Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Anubis Gates (1983)

Tim Powers has written a complex race back and forth through time in this book. Brendan Doyle agrees to host a party of people back through time to listen to Coleridge give a speech in a pub in 1846 London in an event designed by J. Cochran Darrow who tries to describe the time travel as a river covered with ice.

"Right - picture holes in that ice roof; now if part of your lifetime, some section of the seventy-year-long trailing weed that's you, should happen to be under one of the holes, it's possible to get out of the time stream at that point."
"To where?" Doyle asked guardedly, trying to keep any tone of pity or derision out of his voice. Why, to Oz, he thought, or Heaven, or the Pure Vegetable Kingdom.
"Nowhere," answered Darrow impatiently. "Nowhen. All you can do is enter again through another gap."

Unfortunately, Doyle is snatched before the group returns to the area where they return to their real time and he is stuck without money, clothes, or any means to get back. He tries to locate a gypsy who was somehow involved with the time shifts and ends up encountering beggar kings, a body-shifting mass murderer and a woman disguised as a man. The book is non-stop action through the streets, and sewers of London.

So what the hell happened, gang? Doyle thought. The "hellish retinue" sounds ominous . . . and what do you mean by "the Connexion"? He flipped hopelessly to the back of the books, and his eye was caught by a very short note written clearly on the endpaper.
He read it, and for the first time during all his adventures and mishaps he actually doubted his sanity.
The note read: "IHAY, ENDANBRAY, ANCAY OUYAY IGITDAY?" -- and it was in his own handwriting, though the ink was as faded with age as every other notation in the book.
Suddenly dizzy, he sat down on a stack of books, which exploded to dust under his weight, spilling him backward agains onther pile, which toppled down upon him, burying him in damp, disintegrating parchment and showers of panicked spiders and silverfish.

When I finished this book I felt I had just gotten off a wild roller coaster ride. I almost wished I had tried to chart the characters through the time and body changes to see how it would look.

This book was a bit of a challenge to read but I am very happy I finished it.

My rating for this book +++ 1/2

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