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Hell's Gate (Multiverse #1)

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  1,952 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
The Union of Arcana has expanded through the portals linking parallel universes for over a century and a half. In that time, its soldiers and sorcerers have laid claim to one uninhabited planet after another—all of them Earth, and in the process, the Union has become the most powerful, most wealthy civilization in all of human history. But all of that is about to come to a ...more
Paperback, 1236 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Baen (first published October 31st 2006)
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Community Reviews

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(review November 2015 on something like the 4th or 5th complete read)

Hell's Gate is the first book from the Multiverse series which started in mid 2006 expecting to go on constantly for a few volumes, with at least 4 in the initial arc and more if sales allowed it - ending on a "now the main action starts", the second volume Hell Hath no Fury was published a little while later to end at a pause in the action (though still on a semi-cliffhanger in one of the main political subplots), but events o
M Hamed
Dec 15, 2015 M Hamed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, fantasy
one of the finest world building i have ever read . but despite the author unsavory need for over explanation and the meaningless soul searching every character is doing

there is lots of naivety
Dec 25, 2012 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Corrected typos in March 23, 2016)

This one had four stars in the bag and blew it. How? An ending which left the reader not hanging on a cliff but tumbling over it.

That said, the universes (yes, more than one) involved were well conceived and developed. That the geography of all of them is identical with the Earth helped the reader locate the action somewhat. The humanoid cast was large, sprawling, and not well enough differentiated from one culture to another. In fact, the bad guys tended to bl
Kathy Davie
Apr 07, 2011 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, military
First in the start of a new military sci-fi series, the Multiverse. I know, it sounds like a working series title, but it is accurate.

My Take
The culture shock when Sharona and Arcana encounter each other, not knowing the language of the other, is tremendous with the story a fascinating exploration of how a simple misunderstanding can lead to mistakes that affect the governments of numerous countries and escalate military action. Weber and Evans take full advantage of the variety of human greed a
Mar 18, 2017 Kjirstin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Compelling story! Two very different civilizations blunder into each other and, through a series of escalating terrible mistakes and misunderstandings, manage to get sucked into a state of war with each other. It's a little heavy on the world-building at times (long internal dialogues or expository conversations between characters), but I actually tend to enjoy that, so it's not too bad!
Jan 14, 2015 Derek rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't see ever attempting book 2: Hell Hath no Fury.

I found the military aspects of this just completely unbelievable, and with one half of the writing team an author of some of the best military SF available!

I could buy the initial opening of hostilities: two guys who don't ever expect to meet another human being, other than their own exploration party, come across another armed man in dense bush, and react badly. But everybody on both sides knows that standing orders are to avoid confrontat
Mar 30, 2013 Lin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dammit, Dave, would you stop writing new universes and finish... nevermind. Some of those universes you'll never finish. *sigh* First in a series, not a stand alone, so be prepared to get sucked in. And get the next book lined up now.

Openings from one parallel universe to another let the inhabitants of what seems to be the only human-inhabited universe spread out across the multiverse. Until they run into another universe's worth of humans. Even seeing the stupidities coming, it's how the good g
Ron Hatch
Jan 28, 2016 Ron Hatch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Holstad
Nov 07, 2015 Scott Holstad rated it really liked it
Hell’s Gate is a newish military sci fi/fantasy series by prolific writer David Weber and Linda Evans. It’s about two separate earth-like universes exploring portals into other similar universes, leading to an unthinkable meeting in one of these alternative universes, by accident. And, to everyone’s shock and horror, both men who see each other shoot at each other simultaneously (although the Arcanan – the “bad” guys – actually shoots first) and kill each other. Unfortunately, the Sharonan team ...more
Mar 26, 2008 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Two empires meet on a deserted world... Sharona is an emerging techno-culture that relies heavily on wide-spread psychic "talents". Arcana is a "sword-and-sorcery" culture that relies heavily on widespread magical "gifts". The tragic meeting of an Arcanian exploratory platoon with a Sharonian civilian survey team sets off a long-burning fuse which is leading to war. So are the spell-casting Arcanians, backed by dragon cavalry, ready for the machine-gun toting Sharonians, backed by ground artille ...more
This is a fairly solid book with a good and unique premise, regrettably the author is facing the challenge of fleshing out not only one world but two, with distinct cultural differences. And this task leads to a lot of potential for confusion, I might have considered the detailed location description in the safehold series sometimes a bit tedious, but I would have loved them in this book.
David L
This book is unusual. It has a totally original basic premise. That is so rare in SF now that it would make this book worth reading for that reason alone. In David Weber it has one of the best authors in current SF, and Linda Evans though not first rank is a very good author as well.

So why only three stars? Because unfortunately they have ruined a great book, and turned it into a moderately good book that barely rates those three stars, with some basic errors. The book has far too much expositio
William Bentrim
Feb 11, 2010 William Bentrim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hell’s Gate by David Weber and Linda Evans

Book one of the Multiverse series is a most engrossing 1200 pages. Evan’s and Weber portray two unique civilizations on a road to conflict. Arcana bases their technology on magic. Sharona has psychic talents but bases their technology on science. The multi-universal aspect is that both civilizations have discovered portal to alternate earths that have no populations until they confront each other.

David Weber and Linda Evans do a superb job in describing
Over all an enjoyable read but could be slightly better if David Weber would cut back on the ridiculously long convoluted names and stop chasing rabbits to describe minutia.
Jun 17, 2016 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting concept of what would happen if a magic based world and a technology based world banged heads. The background is that these two worlds have discovered portals that lead them to identical "earths" so they can reap the resources. Weber and Evans do a terrific job of setting up the background of these two worlds and the confusion of how first contact turns to tragedy. BUT THEN NOTHING HAPPENS! About 800 pages of setting up the next two books of the series. You can't spend so much t ...more
James Hein
This is a long book that tries to be a space opera but is like two books in one. The first book is thew core story about two civilizations meeting.

The second story is the socio political backgroud of everything. I suspect that these two parts were written individually by the two authours and merged into the final product. The result is a book that some will flip through to find the next piece they are interested in (like I did) which I why I only gave this book 3 stars and it could have easily b
Sep 24, 2016 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievably insane. Imagine, one universe, totally dependent on magic. Now, another universe, dependent on science and psych talents. Now, they both have found portal's that take them to identical EMPTY universe's, long chains of them.. Until one day, they meet one another and in a far away universe (approx. 40-60,000 miles away from their home world over LAND), and the two that meet each other, a scout and a hunter looking for food, startle one another, and they both shoot each other. So much ...more
Lindsay Stares
Ah David Weber. How much I used to like you. At this point I think I've just read too many of his books. I was really enjoying this one most of the way through, but then it just kept playing the same kind of scenes that I've seen in too many of his books already, and there isn't any good climax to the book at all. Disappointing.

Slight Spoiler follows:
It was an intriguing idea on the surface (Science world and magic world run into each other at the end of a long chain of portals, misunderstandin
Nov 07, 2016 Larryhill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This monster (1200 page) tome has all the Weber hallmarks: lots of vivid characters, complex situations, wild melees, and savage and noble deeds. The world-building that David Weber and Linda Evans accomplished was both ingenious and enjoyable. And I was enjoying it just fine until I came to the realization that this was not going to end when the print ran out on 1207. Sure enough, two additional massive series works are floating around, and one reviewer noted that in the third the plot was fina ...more
Jun 07, 2010 Dr. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I have to give up on this book because it is total crap. It's really disapointing because I like some of the ideas in the story and I think better writers could make a decent book out of it. I got about 600 pages into its 1200 pages and really not a whole lot had even happened yet. I was just slogging through reading about all these two dimensional characters who I could give a damn about waiting for the moment when maybe something would happen in the plot to justify it. Frustrating. So if you s ...more
R. Michael Litchfield
Magic based society fights tech based society (steampunkish level w/ psionics) over stupid avoidable issues arising from first contact. I liked this better than I rated it, love the way Weber & Evans made the societies complicated, riven with disagreements and internecine complications. Getting a bit tired of his penchant for oligarchical systems (does every society have to have a good and beneficent monarchy?) and his super detailed rifleman squad combat is fantastic but a little tiresome.

Oliver Bogert
Jun 03, 2015 Oliver Bogert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, it was a great world to get lost in. A massive cast of characters that sometimes made following between the two world difficult, but by the end of the book you were understanding and able to switch between both viewpoints quickly. Interesting viewpoints from both sides kept the reader engaged and the conflict between the two civilizations drove the story forward through the large world(s) that were wonderfully constructed.

Weber created another interesting universe for his fans to get l
Mar 25, 2008 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF fans AND Fantasy fans
Hoo boy! Weber once again makes clear that he OWNS the military science fiction novel! How he came up with this idea...does he ever sleep?

Good analysis of people's reactions to events, and like a few other authors (David Brin, Anne McCaffrey), he manages to make each character distinct (Brin is perhaps superior in this ability). But he has SO MANY characters in this series! I keep having to backtrack to reread who he's talking about. At least the second book (currently reading) has a character l
Jan 10, 2017 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two fantasy civilizations exploring the multiverse run into one another, and their contact, to put it mildly, doesn't go well. (This is marketed as a fantasy civ encountering a sci-fi civ, but they are both clearly fantasy.) I was stoked for this premise, as I love multiverses, but this book kills any momentum with the worst case of excessive worldbuilding infodumps I've encountered in a very long time. Despite more than 800 pages of text (37+ audiobook hours), it feels like there are only a han ...more
I actually think the multiverse books are Weber's best. The whole story idea is a little silly, I'll admit, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well Weber and Evans pulled it off. I found myself really caring about the characters and their relationships, cheesy though they may be. This book is not full of profound ideas, but it does pose the challenge of making both sides of a violent conflict seem "right" in their own ways and sympathetic to the reader, and Weber and Evans pulled it off.

Sep 29, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-ficition
Two civilizations that are expanding across parallel earths, each believing they are alone, encounter one another. One scout from each side end up killing the other and this precipitates a war. The inciting incident actually happens "off screen" but we witness every encounter after that. It is a crucial detail deliberately obscured to illustrate that neither society is cast as the primary antagonist. And as things slowly spiral out of control we are drawn into the conflict from a largely unbiase ...more
Gail Morris
Aug 04, 2015 Gail Morris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the beginning of this book is heavy with technical information about the 2 universes that clash in this story, but if you are willing to slog through it to the meat of the adventure it is a good tale. The main characters are a young married couple that become prisoners of a young Duke who treats them respectfully and as family... the other main characters are a royal family that can SEE future events, and the things they see are bad...
Jul 14, 2008 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of military sci fi
The beginning is annoyingly slow, because they are setting up two entirely different cultures on two separate other-universe earths, and each has multiple cultures. The complexity is realistic, as (I think) are the military issues, and once the story really got under way, I was completely sucked in. It's an interesting combination of military sci-fi, anthropology, and politics.

Now, if only Evans would write the sequel to "Far Edge of Darkness!
This is an interesting mix of fantasy (very interesting magic system, too) and military science fiction. The only thing which was very confusing at the beginning (and still is to a lesser extent by the end) is how the POV keeps jumping from character to character (and there are a fair number of "main" characters, too).

Outside of that, I'm enjoying the series quite a bit, though it's not my favorite collaboration by David Weber and company.
Aug 10, 2010 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I haven't read this book long before now. As I have stated many times I am a huge David Weber fan. I can only figure that because this is a multi-universe book that I equated it with a time travel book. I don't like time travel books for the most part with some notable exceptions. This book however is a very good read with a good story line, plenty of action and interesting characters. I highly recommend it. I am immediately starting on the sequel "Hell Hath No Fury"!
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David Mark Weber is an American science fiction and fantasy author. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952.

Many of his stories have military, particularly naval, themes, and fit into the military science fiction genre. He frequently places female leading characters in what have been traditionally male roles.

One of his most popular and enduring characters is Honor Harrington whose alliterated name
More about David Weber...

Other Books in the Series

Multiverse (3 books)
  • Hell Hath No Fury (Multiverse, #2)
  • The Road to Hell (Multiverse, #3)

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