Top positive review
400 pages of manic fast-paced genius
on 15 April 2015
The Anubis Gate is Tim Powers’ award winning fourth novel, published in 1983 it really is an amazing book, the like of which I’ve never read before. The Anubis Gate doesn’t have many ulterior motives or deep meanings, apart from trying to constantly entertain the reader. I’m not going to cover the plot in this review (its too involved) but all I’ll say is that it cunningly merges together the following elements:
Ancient Egyptian sorcery
Deformed wicked clowns
Dens of beggars
Horrific stilt walking clowns
An underground criminal society
Tiny “spoonsize” boys
Fire and wind elementals
The Beatles, and so on.
The bizarre thing it that (almost) all makes sense!
As you can imagine combining all of the above makes for a fairly zany plot which at times becomes difficult to follow but as the action is so relentless I was happy to just keep on going and ignore any confusing parts, along with the minor historical and linguistic errors. Powers also manages to skilfully build up a sense of mystery throughout the novel making the reader want to turn the 400 pages to find out what happens next.
I’d be fascinated to see how Powers constructs a storyline, you almost get the impression that he takes several interesting unrelated obscure facts then tries to somehow link them together in a logical, enjoyable and compelling way.
While this is classified as a Fantasy Masterworks (and it is definitely a Masterwork) I believe that constraining it to just the Fantasy genre is too limiting, after all it covers horror, science fiction, poetry and historical fiction too.
So, in summary a highly imaginative novel which blurs fiction with reality with a few laughs thrown in for good measure. The story rushes past you at a frightening pace and it would be worthy of a couple of reads just to try to make sense of the parts which I never fully grasped the first time round! I can’t wait to check out more of Tim Powers clever books; highly recommended.