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

by Tim Powers

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,819842,062 (3.99)1 / 260
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 (82)  Catalan (1)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
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 |
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. ( )
  Irena. | Jan 28, 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
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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)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

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