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Ace Books is proud to present this classic novel of time travel in a beautiful new trade edition. It took the fantasy world by storm a decade ago, and now fans can savor this Philip K. Dick Award-winner for the first time all over again. Only the dazzling imagination of Tim Powers could have assembled such an insane cast of characters: an ancient Egyptian sorcerer, a modern millionaire, a body-switching werewolf, a hideously deformed clown, a young woman disguised as a boy, a brainwashed Lord Byron, and finally, our hero, Professor Brendan Doyle.
Published: Penguin Group on
ISBN: 9781101575895
List price: $13.99
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At this point, it's hard for me to experience a time travel story without pretty much guessing everything that's timely-wimey about it, but I just can't hold that against The Anubis Gates. One reason? This book precedes a LOT of the timey-wimey fiction and film that I've encountered over the years. Also, it's damn good writing, with plenty of interesting characters and period detail. The explanation for magic working in our world is smart, and while I could see the broad plot, the details of how things unfold remain interesting. If you like time travel or 19th century settings, give it a try.more
Brendan Doyle is a biographer and researcher specializing in poetry and prose of the early 19th century. In fact, it's his knowledge of Coleridge and the obscure contemporary William Ashbless that leads Doyle into his time traveling adventure. An eccentric named Darrow has discovered a method of time travel. To secure venture capital for his personal scheme, he sells tickets to a Coleridge lecture in 1810. Doyle is hired as the Coleridge expert brought along to prep the audience.

The party arrives successfully in London in 1810 and convinces Coleridge to give an impromptu lecture. Darrow had misinformation about the date of the "real" lecture. At the conclusion of the lecture, Doyle is sent to fetch the carriages and is kidnapped.

His kidnappers are ancient Egyptian priests with a master plan to destroy the English (and the French) in order to restore the Egyptian gods (and their powers which provide the source of their sorcerous endeavors).

We follow Doyle as he barely escapes with his life and his efforts to return to 1983 (where he came from originally). He is continually confronted with danger and mysteries, especially in his hunt for Ashbless. He even manages to contract pnuemonia, but his "saved" from that fate when his body is snatched by one of the Egyptians who is cursed with a werewolf-like malady after a failed attempt to force the return of the ancient Egyptian gods.

Eventually, Doyle (in a different body now) is drawn into resisting and actively battling the Egyptians and their master (confined in Cairo).

I had some difficulty connecting with most of the characters in this story. I had hopes that I would at least be drawn in by Elizabeth because of her efforts to disguise her gender and avenge her fiance' but the different points of view was disrupting. The action was exciting and the horror elements weren't overdone or overwhelming. Perhaps by not staying with one character or one location or even one time for very long, I just didn't have time to connect with the characters.

An interesting twist to the time travel formula with some good action, horror and a bit of humor and irony.

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When a book comes highly recommended, I want to love it. Sometimes I like the book just fine but I don’t love it but I wholeheartedly wanted to. This is the case with The Anubis Gates. It’s a good book, don’t get me wrong, but I had such high hopes for it that I think it just didn't live up to my very high expectations.So what’s this book about? So many things. The contentious relationship between Britain and Egypt in the very early 19th Century, powerful Egyptian gods, time travel, body swapping, magic, and a few historical literary figures all mixed up in a plot that can go anywhere.Let’s start at the beginning... The early 1980s, an aging billionaire discovers a gate, for lack of a better word, that allows him to travel back in time. He organizes a trip with several other wealthy individuals, and a lone English professor, to attend a lecture by a well-known poet. A magician who happened to open the time travel gates way back when, happens to spy the travelers and kidnaps Brendan Doyle, the hapless English professor brought along for some educational tidbits. Brendan ends up stranded in 1810. Completely unequipped to deal with life in 1810, he ends up a beggar, a rather bad one at that, in a beggars guild, and manages to get caught up in a body swapping scheme being perpetrated by the billionaire who brought him back in time. In a new body, Brendan, now a well-known poet, or at least a poet who will become well-known, lives out an unexpected life.I hope you understand that description because that damn thing took forever to write. There are so many plot lines in this book that at one point I needed to go back a chapter just to figure out who was in what body and, well, what the hell was going on. Now, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining, it was (there are many good things about this book), but there was more than one time when I found myself confused. To be honest, I read fast sometimes and I think this was one of those moments when that habit didn’t help me at all.I want to say read this one because there are some really great parts of this book. And I think I will say that because I wasn’t disappointed with this book, but I think I picked it up at the wrong time and we weren’t a good fit.One thing I loved about the book, and the reason I’m telling you to read it, is the way the travel was incorporated into the story. Having magical gates that transport people in time is just cool and I want one. I also liked the body swapping for all that it threw me off at one point in the story. I guess at that point if you’re going to go with time travel, why not swap a few bodies too.So tell me, is there another Tim Powers book I should read? I want to give him another try.more
An enjoyable historical fantasy with plenty of time travel, ancient Egyptian magic and wandering poets to keep things fun. It's a smoother effort than the author's 'The Stress of Her Regard', playing with many of the same motifs (and with the same regard for 19th century poets) and with a nice, twisted, fun-house feel. However, there are some clunky narrative jump-cuts, especially later on, and the story is peppered with anachronisms (not counting the deliberate ones, of course). The characters are frequently vivid but at the same time fairly thin, with the exception of Doyle and Jacky (hurray - we get *one* female character who has her own thoughts, feelings and motivations).more
Not exactly steampunk but very fun nonetheless. The things Tim does well (fast-paced without being a blur; well plotted with mysterious flash-forwards; lots of hallucinatory action) outnumber, though unfortunately don’t hide, what Tim messes up (flat characters and a self-conscious literary style). The big problem of the book is its style. The exciting confusion of the narrative is sometimes bogged down by Tim’s sometimes convoluted and indirect writing. Sometimes he overwrites, too, like in the first chapter/prologue. It’s so bad that I almost stopped and started something else. Luckily he soon tones it down and keeps it down for the most of the novel, only occasionally and very painfully flaring back up into poetic nonsense. Sometimes the style is good. Tim uses some interesting verbs, like "bellyed out" or "accordioned back" and pulls off some fancy, though convoluted, prolepses. In fact, the entire book could be described as convoluted, and it works for the most part. I just wish the style conveyed the narrative a little more smoothly – its overwhelming enough.The story has so many elliptically revealed details that I plan on a reread. That’s a huge accomplishment for B-list sci-fi.more
The imagination in this book is relentless.Definitely a fun trip.more
The Anubis Gates begins with Brendan Doyle, a middle-aged historian, being invited to England as an expert on Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He is surprised to find his employer wants his talents because he has discovered a gateway through time and is intending to escort a number of wealthy people (at a price) back to an evening in 1810 to listen to a lecture by Coleridge himself. (Surely, by the way, I'm not the only one who could think of more interesting things to do for an evening in 1810 London than attend a lecture?) It's not giving too much away to say that Doyle find himself separated from the group, misses the return cut-off, and finds himself stranded in the 19th century.I picked this up after reading about it on some 100 Greatest Science Fiction Novels list or another, but it's probably more of a fantasy novel. The time travel is caused by ancient Egyptian magics, and Doyle is delivered not to an accurate representation of 1810 London, but rather a London spiced up with various magical background monsters and villains - some of which are positively cartoonish. I don't mean that Powers is deliberately creating an alternate past - it's more of a "just below the surface" world, and apart from the initial jump (and a later interlude) time travel isn't even a dominant aspect of the story.The Anubis Gates is a very schlocky novel, and my feelings about it are mixed. It's a readable book, for the most part, with a number of neat moments and a relatively intriguing plot. But towards the end it suffers under the weight of too many plot threads and ideas, with Doyle hanging about at a few historic scenes for absolutely no reason. Powers' prose is no more than mechanically competent, with a guarantee of at least one cliche or stock phrase every page, and his characters are largely cardboard cut-outs; I only finished it two weeks ago, but had to get up and find it again while writing this because I couldn't remember the main character's name.Overall, not an outright bad book, but not a good one either. Read it if you're into this sort of thing and don't have anything better closer to hand.more
I am not a fan of time travel adventures but this book is the exception. This is one of my favorite all time Sci-Fi books. It is definitely not steam punk. Much like his work On Stranger Tides, the origin of Pirates of the Caribbean, this book is populated by the most enticing characters. The premise is a return to the London, England of the Romantic Poets, Coleridge, Byron and others. Mixed throughout the plot are beggar guilds, thieves, gypsies, secret societies, body snatchers, indescribable creatures living in sewers and even egyptian magicians. No spoiler alert needed: this book has so many twists and turns I would not dare venture a summation. Slight patience may be required but once you pick up the cadence of the book you can not turn the pages fast enough. I just finished reading this for the second time - I originally read this in the 80's - and I definitively give it five stars.more
Though I have finished this book I've had to struggle my way through it. The plot and the premise are very interesting and very promising in the beginnig. In fact, that has been what have kept me reading when I've been tempted to stop.One of the problems for me is the main character, Brennan Doyle, he is just dull and quite 'slow', he seems to stumble from one situation to another without really atempting anything by himself. Almost all of the other characters are far more interesting and actively seek a way out of the problems in which they are thrown, if they are not the cause themselves.Although the writing is good, the way the author keeps changing from place to place is somewhat annoying. It is not that he changes without warning from a set of characters to another but that he frequently describes places or characters as if they were already known. So you read through several paragraphs before realizing that this is a new set of people which will interact briefly with one character and will never appear again.So I am rather disappointed with this one, it has not been as action packaged as I expected and certainly not as entertaining.more
Ho Hum, for me barely readable, was almost put down at several pts. This is the first bk of this type I have read in quite some time and now I know why. If you like Saturday morning TV then this is for you other wise skip it.more
While I found the world Powers created here compelling and the mechanics of that world fascinating, ultimately this was a maddening read for me. It seemed that I figured out all of the major plot points chapters before they were revealed but was dogged by not understanding minor workings of the plot and of the world. I also had a terrible time following the action in fight or action scenes, and found frustrating and disorienting Powers's habit of starting a new section (after a space break) without making clear whom we were with and where. A very clever mind at work here, but the execution left me cold.more
I can see why the author, Tim Powers, was thought of when they needed a story plotted for the next Pirates of the Carribean movie. His style would lend itself to that kind of adventure nicely. This is early steampunk...one of the earliest, in fact, of the accepted works. It suffers in parts but the story is very good. I thought that the plotting got a little fuzzy in places and I had to go back and re-read a few pages to make sure of what was going on. Well worth reading though. I love how he combined ancient Egypt with gypsies and Georgian London.more
The start of this book was interesting. The concept is intriguing as well.I stopped reading this book after about 150 (ebook)pages, as I just could not take the attitude of the main character.I am sure the book goes on in a wonderful way, but Doyle just got to me too much.more
This book needs a rating system that goes beyond 5 stars. The story is engaging and quick paced, pulling out all kinds of snippets of history and folklore and combining them into a glorious whole. The sotry has its quirks and twists but handles time travel and foreknowledge really nicely even if, occasionally, divine intervention of the biggest kind is required. A real gem of a book that even rereading again 15 years on holds its place.more
Title: Anubis GatesAuthor: Tim PowersGenre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Speculative Fiction, Historical Fiction# of pages:Start date:End date:4/17Borrowed/bought: borrowedMy rating of the book, F- [worst] to A [best]: BDescription of the book: In this book about time travel, historical fiction, and alternate history, we meet Brendan Doyle, a historian for the famed William Ashbless. When Brendan is convinced to travel back in time to 1810, what happens to him is a fantastical adventure with sorcerers, werewolves, a society of street beggars (some of whom are dangerous and dangerously crazy!) and Egyptian gods.Review: The middle of the book dragged a lot for me, and it wasn't until I was about halfway through the book that I vaguely figured out what was going on. It picked up about 3/4ths of the way through and the author did explain it pretty well at the end. There were also a lot of unsavory characters in this book, and was almost borderlining horror genre with the underground street beggars such as Horrabin and his creations. I'm surprised this was never adapted for a movie.more
Holy cow, what a roller coaster of a ride of a book! You've got time travel, magic, science fiction, Egyptian mythology, world-conquering villains and more all wrapped up into 387 pages of almost non-stop action. I almost put the book down (about 20 pages from the second part, it turns out) because Powers takes no time in throwing us into his story; in fact, I felt that Doyle ended up being convinced far too quickly of the possibility of time travel and felt like maybe Powers was just going to keep that kind of pace up through the rest of book. And while the pace really never does let up, it just seemed that he was taking forever to get all of his characters into place, and I was just so desperate for the story to finally move along that I was growing quickly impatient and was ready to walk away from the whole thing. A friend, thankfully, convinced me to stick with it, and I'm glad that I did.The second part of the book finally starts to take the significant number of threads that Powers started, and begins to weave them together into a fine web of a story that completely caught me up in its telling. I do think that the second part suffered from a little excess story telling again, but it was all necessary to bring the story and all of its characters together. The way that Powers worked so many characters and plot threads into one book, and managed to tie them all together and tie them up nicely into one big package is amazing. There is just so much that goes on in this book!Even when I was working my through the parts of the book that I found a little tedious, I still felt that Powers' world and characters were completely tangible. His writing had an easy, relaxed flow to it that made the book really accessible and easy to get into. All in all, a really fantastic tale that I'm glad that I stuck with.more
In 1802, Doctor Romany and Amenophis Fikee perform an incantation at the behest of their master, an incantation that should allow Anubis to come forth and sorcery to rule the world. In 1983, Brendan Doyle receives a summons from a rich old man who wants to travel to 1810 to observe Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and wants Doyle to lecture his fellow travelers before they set off.Powers weaves a deft, complicated tale in which both of those apparently divergent tales have much to do with one another. Filled with eccentric characters and the danger of the London streets, the many threads of this story come together in sometimes surprising ways with breakneck pace. I wish there had been a little more character development and a little less blood, but overall it was a fun ride.more
After agreeing to act as a time-travelling tour guide to an 1810 lecture by Coleridge, academic Brendan Doyle is marooned in the past - and captures the interest of some distinctly odd characters.A great thriller, with splendidly grotesque characters, manic pacing and a surprising and complex plot. By the end it seemed to be getting a bit repetitive, though; although the ending was good I thought it was a little too drawn out. Very readable, very clever and very macabre. A bit like a Tom Clancy thriller crossed with an Umberto Eco novel and something hallucinogenic.more
If you were given an opportunity to travel back in time, to meet someone you've been fascinated with and on whom there is very little documented information, would you jump at the chance to do so? What if you were inadvertently left behind and didn't make it back to present day? What would you do? How easy or hard do you think it would be to fit into life in a different century? What would be the impact on the future because your mere presence in this time zone will have an impact on some people and some situations?These are questions that are cleverly considered in this story. The considerations are subtly woven into an action packed story as we follow the main character Doyle as he's invited to join a group of people on a time travel through a particular gap, from America to London. As a mild mannered researcher, he finds himself shockingly beaten and kidnapped just when he is on his way to the spot where he expects to return to 20th century America with the rest of the group.Magic allows a man and his clone to communicate across long distances. A horrifying clown on stilts appears to rule the underworld of beggars, spies and thieves. Lord Byron is introduced .. or is he? A werewolf terrorizes the city and lives by exchange one host body for another. And who is that young boy who has a hidden secret and a determination to seek vengeance? And just who is this Master who seems to be orchestrating the chaos and what does he want?This story is filled with great surprises and will hold your attention like no other.more
An interesting look at time travel. We explore an ancient Egytian religion that possesses powerful magic capable of crossing distance and time. We see just what might happen to modern people if they find themselves suddenly thrust back unprepared to a different time period.I didn't particularly care for the main character, he seemed very self centered most of the time. I was intrigued enough to continue to follow his adventures through old England and Egypt. The Doctors Romany and Romanelli I found the most interesting. The concepts behind them were great, and their blunders seemed somewhat humorous at times.What I enjoyed the most about this book was it's brief look into consequences. What happens when we go back in time? Do we change the future? Would we know it if we did...or would our memories corrent themselves since all this has already happened anyways? It's a circular arguement that the book brushed on through most of its pages. I enjoyed it.more
If there is a central message in The Anubis Gates it is that evil always sows the seeds of its own destruction. Brendan Doyle, hapless biographer of the poets Coleridge and Ashbless, travels back in time to the England of King George III where he gets caught up in the affairs of a band of Egyptian-era magicians trying to bring about the restoration of the old magic and the old gods. In the course of simply trying to survive and find a way to return to the 20th century Doyle joins up with a band of beggars, accidentally travels even further into history, battles a sort of werewolf serial killer, and takes an involuntary side trip to Egypt. He plays out the hand fate has dealt him just trying to make it to the next chapter of his new life along the way consistently triggering events that lead to the downfall and destruction of the magicians.This is Powers's third novel, and his first really successful one. All of the elements of historical fantasy and the supernatural that are the hallmark of later novels like the Fisher King series, Declare and Three Days to Never are present. The plot is tight and well paced, with no left-over bits. All of the actions, even if they don't seem to relate at the time, are pulled back in as the plot comes full circle. This is a terrific introduction to Powers, and a book that I've loaned out so often that I've purchased a copy just for lending (and occasionally re-purchased).It is also worth noting that the poet William Ashbless is the creation of Powers and James P Blaylock when they were in college. Pieces of Ashbless's poetry appear in novels by both authors, and several collections of Ashbless poetry and prose have appeared in chapbooks. The Anubis Gates is probably the closest there is to a story of the life of the poet, although the character and personality of the poet is much more congenial in this book than in later appearances.more
Brendan Doyle is hired to act as a Coleridge expert by a wealthy millionare, who takes him through a gateway to meet the poet in the past. Powers fills this books with a fascinating cast of characters: a terrifyingly clown, a society of magicians wishing to restore the power of Egypt, a woman dressed as a man, a crew of beggars, and so on. The story is tightly plotted and I followed the journey through time with eager joy. A couple of times the writing style strayed into the confusing, and I had to go back and reread a page to make sure I was clear on what was happening, but overall I loved it.more
I gave it 100 pages & really didn't care about what was going on, so I quit. It could have been interesting, I think. The problem for me was I just didn't get any feeling for any of the characters or the situation. I wanted to, felt I should, but every time I picked up the book it was a chore & I found my mind wandering.more
What a fantastic tale. I'm not entirely sure if this qualifies as steampunk, or not. It depends, as always, on what definition one uses. Technology doesn't seem to play an important part in the story, certainly not the steam engines, or clockwork devices one normally associates with steampunk. Instead, magical powers play an important role. The pre-Victorian era also misses the mark slightly from what is normally seen. The use of real people in the story, in particular Lord Byron, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge does satisfy parts of the definition. Setting aside the steampunk status of the story, The Anubis Gates is an excellent story, and is highly recommended.more
When this turned up on BookMooch en français I decided to seize the chance to brush up my French at the same time as crossing an Apollo Award winner off my TBR list. The plan worked well. The novel is a fabulously over the top fantasy, like an extended episode of Doctor Who, only there's no Doctor to help out when the quantum mechanical (or in fact magical) time travel to the England of Coleridge and Byron, and beyond, goes horribly wrong. Or it could be likened to a Cairo Jim adventure with an organisation very like the Old Relics Society and a time-travelling Eng Lit scholar cum pseudo-werewolf in place of Geoffrey McSkimming's poet-archaeologist: it's got Egyptian gods, animated statues, history mysteries, but sadly no animal companions. It's a vastly inventive, riproaring picaresque adventure, with a lovely array of grotesque villains, some almost Shakespearean crossdressing, and much derring-do.I recommend it as a constantly surprising and delighting romp either in French or in the original "American".more
A bit... loose, it feels, like at times there are too many threads going about.A very satisfying read though.more
A whimsical, fun, time traveling, adventure. Lots of fun parts. The author can be funny at times, but the book is serious most of the time. When starting this book, i was worried as there are definitely parallels to [book:timeline], but its a much better book than that. Theres tons of characters and a handful of interwoven plot-lines, and this is good for the most part, but it can get tricky to follow at times. Great ending.more
I can see why many say this will be one of the classic time-travel books. Mr. Powers gave us wonderful and vivid characters, a great thriller plot, wonderful 19th century atmosphere, and managed the whole "changing known history paradox" issue with aplomb.more
The Anubis Gates is a fun read for the most part, although Powers seems to get into a rush in the last 60 pages. It's not just that the pace picks up; the descriptions are much sketchier, and he seems to expect us to know which of his switched bodies and minds are present. The story centers around Brendan Doyle, 20th-century academic who is recruited to serve as a subject-matter expert for a group of rich folks who are travelling back to Coleridge's time through a "time gate." Doyle is left behind and must find a way to survive and to return to his own time. He is recruited by competing bands of beggars, one of whch is linked to the Egyptian magic that facilitated his time travel. Quite a bit of chaos ensues.Overall a mostly fun, sometimes frustrating read.more
Overall this is a very creative, well-written book. While the various pieces may seem disparate, anachronistic, maybe even jarring, it all works without trouble. His research and use of historical detail is impeccable. In addition, with the time travel, there appears to be no anomalies. However, with that said, I feel that the author played it safe and I was able to easily anticipate various plot points which was rather disappointing.more
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Reviews

At this point, it's hard for me to experience a time travel story without pretty much guessing everything that's timely-wimey about it, but I just can't hold that against The Anubis Gates. One reason? This book precedes a LOT of the timey-wimey fiction and film that I've encountered over the years. Also, it's damn good writing, with plenty of interesting characters and period detail. The explanation for magic working in our world is smart, and while I could see the broad plot, the details of how things unfold remain interesting. If you like time travel or 19th century settings, give it a try.more
Brendan Doyle is a biographer and researcher specializing in poetry and prose of the early 19th century. In fact, it's his knowledge of Coleridge and the obscure contemporary William Ashbless that leads Doyle into his time traveling adventure. An eccentric named Darrow has discovered a method of time travel. To secure venture capital for his personal scheme, he sells tickets to a Coleridge lecture in 1810. Doyle is hired as the Coleridge expert brought along to prep the audience.

The party arrives successfully in London in 1810 and convinces Coleridge to give an impromptu lecture. Darrow had misinformation about the date of the "real" lecture. At the conclusion of the lecture, Doyle is sent to fetch the carriages and is kidnapped.

His kidnappers are ancient Egyptian priests with a master plan to destroy the English (and the French) in order to restore the Egyptian gods (and their powers which provide the source of their sorcerous endeavors).

We follow Doyle as he barely escapes with his life and his efforts to return to 1983 (where he came from originally). He is continually confronted with danger and mysteries, especially in his hunt for Ashbless. He even manages to contract pnuemonia, but his "saved" from that fate when his body is snatched by one of the Egyptians who is cursed with a werewolf-like malady after a failed attempt to force the return of the ancient Egyptian gods.

Eventually, Doyle (in a different body now) is drawn into resisting and actively battling the Egyptians and their master (confined in Cairo).

I had some difficulty connecting with most of the characters in this story. I had hopes that I would at least be drawn in by Elizabeth because of her efforts to disguise her gender and avenge her fiance' but the different points of view was disrupting. The action was exciting and the horror elements weren't overdone or overwhelming. Perhaps by not staying with one character or one location or even one time for very long, I just didn't have time to connect with the characters.

An interesting twist to the time travel formula with some good action, horror and a bit of humor and irony.

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When a book comes highly recommended, I want to love it. Sometimes I like the book just fine but I don’t love it but I wholeheartedly wanted to. This is the case with The Anubis Gates. It’s a good book, don’t get me wrong, but I had such high hopes for it that I think it just didn't live up to my very high expectations.So what’s this book about? So many things. The contentious relationship between Britain and Egypt in the very early 19th Century, powerful Egyptian gods, time travel, body swapping, magic, and a few historical literary figures all mixed up in a plot that can go anywhere.Let’s start at the beginning... The early 1980s, an aging billionaire discovers a gate, for lack of a better word, that allows him to travel back in time. He organizes a trip with several other wealthy individuals, and a lone English professor, to attend a lecture by a well-known poet. A magician who happened to open the time travel gates way back when, happens to spy the travelers and kidnaps Brendan Doyle, the hapless English professor brought along for some educational tidbits. Brendan ends up stranded in 1810. Completely unequipped to deal with life in 1810, he ends up a beggar, a rather bad one at that, in a beggars guild, and manages to get caught up in a body swapping scheme being perpetrated by the billionaire who brought him back in time. In a new body, Brendan, now a well-known poet, or at least a poet who will become well-known, lives out an unexpected life.I hope you understand that description because that damn thing took forever to write. There are so many plot lines in this book that at one point I needed to go back a chapter just to figure out who was in what body and, well, what the hell was going on. Now, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining, it was (there are many good things about this book), but there was more than one time when I found myself confused. To be honest, I read fast sometimes and I think this was one of those moments when that habit didn’t help me at all.I want to say read this one because there are some really great parts of this book. And I think I will say that because I wasn’t disappointed with this book, but I think I picked it up at the wrong time and we weren’t a good fit.One thing I loved about the book, and the reason I’m telling you to read it, is the way the travel was incorporated into the story. Having magical gates that transport people in time is just cool and I want one. I also liked the body swapping for all that it threw me off at one point in the story. I guess at that point if you’re going to go with time travel, why not swap a few bodies too.So tell me, is there another Tim Powers book I should read? I want to give him another try.more
An enjoyable historical fantasy with plenty of time travel, ancient Egyptian magic and wandering poets to keep things fun. It's a smoother effort than the author's 'The Stress of Her Regard', playing with many of the same motifs (and with the same regard for 19th century poets) and with a nice, twisted, fun-house feel. However, there are some clunky narrative jump-cuts, especially later on, and the story is peppered with anachronisms (not counting the deliberate ones, of course). The characters are frequently vivid but at the same time fairly thin, with the exception of Doyle and Jacky (hurray - we get *one* female character who has her own thoughts, feelings and motivations).more
Not exactly steampunk but very fun nonetheless. The things Tim does well (fast-paced without being a blur; well plotted with mysterious flash-forwards; lots of hallucinatory action) outnumber, though unfortunately don’t hide, what Tim messes up (flat characters and a self-conscious literary style). The big problem of the book is its style. The exciting confusion of the narrative is sometimes bogged down by Tim’s sometimes convoluted and indirect writing. Sometimes he overwrites, too, like in the first chapter/prologue. It’s so bad that I almost stopped and started something else. Luckily he soon tones it down and keeps it down for the most of the novel, only occasionally and very painfully flaring back up into poetic nonsense. Sometimes the style is good. Tim uses some interesting verbs, like "bellyed out" or "accordioned back" and pulls off some fancy, though convoluted, prolepses. In fact, the entire book could be described as convoluted, and it works for the most part. I just wish the style conveyed the narrative a little more smoothly – its overwhelming enough.The story has so many elliptically revealed details that I plan on a reread. That’s a huge accomplishment for B-list sci-fi.more
The imagination in this book is relentless.Definitely a fun trip.more
The Anubis Gates begins with Brendan Doyle, a middle-aged historian, being invited to England as an expert on Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He is surprised to find his employer wants his talents because he has discovered a gateway through time and is intending to escort a number of wealthy people (at a price) back to an evening in 1810 to listen to a lecture by Coleridge himself. (Surely, by the way, I'm not the only one who could think of more interesting things to do for an evening in 1810 London than attend a lecture?) It's not giving too much away to say that Doyle find himself separated from the group, misses the return cut-off, and finds himself stranded in the 19th century.I picked this up after reading about it on some 100 Greatest Science Fiction Novels list or another, but it's probably more of a fantasy novel. The time travel is caused by ancient Egyptian magics, and Doyle is delivered not to an accurate representation of 1810 London, but rather a London spiced up with various magical background monsters and villains - some of which are positively cartoonish. I don't mean that Powers is deliberately creating an alternate past - it's more of a "just below the surface" world, and apart from the initial jump (and a later interlude) time travel isn't even a dominant aspect of the story.The Anubis Gates is a very schlocky novel, and my feelings about it are mixed. It's a readable book, for the most part, with a number of neat moments and a relatively intriguing plot. But towards the end it suffers under the weight of too many plot threads and ideas, with Doyle hanging about at a few historic scenes for absolutely no reason. Powers' prose is no more than mechanically competent, with a guarantee of at least one cliche or stock phrase every page, and his characters are largely cardboard cut-outs; I only finished it two weeks ago, but had to get up and find it again while writing this because I couldn't remember the main character's name.Overall, not an outright bad book, but not a good one either. Read it if you're into this sort of thing and don't have anything better closer to hand.more
I am not a fan of time travel adventures but this book is the exception. This is one of my favorite all time Sci-Fi books. It is definitely not steam punk. Much like his work On Stranger Tides, the origin of Pirates of the Caribbean, this book is populated by the most enticing characters. The premise is a return to the London, England of the Romantic Poets, Coleridge, Byron and others. Mixed throughout the plot are beggar guilds, thieves, gypsies, secret societies, body snatchers, indescribable creatures living in sewers and even egyptian magicians. No spoiler alert needed: this book has so many twists and turns I would not dare venture a summation. Slight patience may be required but once you pick up the cadence of the book you can not turn the pages fast enough. I just finished reading this for the second time - I originally read this in the 80's - and I definitively give it five stars.more
Though I have finished this book I've had to struggle my way through it. The plot and the premise are very interesting and very promising in the beginnig. In fact, that has been what have kept me reading when I've been tempted to stop.One of the problems for me is the main character, Brennan Doyle, he is just dull and quite 'slow', he seems to stumble from one situation to another without really atempting anything by himself. Almost all of the other characters are far more interesting and actively seek a way out of the problems in which they are thrown, if they are not the cause themselves.Although the writing is good, the way the author keeps changing from place to place is somewhat annoying. It is not that he changes without warning from a set of characters to another but that he frequently describes places or characters as if they were already known. So you read through several paragraphs before realizing that this is a new set of people which will interact briefly with one character and will never appear again.So I am rather disappointed with this one, it has not been as action packaged as I expected and certainly not as entertaining.more
Ho Hum, for me barely readable, was almost put down at several pts. This is the first bk of this type I have read in quite some time and now I know why. If you like Saturday morning TV then this is for you other wise skip it.more
While I found the world Powers created here compelling and the mechanics of that world fascinating, ultimately this was a maddening read for me. It seemed that I figured out all of the major plot points chapters before they were revealed but was dogged by not understanding minor workings of the plot and of the world. I also had a terrible time following the action in fight or action scenes, and found frustrating and disorienting Powers's habit of starting a new section (after a space break) without making clear whom we were with and where. A very clever mind at work here, but the execution left me cold.more
I can see why the author, Tim Powers, was thought of when they needed a story plotted for the next Pirates of the Carribean movie. His style would lend itself to that kind of adventure nicely. This is early steampunk...one of the earliest, in fact, of the accepted works. It suffers in parts but the story is very good. I thought that the plotting got a little fuzzy in places and I had to go back and re-read a few pages to make sure of what was going on. Well worth reading though. I love how he combined ancient Egypt with gypsies and Georgian London.more
The start of this book was interesting. The concept is intriguing as well.I stopped reading this book after about 150 (ebook)pages, as I just could not take the attitude of the main character.I am sure the book goes on in a wonderful way, but Doyle just got to me too much.more
This book needs a rating system that goes beyond 5 stars. The story is engaging and quick paced, pulling out all kinds of snippets of history and folklore and combining them into a glorious whole. The sotry has its quirks and twists but handles time travel and foreknowledge really nicely even if, occasionally, divine intervention of the biggest kind is required. A real gem of a book that even rereading again 15 years on holds its place.more
Title: Anubis GatesAuthor: Tim PowersGenre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Speculative Fiction, Historical Fiction# of pages:Start date:End date:4/17Borrowed/bought: borrowedMy rating of the book, F- [worst] to A [best]: BDescription of the book: In this book about time travel, historical fiction, and alternate history, we meet Brendan Doyle, a historian for the famed William Ashbless. When Brendan is convinced to travel back in time to 1810, what happens to him is a fantastical adventure with sorcerers, werewolves, a society of street beggars (some of whom are dangerous and dangerously crazy!) and Egyptian gods.Review: The middle of the book dragged a lot for me, and it wasn't until I was about halfway through the book that I vaguely figured out what was going on. It picked up about 3/4ths of the way through and the author did explain it pretty well at the end. There were also a lot of unsavory characters in this book, and was almost borderlining horror genre with the underground street beggars such as Horrabin and his creations. I'm surprised this was never adapted for a movie.more
Holy cow, what a roller coaster of a ride of a book! You've got time travel, magic, science fiction, Egyptian mythology, world-conquering villains and more all wrapped up into 387 pages of almost non-stop action. I almost put the book down (about 20 pages from the second part, it turns out) because Powers takes no time in throwing us into his story; in fact, I felt that Doyle ended up being convinced far too quickly of the possibility of time travel and felt like maybe Powers was just going to keep that kind of pace up through the rest of book. And while the pace really never does let up, it just seemed that he was taking forever to get all of his characters into place, and I was just so desperate for the story to finally move along that I was growing quickly impatient and was ready to walk away from the whole thing. A friend, thankfully, convinced me to stick with it, and I'm glad that I did.The second part of the book finally starts to take the significant number of threads that Powers started, and begins to weave them together into a fine web of a story that completely caught me up in its telling. I do think that the second part suffered from a little excess story telling again, but it was all necessary to bring the story and all of its characters together. The way that Powers worked so many characters and plot threads into one book, and managed to tie them all together and tie them up nicely into one big package is amazing. There is just so much that goes on in this book!Even when I was working my through the parts of the book that I found a little tedious, I still felt that Powers' world and characters were completely tangible. His writing had an easy, relaxed flow to it that made the book really accessible and easy to get into. All in all, a really fantastic tale that I'm glad that I stuck with.more
In 1802, Doctor Romany and Amenophis Fikee perform an incantation at the behest of their master, an incantation that should allow Anubis to come forth and sorcery to rule the world. In 1983, Brendan Doyle receives a summons from a rich old man who wants to travel to 1810 to observe Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and wants Doyle to lecture his fellow travelers before they set off.Powers weaves a deft, complicated tale in which both of those apparently divergent tales have much to do with one another. Filled with eccentric characters and the danger of the London streets, the many threads of this story come together in sometimes surprising ways with breakneck pace. I wish there had been a little more character development and a little less blood, but overall it was a fun ride.more
After agreeing to act as a time-travelling tour guide to an 1810 lecture by Coleridge, academic Brendan Doyle is marooned in the past - and captures the interest of some distinctly odd characters.A great thriller, with splendidly grotesque characters, manic pacing and a surprising and complex plot. By the end it seemed to be getting a bit repetitive, though; although the ending was good I thought it was a little too drawn out. Very readable, very clever and very macabre. A bit like a Tom Clancy thriller crossed with an Umberto Eco novel and something hallucinogenic.more
If you were given an opportunity to travel back in time, to meet someone you've been fascinated with and on whom there is very little documented information, would you jump at the chance to do so? What if you were inadvertently left behind and didn't make it back to present day? What would you do? How easy or hard do you think it would be to fit into life in a different century? What would be the impact on the future because your mere presence in this time zone will have an impact on some people and some situations?These are questions that are cleverly considered in this story. The considerations are subtly woven into an action packed story as we follow the main character Doyle as he's invited to join a group of people on a time travel through a particular gap, from America to London. As a mild mannered researcher, he finds himself shockingly beaten and kidnapped just when he is on his way to the spot where he expects to return to 20th century America with the rest of the group.Magic allows a man and his clone to communicate across long distances. A horrifying clown on stilts appears to rule the underworld of beggars, spies and thieves. Lord Byron is introduced .. or is he? A werewolf terrorizes the city and lives by exchange one host body for another. And who is that young boy who has a hidden secret and a determination to seek vengeance? And just who is this Master who seems to be orchestrating the chaos and what does he want?This story is filled with great surprises and will hold your attention like no other.more
An interesting look at time travel. We explore an ancient Egytian religion that possesses powerful magic capable of crossing distance and time. We see just what might happen to modern people if they find themselves suddenly thrust back unprepared to a different time period.I didn't particularly care for the main character, he seemed very self centered most of the time. I was intrigued enough to continue to follow his adventures through old England and Egypt. The Doctors Romany and Romanelli I found the most interesting. The concepts behind them were great, and their blunders seemed somewhat humorous at times.What I enjoyed the most about this book was it's brief look into consequences. What happens when we go back in time? Do we change the future? Would we know it if we did...or would our memories corrent themselves since all this has already happened anyways? It's a circular arguement that the book brushed on through most of its pages. I enjoyed it.more
If there is a central message in The Anubis Gates it is that evil always sows the seeds of its own destruction. Brendan Doyle, hapless biographer of the poets Coleridge and Ashbless, travels back in time to the England of King George III where he gets caught up in the affairs of a band of Egyptian-era magicians trying to bring about the restoration of the old magic and the old gods. In the course of simply trying to survive and find a way to return to the 20th century Doyle joins up with a band of beggars, accidentally travels even further into history, battles a sort of werewolf serial killer, and takes an involuntary side trip to Egypt. He plays out the hand fate has dealt him just trying to make it to the next chapter of his new life along the way consistently triggering events that lead to the downfall and destruction of the magicians.This is Powers's third novel, and his first really successful one. All of the elements of historical fantasy and the supernatural that are the hallmark of later novels like the Fisher King series, Declare and Three Days to Never are present. The plot is tight and well paced, with no left-over bits. All of the actions, even if they don't seem to relate at the time, are pulled back in as the plot comes full circle. This is a terrific introduction to Powers, and a book that I've loaned out so often that I've purchased a copy just for lending (and occasionally re-purchased).It is also worth noting that the poet William Ashbless is the creation of Powers and James P Blaylock when they were in college. Pieces of Ashbless's poetry appear in novels by both authors, and several collections of Ashbless poetry and prose have appeared in chapbooks. The Anubis Gates is probably the closest there is to a story of the life of the poet, although the character and personality of the poet is much more congenial in this book than in later appearances.more
Brendan Doyle is hired to act as a Coleridge expert by a wealthy millionare, who takes him through a gateway to meet the poet in the past. Powers fills this books with a fascinating cast of characters: a terrifyingly clown, a society of magicians wishing to restore the power of Egypt, a woman dressed as a man, a crew of beggars, and so on. The story is tightly plotted and I followed the journey through time with eager joy. A couple of times the writing style strayed into the confusing, and I had to go back and reread a page to make sure I was clear on what was happening, but overall I loved it.more
I gave it 100 pages & really didn't care about what was going on, so I quit. It could have been interesting, I think. The problem for me was I just didn't get any feeling for any of the characters or the situation. I wanted to, felt I should, but every time I picked up the book it was a chore & I found my mind wandering.more
What a fantastic tale. I'm not entirely sure if this qualifies as steampunk, or not. It depends, as always, on what definition one uses. Technology doesn't seem to play an important part in the story, certainly not the steam engines, or clockwork devices one normally associates with steampunk. Instead, magical powers play an important role. The pre-Victorian era also misses the mark slightly from what is normally seen. The use of real people in the story, in particular Lord Byron, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge does satisfy parts of the definition. Setting aside the steampunk status of the story, The Anubis Gates is an excellent story, and is highly recommended.more
When this turned up on BookMooch en français I decided to seize the chance to brush up my French at the same time as crossing an Apollo Award winner off my TBR list. The plan worked well. The novel is a fabulously over the top fantasy, like an extended episode of Doctor Who, only there's no Doctor to help out when the quantum mechanical (or in fact magical) time travel to the England of Coleridge and Byron, and beyond, goes horribly wrong. Or it could be likened to a Cairo Jim adventure with an organisation very like the Old Relics Society and a time-travelling Eng Lit scholar cum pseudo-werewolf in place of Geoffrey McSkimming's poet-archaeologist: it's got Egyptian gods, animated statues, history mysteries, but sadly no animal companions. It's a vastly inventive, riproaring picaresque adventure, with a lovely array of grotesque villains, some almost Shakespearean crossdressing, and much derring-do.I recommend it as a constantly surprising and delighting romp either in French or in the original "American".more
A bit... loose, it feels, like at times there are too many threads going about.A very satisfying read though.more
A whimsical, fun, time traveling, adventure. Lots of fun parts. The author can be funny at times, but the book is serious most of the time. When starting this book, i was worried as there are definitely parallels to [book:timeline], but its a much better book than that. Theres tons of characters and a handful of interwoven plot-lines, and this is good for the most part, but it can get tricky to follow at times. Great ending.more
I can see why many say this will be one of the classic time-travel books. Mr. Powers gave us wonderful and vivid characters, a great thriller plot, wonderful 19th century atmosphere, and managed the whole "changing known history paradox" issue with aplomb.more
The Anubis Gates is a fun read for the most part, although Powers seems to get into a rush in the last 60 pages. It's not just that the pace picks up; the descriptions are much sketchier, and he seems to expect us to know which of his switched bodies and minds are present. The story centers around Brendan Doyle, 20th-century academic who is recruited to serve as a subject-matter expert for a group of rich folks who are travelling back to Coleridge's time through a "time gate." Doyle is left behind and must find a way to survive and to return to his own time. He is recruited by competing bands of beggars, one of whch is linked to the Egyptian magic that facilitated his time travel. Quite a bit of chaos ensues.Overall a mostly fun, sometimes frustrating read.more
Overall this is a very creative, well-written book. While the various pieces may seem disparate, anachronistic, maybe even jarring, it all works without trouble. His research and use of historical detail is impeccable. In addition, with the time travel, there appears to be no anomalies. However, with that said, I feel that the author played it safe and I was able to easily anticipate various plot points which was rather disappointing.more
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