdoctor | Oct 23, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Powers, TimAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bilokur, MarkIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brautigan, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campbell, RamseyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campion, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carr, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caza, PhilippeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keulers, NicoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lebec, GérardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacPherson, DonaldCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McMurray, JacobDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palumbo, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palumbo, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinchot, BronsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podevin, Jean-FrançoisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, Jeffrey KCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riffel, HannesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuyer Sj, M. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my wife, Serena
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From between two trees at the crest of the hill a very old man watched, with a nostalgic longing he thought he'd lost all capacity for, as the last group of picnickers packed up their baskets, mounted their horses, and rode away south...
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Haiku summary
when literature/
crosses with mad science and/
meets ancient magic

(lachapakhan)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441004016, Paperback)

Author Tim Powers evokes 17th-century England with a combination of meticulously researched historic detail and imaginative flights in this sci-fi tale of time travel. Winner of the 1984 Philip K. Dick Award for best original science fiction paperback, this 1989 edition of the book that took the fantasy world by storm is the first hardcover version to be published in the United States. In his brief introduction, Ramsey Campbell sets The Anubis Gates in an adventure context, citing Powers's achievement of "extraordinary scenes of underground horror, of comedy both high and grotesque, of bizarre menace, of poetic fantasy."

The colonization of Egypt by western European powers is the launch point for power plays and machinations. Steeping together in this time-warp stew are such characters as an unassuming Coleridge scholar, ancient gods, wizards, the Knights Templar, werewolves, and other quasi-mortals, all wrapped in the organizing fabric of Egyptian mythology. In the best of fantasy traditions, the reluctant heroes fight for survival against an evil that lurks beneath the surface of their everyday lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:51 -0400)

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A novel of time travel that combines action and adventure with the surreal and bizarre.

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