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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 Jan 1, 1997
ISBN: 9781101575895
List price: $13.99
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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.read more
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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.read more
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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.read more
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This is a time travel novel with many twists and a cast of very unusual characters. American Professor Brendan Doyle is asked to come to England to lecture on Samuel Taylor Coleridge by an eccentric millionaire. When he arrives he discovers that the lecture is just the beginning of a time travel vacation package for a group of rich intellectuals. Doyle gets lost in 1810 London where he meets Coleridge, an evil clown beggar king, a young woman disguised as a boy, a body snatching werewolf, a sorcerer and his duplicate, and Lord Byron. There are Egyptian gods, magicians and monsters. The action is fast and furious. Will he be able to get back to his own time or will he live out his life in the past?There is a lot of foreshadowing based on Doyle’s knowledge of past events. Character’s move in and out of the storyline becoming more important or less important as the story unfolds. This keeps the momentum going as you realize who people are and how they fit in the novel. This book will keep you guessing until the very rewarding end.read more
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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.read more
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One of my all-time favorite books.read more
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This is one of those books that is hard to review because to give too much away would be to spoil it for someone reading the book for the first time. Let's just say this is one of my favorite-ever time travel/fantasy novels. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it and I still marvel at the intricacy of the plot. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.read more
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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.read more
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Interesting book that starts with time travel and moves to a group of egyptians trying to change history. The main character, Brendan Doyle is a specialist in he work of an early-nineteenth-century poet called William Ashbless is invited to guide time-travelling tourists who are going to a lecture by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.It's a book that takes a long time to get started and then moves quickly. An interesting story but just not my mileage. I'm not sorry I read it but it's not a keeper.read more
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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.read more
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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.read more
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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.read more
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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.read more
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Lots of great concepts here: time travel; ancient magicians; genetic manipulation; body swapping and spirit projection; fully independent clones; elemental spirits; gender bending; interaction with historical figures ... and this is just one novel! This was my first Tim Powers book, and I'm going to look for more. Excellent!read more
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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.read more
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Wonderful story—absolutely thrilling. A classic. It's so good you can almost ignore the often flabby writing.read more
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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".read more
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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.read more
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The only time travel book I've ever read that actually makes sense.read more
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The Anubis Gates wins a couple of stars for the sheer wacky exuberance of its time travel + underground-dwelling mutant monsters + cool Egyptian magic stuff + werewolves + dashing poet gets the girl plot. Oh, and it’s got some elements of historical fiction, too, as most of the book takes place in early 19th-century London. And I’ll add a half-star for a couple of very fun characters.But this is a badly-written book. Yes, the unbelievably complicated plot does get sorted out in the end, but lordy, could Tim Powers have used a competent editor. He exerts little control over the pacing of the scenes and vignettes that ultimately constitute the vast, vast, vast sweep of his broader narrative. Some are quite good, especially at the beginning of the book, but later on they get shorter and shorter, as his desire to develop them seems to flag in the need to keep the giant plot machine churning, and eventually reach an ending.There are just too many of these vignettes on display here. They get repetitive. How many times does our hero escape a fix by floating out in a stream/river/sewer/other body of flowing water? How many times does a confrontation in a public house descend into a chaotic brawl? Sometimes less is more, even in all-for-fun fantasy fiction like this.read more
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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.read more
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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.read more
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A rollicking read, but terribly awfully predictable all along the line. As usual with Powers, the system of magic is structured, but not too much so -- if there's one thing he does perfectly, it's that particular type of world-building.One interesting quirk: it's a time-travel story in the "fixed fate" style, where the traveler who enters the past to change events finds that their intervention brings about exactly the future they know. But Powers manages to keep the pressure on even the characters with foreknowledge, via a couple of clever tricks. (Mild spoilers follow.)The Egyption-style magic includes a spell creating a "ka": a copy of someone, with its own independant life, but (if properly grown) also with all the memories of the original. (Tangentially: I'd have expected this to be a "shabti", the replacement you send out to do your work for you in the Lands of the Dead. But anyway.) Also, there exists the possibility to project your spirit --permanently-- into a new body. Which means that knowing the historical details of what happened to who isn't enough any more: you still have to worry about whether it was really them or just a replaceable ka, and even, whether the spirit inhabiting the body was the original or not. It's a clever way of leaving the characters their freedom, while at the same time tying the plot down to a historical course of events.Now you know the trick though, you don't necessarily have to read the novel for it.read more
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I decided to read this book (which had languished unread on my shelves for a long time) after Tim Powers was announced as a guest for LX, Eastercon 2009. I'd previously read 'Last Call' which didn't impress me at all, but the convention made me decide to give him a second try.I'm glad I did - I enjoyed this book a lot more than the other. It's a cheerful romp through Egyptian mythology, historical London, time travel, poetry and beggars guilds. Some parts of the plot are more plausible than others. I confess to being unable to suspend disbelief during the bit involving the Mameluke Turks (the event referred to is historical, but the protagonists involvement is forced, to say the least).I like the character of William Ashbless, and was slightly frustrated to discover that the writer had created him, as I rather enjoyed the quotes from his poetry and was looking forward to reading all of "The Twelve Hours of the Night"!The story is pretty well researched, but you know the writer is American when his character hears tree frogs in England!read more
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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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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.read more
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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.read more
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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).read more
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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.read more
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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.read more
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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.
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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.
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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.
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This is a time travel novel with many twists and a cast of very unusual characters. American Professor Brendan Doyle is asked to come to England to lecture on Samuel Taylor Coleridge by an eccentric millionaire. When he arrives he discovers that the lecture is just the beginning of a time travel vacation package for a group of rich intellectuals. Doyle gets lost in 1810 London where he meets Coleridge, an evil clown beggar king, a young woman disguised as a boy, a body snatching werewolf, a sorcerer and his duplicate, and Lord Byron. There are Egyptian gods, magicians and monsters. The action is fast and furious. Will he be able to get back to his own time or will he live out his life in the past?There is a lot of foreshadowing based on Doyle’s knowledge of past events. Character’s move in and out of the storyline becoming more important or less important as the story unfolds. This keeps the momentum going as you realize who people are and how they fit in the novel. This book will keep you guessing until the very rewarding end.
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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.
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One of my all-time favorite books.
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This is one of those books that is hard to review because to give too much away would be to spoil it for someone reading the book for the first time. Let's just say this is one of my favorite-ever time travel/fantasy novels. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it and I still marvel at the intricacy of the plot. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.
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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.
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Interesting book that starts with time travel and moves to a group of egyptians trying to change history. The main character, Brendan Doyle is a specialist in he work of an early-nineteenth-century poet called William Ashbless is invited to guide time-travelling tourists who are going to a lecture by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.It's a book that takes a long time to get started and then moves quickly. An interesting story but just not my mileage. I'm not sorry I read it but it's not a keeper.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Lots of great concepts here: time travel; ancient magicians; genetic manipulation; body swapping and spirit projection; fully independent clones; elemental spirits; gender bending; interaction with historical figures ... and this is just one novel! This was my first Tim Powers book, and I'm going to look for more. Excellent!
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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.
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Wonderful story—absolutely thrilling. A classic. It's so good you can almost ignore the often flabby writing.
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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".
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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.
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The only time travel book I've ever read that actually makes sense.
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The Anubis Gates wins a couple of stars for the sheer wacky exuberance of its time travel + underground-dwelling mutant monsters + cool Egyptian magic stuff + werewolves + dashing poet gets the girl plot. Oh, and it’s got some elements of historical fiction, too, as most of the book takes place in early 19th-century London. And I’ll add a half-star for a couple of very fun characters.But this is a badly-written book. Yes, the unbelievably complicated plot does get sorted out in the end, but lordy, could Tim Powers have used a competent editor. He exerts little control over the pacing of the scenes and vignettes that ultimately constitute the vast, vast, vast sweep of his broader narrative. Some are quite good, especially at the beginning of the book, but later on they get shorter and shorter, as his desire to develop them seems to flag in the need to keep the giant plot machine churning, and eventually reach an ending.There are just too many of these vignettes on display here. They get repetitive. How many times does our hero escape a fix by floating out in a stream/river/sewer/other body of flowing water? How many times does a confrontation in a public house descend into a chaotic brawl? Sometimes less is more, even in all-for-fun fantasy fiction like this.
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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.
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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.
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A rollicking read, but terribly awfully predictable all along the line. As usual with Powers, the system of magic is structured, but not too much so -- if there's one thing he does perfectly, it's that particular type of world-building.One interesting quirk: it's a time-travel story in the "fixed fate" style, where the traveler who enters the past to change events finds that their intervention brings about exactly the future they know. But Powers manages to keep the pressure on even the characters with foreknowledge, via a couple of clever tricks. (Mild spoilers follow.)The Egyption-style magic includes a spell creating a "ka": a copy of someone, with its own independant life, but (if properly grown) also with all the memories of the original. (Tangentially: I'd have expected this to be a "shabti", the replacement you send out to do your work for you in the Lands of the Dead. But anyway.) Also, there exists the possibility to project your spirit --permanently-- into a new body. Which means that knowing the historical details of what happened to who isn't enough any more: you still have to worry about whether it was really them or just a replaceable ka, and even, whether the spirit inhabiting the body was the original or not. It's a clever way of leaving the characters their freedom, while at the same time tying the plot down to a historical course of events.Now you know the trick though, you don't necessarily have to read the novel for it.
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I decided to read this book (which had languished unread on my shelves for a long time) after Tim Powers was announced as a guest for LX, Eastercon 2009. I'd previously read 'Last Call' which didn't impress me at all, but the convention made me decide to give him a second try.I'm glad I did - I enjoyed this book a lot more than the other. It's a cheerful romp through Egyptian mythology, historical London, time travel, poetry and beggars guilds. Some parts of the plot are more plausible than others. I confess to being unable to suspend disbelief during the bit involving the Mameluke Turks (the event referred to is historical, but the protagonists involvement is forced, to say the least).I like the character of William Ashbless, and was slightly frustrated to discover that the writer had created him, as I rather enjoyed the quotes from his poetry and was looking forward to reading all of "The Twelve Hours of the Night"!The story is pretty well researched, but you know the writer is American when his character hears tree frogs in England!
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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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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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