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Review of ‘The Anubis Gates’ by Tim Powers

Subject: Reviews

Description: A book review of the The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Posted by David Caldwell on 24/05/13 at 12:43

It is often said that books set in a different time tell us more about the era it was written in than the era written about, this is true of ‘The Anubis Gates’.

Doyle the main protagonist is an prematurely aging academic in his mid-thirties whose specialist subject is 19th Century English Poets such as Coleridge and Byron.  He is employed by the enigmatic millionaire Darrow for his knowledge of the period and utilising gaps in time travels back to London in 1805 to listen to a talk given by Coleridge.

Without spoiling too much of the plot Doyle is trapped in time and has to survive the harsh underworld of London, meeting beggar lords and mingling with the destitute. 

The plot has several villains, the one I found to be the most disturbing is Horrabin, a grotesque caricature from a Punch and Judy show made flesh whose psychotic machinations are at the bequest of Doctor Romany a ‘Ka’ or doppelganger whose mission is to restore the Egyptian gods and to disrupt the time stream to make sure that Britain never rises to prominence.

If the plot isn’t complicated enough then there is the dog faced man, a werewolf who can jump into people’s bodies until they grow too hairy forcing him to jump into another, leaving the hapless victim in the cast off's body.

I would recommend this book as good escapist fiction the author creates a surreal world where old, new and ancient combine and make something new.  It is often cited as the creation of steam punk even though it is set in a London before the Industrial Revolution.  

He weaves several plot lines making the novel fast paced and readible to the very end.

Keywords: Tim Powers, The Anubis Gates’, Review, Steam punk