Monday, March 8, 2010

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Posted by Lilith at Monday, March 08, 2010

Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates

The 1983 Philip K. Dick Award and 1984 Science Fiction Chronicle Award winning novel, The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers is an excellent time travel fantasy book that mixes real historical events and mythical creatures like a werewolf, Egyptian gods and magic.

The Anubis Gates summary

I think it's a really fun time travel adventure. In the book, Brendan Doyle is a quick-witted scholar who accepts an eccentric billionaire's offer to go and meet the famous Samuel Taylor Coleridge by traveling back to the past as a tour group's resident expert on Romantic poets.

Time travel is possible because a mad Egyptian sorcerer, desperate to regain Egypt's independence, had tried to open a gate back to the ancient time when the Egyptian gods were at their peak power. This attempt failed but it did open portals in time at various locations and times.

Through a series of events, Doyle gets trapped back in time and has to survive as bets he can with the sorcerer's underlings after him. I particularly liked the beggars. I can't say more for fear of spoiling your reading pleasure but the beggar scenes were pretty unforgettable.

Doyle seems to be an average kind of guy but quick-witted and with a god survival instinct. He isn't particularly smart, strong or skilled  but he isn't dumb or a pushover. As a character, I felt a bit sorry for him for all the trouble he has all the time but I don't really feel that much for him. The romantic elements are a bit silly, in my opinion, but it is thankfully a rather minor note in the novel.

The Anubis Gates has a little bit of everything in it like time travel, spells, minions, evil sorcerers, secret orders, criminal undergrounds and such. What really stands out here is the lovely and surreal mixture of myth, history, danger and magic. Tim Powers does his research and I must say that the past world in the novel feels very real and not at all dreamlike despite the many fantastic elements in it.

All in all, a standalone fantasy novel well worth reading.

The Anubis Gates Quote

When they'd gone the old man turned around to watch the sun's slow descent. The Boat of Millions of Years, he thought; the boat of the dying sungod Ra, tacking down the western sky to the source of the dark river that runs through the underworld from west to east, through the twelve hours of the night, at the far eastern end of which the boat will tomorrow reappear, bearing a once again youthful, newly reignited sun.

Or, he thought bitterly, removed from us by a distance the universe shouldn't even be able to encompass, it's a vast motionless globe of burning gas, around which this little ball of a planet rolls like a pellet of dung propelled by a kephera beetle.

Take your pick, he told himself as he started slowly down the hill ... But be willing to die for your choice.

The Basics

What it has

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, beggars, monsters,  giants, dwarves, food, wine, London, underground, criminals, time travel, fated love, disguises Egyptian gods, werewolves, hair, revenge, guns

What it doesn't have

vampires, breakfast cereal, wands, spaceships, aliens, light sabers, cute furry monsters, Austin Powers


Post a Comment


Lilith's Fantasy Book Reviews Copyright © 2010 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template Sponsored by Online Shop Vector by Artshare