Book Review: The Anubis Gates

The Anubis Gates book cover
The Anubis Gates
Tim Powers
1983
★★★★★

(Listened to audiobook)

If you’ve never read Tim Pow­ers, this is the novel to start with. I love his “se­cret his­to­ries”, where he finds pock­ets of his­tory with real-life un­ex­plained oc­cur­rences, then gives them a fan­tas­ti­cal ex­pla­na­tion. I love his char­ac­ters, es­pe­cially in this book. His plots are twisty and fun.

The Anubis Gates fol­lows the ad­ven­tures of Bren­dan Doyle, 19th-cen­tury po­etry scholar. When Doyle gets stuck in 19th-cen­tury Lon­don, his ef­forts to sur­vive are threat­ened when he’s caught in the mid­dle of a mag­i­cal in­trigue.

If there’s a neg­a­tive, it’s that the book is too short. Pow­ers packs so many great ideas into his books; there were some set­tings and char­ac­ters that I felt I did­n’t get to see enough. I would have loved an ad­di­tional cou­ple hun­dred pages to flesh some of those out.

All of his nov­els I’ve read are five stars for me, so here’s my cur­rent rank­ing:

  1. The Anubis Gates
  2. Declare
  3. Three Days to Never
  4. On Stranger Tides

Last Call is sit­ting on my shelf, but I’m go­ing to try to save it for a while. We’ll see how long I can hold out.

Expand for spoilers
  • The time travel was re­ally well done. It’s right up there among my fa­vorite time travel nov­els.
  • My fa­vorite char­ac­ter of the book might be Horra­bin. What a creep!
  • I re­ally liked the end­ing; Doyle “re­gain­ing his free will” struck a chord for me.
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