Book Review: The Anubis Gates by Powers (3 Stars)

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

3 out of 5 stars

Read in October 2008

Warning: Spoilers

Brendan Doyle is a biographer and researcher specializing in poetry and prose of the early 19th century. In fact, it’s his knowledge of Coleridge and the obscure contemporary William Ashbless that leads Doyle into his time traveling adventure. An eccentric named Darrow has discovered a method of time travel. To secure venture capital for his personal scheme, he sells tickets to a Coleridge lecture in 1810. Doyle is hired as the Coleridge expert brought along to prep the audience.

The party arrives successfully in London in 1810 and convinces Coleridge to give an impromptu lecture. Darrow had misinformation about the date of the “real” lecture. At the conclusion of the lecture, Doyle is sent to fetch the carriages and is kidnapped.

His kidnappers are ancient Egyptian priests with a master plan to destroy the English (and the French) in order to restore the Egyptian gods (and their powers which provide the source of their sorcerous endeavors).

We follow Doyle as he barely escapes with his life and his efforts to return to 1983 (where he came from originally). He is continually confronted with danger and mysteries, especially in his hunt for Ashbless. He even manages to contract pneumonia, but his “saved” from that fate when his body is snatched by one of the Egyptians who is cursed with a werewolf-like malady after a failed attempt to force the return of the ancient Egyptian gods.

Eventually, Doyle (in a different body now) is drawn into resisting and actively battling the Egyptians and their master (confined in Cairo).

I had some difficulty connecting with most of the characters in this story. I had hopes that I would at least be drawn in by Elizabeth because of her efforts to disguise her gender and avenge her fiance’ but the different points of view was disrupting. The action was exciting and the horror elements weren’t overdone or overwhelming. Perhaps by not staying with one character or one location or even one time for very long, I just didn’t have time to connect with the characters.

An interesting twist to the time travel formula with some good action, horror and a bit of humor and irony.

GR Status Updates:

10/22/2008 page 7 1.81% “Started yesterday, still in the Prologue of Book One “The Face Under the Fur.””
10/22/2008 page 28 7.24% “Finished the Prologue. I’m now in the middle of chapter one.”
10/24/2008 page 48 12.4% “In the middle of chapter 2.”
10/25/2008 page 56 14.47% “Still in the middle of chapter 2.”
10/25/2008 page 88 22.74% “In the middle of chapter 4.”
10/25/2008 page 101 26.1% “Starting chapter 5.”
10/25/2008 page 111 28.68% “In the midst of chapter 5.”
10/26/2008 page 127 32.82% “Starting chapter 6.”
10/26/2008 page 146 37.73% “In the midst of chapter 6.”
10/26/2008 page 157 40.57% “Starting chapter 7.”
10/26/2008 page 199 51.42% “Finished Book One. Starting Book Two “The Twelve Hours of Night” and am in the middle of chapter 8.”
10/26/2008 page 212 54.78% “Still in the middle of chapter 8. Off to bed for the night.”
10/27/2008 page 225 58.14% “Starting chapter 9. Powers writes very long chapters.”
10/27/2008 page 238 61.5% “In the middle of chapter 9. I was hoping to get more reading done at lunch, but work interfered.”
10/28/2008 page 277 71.58% “In the midst of chapter 10.”
10/29/2008 page 303 78.29% “Starting chapter 12.”
10/29/2008 page 387 100.0% “Finished!”