The Anubis Gates Paperback
by Tim Powers
Part of the Fantasy Masterworks series
Brendan Doyle is a twentieth-century English professor who travels back to 1810 London to attend a lecture given by English romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
This is a London filled with deformed clowns, organised beggar societies, insane homunculi and magic. When he is kidnapped by gypsies and consequently misses his return trip to 1983, the mild-mannered Doyle is forced to become a street-smart con man, escape artist, and swordsman in order to survive in the dark and treacherous London underworld.
He defies bullets, black magic, murderous beggars, freezing waters, imprisonment in mutant-infested dungeons, poisoning, and even a plunge back to 1684. Coleridge himself and poet Lord Byron make appearances in the novel, which also features a poor tinkerer who creates genetic monsters and a werewolf that inhabits others' bodies when his latest becomes too hairy.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 464 pages
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date: 08/09/2005
- Category: Fantasy
- ISBN: 9780575077256
Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.
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Review by wyvernfriend
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.
Review by ghilbrae
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.
Review by CatyM
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.
Review by salimbol
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).
Review by Shimmin
A pretty decent story all told. It has a lot of atmosphere and its slightly convoluted structure gives it a bit of the feeling that the protagonist would probably have with keeping times and identities in order. There's a reasonable dose of (mostly Victorian) grime and grimness that manages to do its thing in the story and convey the very sinister and wretched things that Doyle is dragged into, without falling into offputting grimdark. There's some onstage gore and darkness, but generally they're narrated rather than depicted. There are some very enjoyable weird people and mystical elements, which felt novel to me. On the whole, decent but not stellar writing; it's a little bit heavy at times and not always entirely clear, which is an issue with a complex story with some very similar characters. Could maybe have been shorter and punchier; sometimes feels like Powers wasn't sure whether he wanted an action-packed yarn or a heavy atmospheric story.The story itself is reasonable, though I always worry about time-travel plots because they're easy to do badly. In this case I think Powers managed a respectable plot that didn't disappear up its own rear end or turn into Exposition Central, and tied itself up neatly, though I wasn't always clear on what was going on. I got the sense there were slightly too many characters, though. There were also some aspects that I found predictable as soon as I worked out what kind of story it was: the enigmatic historical figure is bound to be yourself in the past, for example, and the compulsion to work in several historical figures is apparently irresistable (though Powers does it reasonably). As far as I can work out we never find out who the Master was, and I slightly feel that there was just enough Egyptian magic in the story to make it strange that there isn't more about it, especially given one major scene. Finally, there's precisely one female character worth mentioning, and while she has a couple of decent scenes I'd have preferred it without the obligatory rape threats. I'm glad I've read it but I don't think I'll feel the urge to reread it.
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