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Hell's Gate (BOOK 1 in new MULTIVERSE series) (Multiverse Wars) Mass Market Paperback – April 29, 2008

92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Magic and high tech collide in this exciting military SF novel from bestseller Weber (War of Honor) and Evans (Far Edge of Darkness), the first of a new series. Two human societies, the Sharona and the Union of Arcana, have evolved in parallel universes without encountering another civilization, human or otherwise. The Sharona exhibit a level of technology roughly analogous to the late 19th century, with psionic abilities thrown in for seasoning, but the Arcana have harnessed magical energies down to the consumer level. Astonishingly, it's the magical society that suffers the greater shock when one of their companies encounters a small Sharona civilian survey team and is almost annihilated by the enemy's repeating firearms. The authors treat both societies sympathetically and realistically, with human vices and virtues evenly distributed. The narrative bogs down slightly under the weight of the world building necessary for later installments, but is uncompromising in sacrificing even strong, sympathetic characters to the demands of the plot. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author


David Weber
is author of the New York Times best-selling Honor Harrington series as well as Path of the Fury, Mutineers’ Moon and The Armageddon Inheritance and other popular novels. With Steve White, he is the author of Insurrection, Crusade, In Death Ground, and the New York Times best seller The Shiva Option, all novels based on his Starfire SF strategy game. His latest New YorkTimes best seller is 1634: The Baltic War, a collaboration with Eric Flint (Baen).

Linda Evans is coauthor with John Ringo of The Road to Damascus and with Robert Asprin of four novels in the Time Scout series for Baen, and has also collaborated with Asprin on the recent For King & Country. An expert on weapons both modern and ancient, she puts her expertise to good use in her science fiction. She has also written the novel Far Edge of Darkness (Baen), and several short novels for volumes in Baen’s popular Bolo series. She lives in Archer, FL.
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Product Details

  • Series: Multiverse Wars (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 1248 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416555412
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416555414
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,006,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Lynch Jr on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first fifty pages of this book sucked. I was ready to toss the book out the window. Good thing you can't open windows on the airplane.

It's the first book in a series about the multiverse. It's basically a chain of universes linked together by portals with the same planet at it's center. At one end of the chain are the Arcanans, a universe where the code of magic has been broken and is used for everyday life. At the other end of the chain are the Sharonans. They use technology of the 1880's. The laws of physics apply in that neck of the wood. Except they have a high percentage of telepaths. The Sharonans are up to steam power and gunpowder and are working on oil.

The two civilizations meet at one of the portals, which they call Hell's Gate because of all the shooting involved from both sides.

Why did I hate the first fifty pages. My god did they need editing. It was page after page of exposition and tangents. Both authors felt the pressing need to tell us everything about everyone. I can understand the need to explain the world and it's people, but it never let up. They'd be in the middle of an action sequence and suddenly it was time to talk about the main Sharonan women's mother and father and how she was an ambassador to the cetaceans and how she lived on this spit of land near the ocean and there was a bell the dolphins could ring to get her attention and her father and it would not stop. You forgot what the hell was going on by the time you got back from the byway. It was like a first novel without an editor.

They eventually toned the exposition down but it would creep in through out the novel. Isn't it better to do things in novels rather than talk about them?

Eventually the action moved forward and the pace picked up.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Brian K. McCrary on January 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a few other reviewers have noted, this book bogs down repeatedly on endless expositions about the nature of the two different multiverses and their diverse cultures. The problem is that by the time you're halfway through the book you practically need a Clifnote edition just to keep track of who's who and what's happening next. And after what seems like the 37th exposition about how long it takes to travel from one end of the multiverse to the other it's to the point of "Get ON with it!"

All in all, wait until you can pick this up cheap. It's not worth the full hardcover price; it's not even worth half that. Considering I am normally one of David Weber's biggest fans, that's saying a lot.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By John L on March 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I just managed to plod through this first of a new series, and I must say that I find it less than enjoyable. W Boudville's review of the book is quite appropriate here. I agree that it is much like the war in the Pacific, and most of his further description.

My biggest gripes were the sheer complexity of the names: I could not keep track of them as I would have liked. And what makes this so perplexing is that the use of current time, volume, and distance are in our language, yet the names are not. This is a bit far fetched. Further, the lack of maps or indexes are frustrating, because the book is very difficult to keep complete track of all the kingdoms and worlds. Certainly not advantageous to a good series.

Here is something that I did not see mentioned by others: the blending of fiction and fantasy. I am Not a fan of fantasy, so I find the use of 'magic' to be not to my liking. I will probably take a raincheck on further books in the series. I have been noticing that this blend of science fiction and fantasy seems to be going strong within the Bean Books world of late. Even John Ringo, and some others have preceeded Weber, and I have not bothered to take the bait there either. Sorry, but I will stick to more mainstream SF.

Fortunately, I did not spend any money on this book, but checked it out from the library. Money well saved.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Josh Freeman on December 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What started out as an interesting idea turned into a chore to read. Whenever they threw in the made up names for the various places on the two "earths" the flow of the story came to a screaching halt with my mind struggling to put together the clues that pointed to where on our Earth the action was taking place.

It was over 500 pages into the book before they described what the Arcanan military titles actually meant. Which is to say that the book was nearly done and they were still setting up the universe. You'd think that after 800 pages something would have been accomplished but it feels like it was only the prelude.

The novel could easily have been edited down to half it's current length without hurting the story. I eventually just started skimming through the second half only stopping when interesting things were happening and I don't feel I missed much.

I would not recomend this novel to Weber fans.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David A. Farnham on December 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to like this book. I REALLY wanted to like this book. From prior reviews and the plot description, it seemed to have at least the potential to rival Keith Laumer's "Worlds of the Imperium" series or H. Beam Piper's "Paratime" series.

Instead, upon opening the book, I was greeted with a mass of made-up names reminiscent of 1940's SF--BAD 1940's SF--to the point where I was unable to figure out who was whom. Add to this a hefty dose of military minutae, rank titles that seem to have been borrowed from the Romans, and a plot that really doesn't move at any great pace, and no evidence of any divergent cultures (or any cultures) in the mass of parallel worlds and my disappointment only grew and grew. I found it difficult to identify enough with any of the characters to really care what happened to them, and totally confused by the alternate worlds setup and unable to see how it worked.

This book would have greatly benefited from a cast of characters (as in Mr. Weber's "Shadow of Saganami") and a diagram of the parallel world branchings. If we could be provided with star maps in the Honor Harrington books, I don't see why such a diagram could not be given here.

The Honor Harrington series now runs to eleven or twelve books, plus many short stories. If future books in this series are the same as this one, for the sake of both readers and trees, I hope the series will be a short one.
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