“The Anubis Gates” by Tim Powers

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A dizzying novel “The Anubis Gates” by Tim Powers is designed in such a way as to pack the incredible number of plot twists and adventures into a relatively compact volume as closely as possible, so the novel seems to be noticeably larger from the inside than the outside.

The eccentric elderly English millionaire William Darrow opens up the possibility of moving between epochs – but not arbitrarily, but through pre-marked holes made in the fabric of time by the sinister trinity of ancient Egyptian magicians who dream of returning Earth to the days of Osiris and Ra. In one of these holes, leading straight to 1810, the millionaire organizes an expensive tour – its participants will have the unique opportunity to attend the lecture of the great Samuel Coleridge. To give academic entertainment to his amusement, Darrow invites to the company a graduate specialist in creativity and biography of Coleridge – American philologist Brendan Doyle, an indecisive balding middle-aged man, mourning the recent death of his beloved.

However, at the end of the tour, Doyle did not have time to return to his native 1983 with other time travelers: he was abducted by one of those Egyptian magicians, by whose grace he found himself in 1810. A peaceful cabinet scientist is locked in a foul-smelling, cruel and immoral Georgian London, one on one with a thousand dangers – from hygienic to mystical.

Tim Powers skillfully arranges the entire traditional set of Gothic horrors (from a completely Dickensian leader to beggars, for the sake of a clown dressed up in costume, to gloomy slums of London inhabited by evil spirits of all sorts) werewolf, able to change the body, like gloves, or cleverly rethought Egyptian demonology. Tim Powers is not too lazy to drive his hero into hot Egypt (and make a direct participant in the shooting of the Mamluk cavalry), then in the Little Ice Age of the end of the XVII century (and force them to fight monsters on the frozen Thames), to introduce Lord Byron and Coleridge. As a result, the text of Tim Powers turns into impeccable entertainment – the ideal literary equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster, maybe not too blunt-minded, but inventive, unexpected and exciting right up to the last page (on which, the author will surprise you again).

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