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Spirit Gate (Crossroads, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – October 2, 2007

42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Elliott's elaborate first entry in a projected seven-book fantasy series introduces a once prosperous but now lawless land called the Hundred. Its godlike Guardians, who dispense justice, have disappeared; the eagle-riding Reeves, who have kept the peace, have lost authority; and a mysterious, ruthless new force preys on the towns and inhabitants of the Hundred and neighboring empires. But after years of dissolute behavior, a Reeve named Joss is regaining his will to defend his land. Meanwhile, Outlanders Captain Anji; his resourceful bride, Mai; and his well-trained band of Qin soldiers come to the Hundred by necessity. Elliott (Crown of Stars) crafts complex if not wholly original characters, including strong women who persevere in repressive, nonegalitarian societies. She is equally adept at outlining intricate religions and myths. This promises to be a truly epic fantasy. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


This promises to be a truly epic fantasy. (Publishers Weekly on Spirit Gate)

A treasure for readers who enjoy the journey as much as, or more than, the destination. (Sci Fi Weekly on Spirit Gate)

Spirit Gate makes an exciting start to a new series, rich in varied characters, intriguing cultures, and subtle conflicts. (

Every once in a while, you run across a book which is wonderful in every respect, and one you can't put down. Jaran has everything a reader could want: adventure, space travel, history, romance, and intrigue. (VOYA)

Elliott's writing keeps getting better. She handles a cast roughly the size of The Iliad's and still makes each personality distinct, and she excels at depicting quiet character moments. (Starlog on The Burning Stone)

A broad, adventurous novel that draws successfully from historical fiction, SF, and even romance writing in creating its background and interpersonal tensions. (Science Fiction Chronicle on Sword of Heaven)

A rich, enthralling adventure that left me wanting more. (Locus on Sword of Heaven)

Just when you think you know where this epic is going, Ms. Elliott impressively pulls the carpet right out from under your feet and opens up dazzling new vistas for your imagination to savor. (Rave Reviews on Law of Becoming)

This engrossing saga should appeal to fantasy lovers and fans of historical epics alike. (Library Journal on Prince of Dogs)

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 722 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (October 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765349302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765349309
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate Elliott lives in Hawaii, USA. In addition to the Crossroads series and the Crown of Stars series, she is co-author of THE GOLDEN KEY.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By J. R Weaver VINE VOICE on November 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes, if you're willing to invest the time and money in an author, hoping for something good, you're eventually satisfied. This was my experience with Kate Elliott. I thought her Jaran books were pretty decent - nothing spectacular, but good enough to get me to purchase King's Dragon, the first book in her Crown of Stars series.

...And that's where I started to lose faith. That was a Jordan-esque behemoth of a series that would've worked ten times better as a trilogy or even just a duology.

I never would've bought Spirit Gate, after having suffered through book one and part of book two of Crown of Stars. So it is fortunate that it (Spirit Gate) was given to me as a gift, or I never could have gotten to enjoy it. Even though it promises to be the start of another 7-book series (oh my god, AGAIN??), this one is so much more entertaining. The setting is a nice blend of the familiar and the strange, without being so far-out just for the sake of being far-out. The characters are nicely done, just sympathetic enough to have me rooting for them (especially poor Joss), and at the same time they are not portrayed as super-men and -women. There is also much left unsaid about the main characters, enough to keep me in suspense, but not so much that I felt cheated when I finished this first book.

The Eagles are a very nice touch; it's been a while since I've seen the trope of fantastic-animals-as-steeds handled this well. Especially imaginative is the hang-glider-like rig used to 'steer' them. Cool visuals.

So... even though I have to invest yet more time, money, and energy into ANOTHER multi-part publishing/marketing frenzy, at least this time I can do it with a clearer conscience. And thank god, Elliott writes much faster than George Martin. :D
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on October 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ms. Elliott has established a fair reputation with her Jaran series and the Crown of Stars set. This book looks like it might be the start of another incredibly long series. In and of itself, long stories are not a problem, as they allow the author to properly set the scene, build up all the little details of the world, and explore the characters in depth, and there's a lot of that set-up work done in this novel. Much of this is quite good, as she gives us a look at not one but multiple different societies, each with their own culture, habits, gods, and idiosyncrasies, along with a fairly nice reworking of the old trope of giant flying creatures capable of hauling people around with her eagles that are at least a little less unbelievable than the fire-breathing dragons that inhabit too many fantasies.

However, there becomes just too much of this background and scene setting. Every time someone walks down the street, every detail of that street needs to remarked upon, every peddler, beggar, fruit stand, scent, and building. The world mythology is detailed multiple times, frequently with the exact same words. After a while, this continuous descriptive work becomes overwhelming and smothers the story. In a planned series of books, I don't expect the first book to have a great amount of story/plot development, but here I found only enough to really occupy about a 200 hundred page book. As it actually runs to over 400 pages, that's a lot of filler.

Her character development is good, with enough depth given to several characters to make me care about what happens to them, and I found these people to be generally likable even with their obvious character flaws. The problems her characters face grow naturally from the environment and the starting premise of the book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael McKee on January 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is as finely written a fantasy as I've read in years. I can only think of a couple of other authors who have matched the richness and depth of this work. Characters are alive, complex and totally individual. The world building has such a depth and substance that this tapestry of lands becomes hauntingly real. The complex interweaving of subplots moves the story along with rare skill and pacing. If this isn't nominated for an award, I'd be shocked.

I found large parts of her last series, The Crown of Stars of almost this quality but I fear that the other reviewer was right, it became sprawling and out of control. I hope that this lovely start can maintain its momentum. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Spirit Gate" is the beginning of a seven-volume fantasy starring circuit court judges called reeves, who fly from court house to court house aboard gigantic eagles. The setting is sort of Oriental-medieval and the action begins in a land called the Hundred, although it quickly moves to other countries and Empires. Nine super-human Guardians once protected the Hundred and dispensed justice, but they've disappeared and the reeves are on their own against some very poisonous enemies.

Then the reeves and their eagles start to disappear.

This fantasy novel is a multi-viewpoint affair, sometimes confusingly so. There are enough love stories to warrant reviews in the romance blogs as well as "Sci Fi Weekly" and "Publishers' Weekly." The life-styles of the reeves, merchant families, mercenary soldiers, priestesses, and bonded servants are minutely detailed. There is lots of sex and violence--enough to require parental guidance if "Spirit Gate" were a movie, but not enough lingering close-ups for an `X.'

Except for the monstrous eagles, there is very little magic in this first volume. The reader is treated to careful world-building, as multiple characters travel hither and yon, building relationships, and fighting shadow-armies. A once peaceful land is toppled from its golden age into war and chaos. The peasants are slaughtered like sheep. Farms and villages are set to the torch, almost with impunity, until the reeves and an outcast band of mercenary soldiers begin to organize and fight back.

I found "Spirit Gate" a little slow in places, especially when the viewpoint switched to yet another new character. I also would have preferred a few more touches of fantasy.
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