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Gates of Hell Paperback – 27 Jun 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Speculation Press (27 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967197929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967197920
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,761,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
I believe this is Susan Sizemore's only forray into Science Fiction and the storyline was worth persevering with - "A plague is crossing the galaxy and no cure exists apart from an illegal drug and one of the major characters Capt Pyr a captain of a "Pirate" ship is dieing from poison (not the plague) whilst trying to find his son and trying to trace the source of the plague. The only "healing" for the plague are a race of "Demigodesses", the Koltiri who can heal the plague and the other major character in this book is a Koltiri and MilService Physisian.
The first 100+ pages of this book the two major characters do not even meet up and their separate backgrounds/stories are told. Once however they do meet up the story does take off and the book finishes with you wishing it was longer (hence why the 3 stars not 4 or 5). The build up to the two characters is interesting and worth persevering with but the storyline of their meeting is definately too short!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Love and sci-fi all in one. 4 Sept. 2000
By Affaire de Coeur - Published on
Format: Paperback
Pyr has traveled world and has few illusions left. When a chance encounter with an insane priestess leaves him full of a slow-acting poison for which there is no cure, Pyr, spaceship captain, pirate, and warrior, steps up his efforts to rid space of a teeming, ravenous plague. Rox Merkrator is a koltarc, a legendary race of telepathic healers. She is trying her best to lead a normal life, have a normal relationship. The plague is spreading though, and even if Roxy cannot heal but one poor soul at a time, she still must try. In a nightmare existence, where death is the ultimate enemy these two beings find each other and unleash the power of their unique bond to save a universe. A satisfying science fiction presented by Speculation Press withb excellent taste.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
I Admit It, I Like Space Pirates 7 April 2002
By Sires - Published on
Format: Paperback
I admit it. I like space pirates. I like rogue psychics. I love derring-do in space,spaceships flashing across galaxies to save the Federation, or whatever-- United Systems in this case. And I had thought a long time ago, when I first read a book by Susan Sizemore (I think it was her first, a time travel story with sf background) that she could probably write decent space opera. So I was inclined to be pleased with this book when I finally got around to ordering it. And it provides a satifying amount of what I really like in escapist fiction.
Roxanne is content enough in her marriage to a ship's captain. The war with the Trin has ended in an uneasy peace and things ought to be a bit easier on an empath with psychic healing skills working on a battle cruiser. Anyone else looking on can see that her husband is a manipulative jerk and she is clearly destined for bigger and better things. In fact, she's due to be pulled out of her comfortable berth and tossed into the middle of trying to halt a plague with political implications.
Pyr is the captain of a ship heavily indebted to the Pirate League. His crew is mutinous. They are all infected with Sag, a plague that is wreaking havoc on many inhabited worlds and, in an effort to control the plague, addicted to the drug Rust. Plague suffers who don't take Rust die. Rust is controlled by the drug lords. On top of that, Pyr has also been given a slow acting poison for which there is no cure. Is there anyone else in the universe who needs a healer more?
The pirates are ruthless. The United Systems Military are ruthless. The space drug dealers are ruthless. There's a lot of violence in this book--be warned. Also it probably could have used a stronger editorial hand when dealing with the psychic cavorting, but there's some real moments of mischievous humor in this book. I also have to admit, my favorite character was Martin Braithwaite, who got more than he bargained for out of his healing.
If you are looking for something to read until the next Liaden Universe novel comes out you might give this one a shot.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great Worldbuilding 7 Feb. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was aware of Susan Sizemore as a romance novelist. Then I discovered her dark fantasy vampire series, all of which contain strong romantic elements along with a different look at a vampire culture. I've even found some short stories by this author in several fantasy anthologies. I'm not used to an author that gets around so much, but I've enjoyed every book of Sizemore's that I've read, some more than other, of course. I must say that I think Gates of Hell is far and away the best thing she's written. This book is undisciplined, unrestrained, and over the top - but, wow, what a ride!
Other reviews here have given the outline of the story and opinions (for good or ill) of the characters and the strong romantic elements, but I don't think anyone has mentioned the worldbuilding. Fond as I am of Roxy, Pyr, Martin, Dee, Linch and the rest of the characters and the space opera that is their lives, I think it was the tantalizing glimpse into the United Systems universe that I found most intriguing.
Among the matters touched on in the course of the book were the differences between military and civilian perceptions of wars and politics, budgetary constraints, the history of the United Systems, religious conflicts, types of marriages (how did Martin end up married not only to Roxy's sister, but to Rafe and Betheny as well?), technological development, love, death, basketball and there might even have been some mention of taxes in there somewhere. The story was about finding a cure for the Sagouran Fever and the cause behind the plague, but the action is played out as an episode in a universe where much has happened in the past, and the future is hinted at.
While the plot of the book stands alone, I hope the author intended Gates of Hell as an introductory book to a series set in this universe. Because, I for one, would very much like to visit the United Systems again.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
great read 19 Mar. 2002
By KLF-dc - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always avoided Sizemore's books because I'm just not into this Vampire thing. Fortunately, despite the book's title, there's not a vampire to be found herein (though a bite of another sort plays an important role in the plot). This is a fun, well-written read with sympathetic characters in an intersting universe. Hint - KEEP GOING past the first chapter - it gets much more interesting. I'm disappointed that Sizemore hasn't written more set in this locale. Readers of the wonderful Lee/Miller Liaden stories might enjoy this.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Romance and a Sci-Fi glued together 7 May 2012
By Debra Dunbar - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Gates of Hell was shaping up to be an intriguing novel, about a devastating plague, the healer trying to halt it, and a seemingly unconnected space pirate looking for a kidnapped crew member. I love the complex plots that occur in sci-fi, and I was eager to see how it all came together. Who is this driven, ruthless pirate, and what role will he play in the health crisis decimating entire planets? Will the healer be able to pause in the exhausting task of healing one person at a time in order to concentrate on finding a cure? Time is running out!

And then, halfway through the novel, it turned into a romance.

It was like a different writer took over the book, flipped it ninety degrees, and rode off into the sunset on a white horse. None of the first half of the book prepared me in any way for this abrupt change. Out of the blue, this sci-fi about conspiracy, bio-warfare, and drug running became chock full of life-mate bonding and telepathic pheromones. Yes, there was still a conspiracy and a plague, but all that took a back seat to steamy romance.

But, you ask, didn't you see the cover? Aren't you aware that Susan Sizemore writes romances? Yes and Yes. But covers are often perplexingly different than the story inside. I also got the feeling, reinforced by the first half of the book, that the author was crossing into a new genre. I love romance. I would have been thrilled to read this as a romance, if only the first half of the novel had been set up that way.

Overall, it was two halves of two good books, unfortunately glued together. The first half was a nice sci-fi, the last half was a nice romance, but the change from one to the other was disruptive to the tone and flow of the book. I wish there had been two books. One the sci-fi the author had so compellingly begun to weave, and another in the typical romance style.
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