Science Fiction Book Review


The Anubis Gates

(1983 / 2005 edition) Tim Powers, Gollancz, 7.99, pbk, 464pp, ISBN 0-575-07725-5

 

The Anubis Gates was first published in 1983 and somewhat speaks for itself in that it has now (2005) been republished as a part of the 'Fantasy Masterworks' series from Gollancz. Tim Powers is a highly respected fantasy writer who has been the recipient of numerous awards since the publication of his first novels Epitaph In Rust and The Skies Discrowned (aka Forsake the Sky), his first being the Philip K Dick Memorial Award in 1984 for The Anubis Gates.

The book is a complex, fast-paced story spanning the timeline from the early nineteenth century to the modern day. Its primary focus in the early 1800's however gives it an ageless quality which keeps the work fresh and timeless. The story follows Brendan Doyle, an expert on the life and works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who accompanies a band of time-travelling tourists to a lecture given by Coleridge in 1810. Doyle becomes stranded in olde London when his party return to the present day without him and he embarks on a gruelling mission to find his way home and to hopefully meet up with William Ashbless, a little known poet, about whom Doyle is writing a biography, due to arrive in London only days after Doyle's arrival. Along the way he encounters many colourful characters the likes of which have only previously been immortalised by Charles Dickens. To add to Doyle's crisis, he is also pursued by the henchmen of ancient Egyptian sorcerers!

The Anubis Gates races along at breakneck speed, it twists and turns on each and every page. The characters are colourful and, in cases, grotesque, to such a degree that its impossible not to create a distinct vision of them in your mind's eye. From the beginning to the final page it is an addictive read which you simply cannot put down. This book is truly a Fantasy Masterwork which, quite simply, should be required reading for all.

Julie Haves


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