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The Anubis Gates (Ace Science Fiction) Paperback – January 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Author Tim Powers evokes 17th-century England with a combination of meticulously researched historic detail and imaginative flights in this sci-fi tale of time travel. Winner of the 1984 Philip K. Dick Award for best original science fiction paperback, this 1989 edition of the book that took the fantasy world by storm is the first hardcover version to be published in the United States. In his brief introduction, Ramsey Campbell sets The Anubis Gates in an adventure context, citing Powers's achievement of "extraordinary scenes of underground horror, of comedy both high and grotesque, of bizarre menace, of poetic fantasy."

The colonization of Egypt by western European powers is the launch point for power plays and machinations. Steeping together in this time-warp stew are such characters as an unassuming Coleridge scholar, ancient gods, wizards, the Knights Templar, werewolves, and other quasi-mortals, all wrapped in the organizing fabric of Egyptian mythology. In the best of fantasy traditions, the reluctant heroes fight for survival against an evil that lurks beneath the surface of their everyday lives. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Tim Powers was born in 1952; the son of an attorney. He graduated from California State University in 1976 and since then has written more than a dozen highly acclaimed and award-winning novels, including the Fantasy Masterwork THE DRAWING OF THE DARK. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"The Arrows of Time"
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Product Details

  • Series: Ace Science Fiction
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441004016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441004010
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 150 people found the following review helpful By shel99 on January 31, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first Tim Powers book I've ever picked up. It definitely won't be the last. 'Anubis Gates' is the best time travel story that I've ever read. I should mention, in the name of honesty, that I haven't read a lot of time travel books, because I am easily irritated by paradoxes that aren't resolved, cliches, and "scientific" explanations that don't make any sense. 'Anubis Gates' has none of these problems. I am in awe of the way that Powers neatly wrapped up every single loose end without making it feel contrived.
'Anubis Gates' takes you back to the early nineteenth century in London, with a quick jaunt to the mid-1600s in the middle of the book. The main character, Brendan Doyle, is a scholar who is researching the biography of the poet William Ashbless, hired to accompany a group of paying passengers back in time from 1983 to see a lecture by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I was very curious to see how Powers handled the paradox of changing a history that had already happened - and, to be honest, a bit skeptical that he would be able to satisfy me. I was pleasantly surprised. The paradoxes resolve themselves so neatly that it made me pause and think, "maybe this *is* what happened". The thread of Egyptian mythology that ties the story together makes the suspension of disbelief easy, since Powers isn't trying to convince you that the technology for time-travel actually existed in 1983, rather he is relying on a mysticism that has been around for millenia. And the ending was just perfect.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I can't wait to read more of what Powers has written.
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89 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kozlowski on August 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
When I started reading this book, my first reaction was, "Wow, what great atmosphere!" Egyptian magic, Coleridge, eighteenth-century England, secret societies... atmosphere abounds. But the thing about atmosphere is, it works well for the first half of a book, when the writer can get by with obscure intimations; but eventually, the book has to let you know what's going on -- and that's the point when many atmosphere-heavy books dissolve into an inchoate and incoherent mess. Because while it's easy to throw together a bunch of really cool elements and hint at secret plans and intricate plots, it's a lot harder to tie all those disparate elements up with all those ominous hints; and it's harder yet to make the revealed story live up to its veiled promise.
I stress the difficulty of this task, because it's all the more remarkable that Powers pulls it all off. The time travel, the mysticism, the historical figures -- it all works. When Powers finally pulls the veil away, what's underneath is just as intricate and rich as the reader has imagined -- and it makes perfect sense. That's an impressive trick indeed. This is the kind of book I really enjoy: it's complex enough to rise above the level of fluff, but still possesses the pace, wit, and joie de libre that make fluff so attractive.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Trubes on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
After recently posting a review of Crichton's "Timeline" in which I compared the book not too favorably with "The Anubis Gates," I decided to skim through the latter again in order to post a review of it. Well, that lasted about one page, after which I was sucked in again completely and read the thing cover to cover. Wow! Even after repeated readings, Powers' tale of a mild mannered English Professor from 1983 who finds himself marooned in early 19th century Britain still manages to dazzle.
Brendan Doyle, after agreeing to take a mysterious but high paying gig to give a lecture about Samuel Taylor Coleridge, embarks on what was to be a four hour tour to London in 1810 in order to hear Coleridge speak at a pub. Things begin to go awry almost immediately when Doyle is waylaid by a band of Gypsies led by an evil Egyptian sorcerer who is in league with a vivisectionist clown to overthrow the English Monarchy. And then there is the intriguing and astonishing figure of William Ashbless, a minor poet and colleague of Lord Byron and Coleridge whom Powers manages to portray in vivid detail, weaving him convincingly into the fabric of the story. This brief description does little justice to the book, though. Powers' plot and pacing are phenomenally tight, and his characterizations engaging. There are moments of genuine pathos here, interspersed with deliciously macabre scenes. This is a brilliant book that deserves a place at the top of any time travel or science fiction best-of list.
--TR--
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Phrodoe on January 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Tim Powers is, to put it plainly, the best fantasist working in the genre. Period. One read of The Anubis Gates will prove it to anybody's satisfaction; I know it's done so for me. My God, what a book. Simply the ideas of time travel and dopplegangers that Powers puts forth here (not to mention his teriffic eye for Victorian Period detail, and his brilliant, believable characterizations of notable figures of the time) are a delight. Unfortunately, I can't talk too much about the plot without giving it away and ruining the immense pleasure reading this book for the first time will give you. I can speak in generalizations, however -- such as the manner in which Powers' protagonist becomes unstuck in time, which is so pedantic as to be wholly believable; or Powers' expert pacing and timing, which help the novel to tick away like Swiss clockwork; Powers' delicious sense of atmosphere and mood, which add to the Victorian setting just the right flavor of danger and eerie magic bubbling just under the surface of things; Powers' understanding that human beings are frail creatures, especially in the time period he's writing about (when his characters get hurt, man, they HURT!); Powers' impeccable plotting. And it is this last, most of all, that makes The Anubis Gates what it is -- for as fans of the fantasy and science fiction genres know, time travel is very difficult to write about effectively, and only the very talented can make even a conditional success of the job. Powers is one of the best -- rather than leave behind all manner of loose ends and creating more paradox than closure with his story, Powers instead makes sure that everything is tied up by the novel's last line. Everything that happens in Anubis Gates happens for a reason, and nothing, not a moment, is wasted on unnecessary business.Read more ›
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