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

by Tim Powers

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,888882,002 (3.98)1 / 264
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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English (84)  Catalan (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
The first thing to be aware is that the main character is not really special. He is not a capable romantic hero, nor is he an anti-hero type. Considering some of the things that happen in this book, I wouldn’t be surprised that this was a plan all along. He isn't supposed to be special at all. Now, if I haven't turned you back from reading this, great.

Although Brendan Doyle is just moving from one situation to the next, from one person to the next, hardly ever doing anything on his own, the rest of the story is great. The things just happen to him. There was just one instance when he took charge and that was near the end of the book.
I was annoyed with Doyle at first, but that has to do more with the type of main characters I like to read about than him. I didn't think that a chubby, balding literature professor would work as a character in this type of book. I was wrong. So many things happen, so many wonderful and interesting characters appear, some with greater role than others, that even if Doyle is the type to whom things happen, this still ends up as a great story.

The Anubis Gate is a great blend of historical fiction, time travel, fantasy, horror and humour. The basis of the whole story is in the explanation of a powerful and rich man who called Doyle to offer him a job. “Time,” he said solemnly, “is comparable to a river flowing under a layer of ice. It stretches us out like water weeds, from root to tip, from birth to death, curled around whatever rocks or snags happen to lie in our path; and no one can get out of the river because of the ice roof, and no one can turn back against the current for an instant.”He offered an opportunity to stand outside that river. What follows is a wonderfully written time travel adventure with patriotic crazy Egyptian magicians, shape-switching monster, a few famous XIX century poets, a lot of beggars, a very brave young woman and one very reluctant hero.
Humour jumps at you when you least expect it and at the most inappropriate times (people dying, someone is tortured and so on). A magician is summoning fire elementals: "London? You asked us to do this once before." "The time is 1666, yes." Romany nodded. "But it wasn't me asking you then." ... "It was a pair of shoes. How should we distinguish?" Or a couple of thugs' conversation after they were told that they caused a pandemonium. “What’s a pandemonium?” whispered one of the men in the rear.
“It’s like a calliope,” answered a companion. “I heard one played at the Harmony Fair last summer, when I went there to see my sister’s boy play his organ.”
“His what?”
“His organ.”
“Lord. People pay money to see things like that?” The XIX century London and Cairo come alive in this book. There is something for everyone. Even a bit of romance. ( )
  Aneris | Aug 12, 2016 |
I have had this on my to be read shelf forever, it ended up being an okay read. It really wasn't what I was expecting. This book is supposed to be one of the main books that started the steampunk genre and it really doesn't have that much steampunk at all in it. It is more about time travel, Dickinson era London, literature, and the preservation of Egyptian supremacy.

This may have been better if I hadn't listened to it on audiobook. The book switches POV a lot and the narrator of the audiobook didn't really pause between POV changes. So it would take me a few sentences before I had figured out that we had switched characters; it made the book very confusing to follow at points.

I have also heard this called a YA book...it is absolutely not a YA read. The main character is a middle aged man and there are topics of torture, abuse, and rape. Although nothing gets too explicit, this does seem more geared toward adults.

Some parts of this book were very slow...part of that is because there are just too many different character points of view we read from. There is a lot in here that didn't actually seem to add much to the plot.

Like all time travel stories things get a bit twisted and turned, and there are places where things don't quite match up or make sense. There is some interesting irony in this book, especially towards the end and I enjoyed that quite a bit.

There were a few times when I almost stopped listening to this audiobook because I just could not pay attention to what was going on, it was just boring and not all that engaging.

Overall parts of this were okay but most of it was boring. There are some interesting twists and turns that the book takes which were enjoyable. I didn't really enjoy the characters all that much; there were just too many of them and the story switched between all their POVs too abruptly. If you are really into time travel stories you might enjoy this book. Otherwise I would look elsewhere. This is not a steampunk read. ( )
  krau0098 | Jul 30, 2016 |
Barely made it through the prologue. Put it down cuz I was confused and bored, looked at more reviews, couldn't talk myself into picking it up again. Sorry - I don't like roller coaster rides in books or in life. ;)
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
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 |
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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, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palumbo, DavidCover artistsecondary 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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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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