The Gate Of Ivory
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The Gate Of Ivory (Ivory #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  369 ratings  ·  32 reviews
From Library Journal
Stranded by mischance on the planet Ivory, Theodora of Pyrene uses her small talent to read fortunes to support herself until a commission by a sorcerer of the powerful Cormallon family involves her in a web of deceit and murder on a world where magic and technology combine forces. Romantic suspense and exotic local color lend spice to this sf/fantasy d...more
Published November 1990 by DAW (first published 1989)
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Pace-wise, this is a leisurely story, stretching over more than a year. Theodora - a stranded scholar - is hired by a noble sorceror, Ran, and gets tangled in his business and family affairs while trying to earn a ticket back to her previous planet.

This is a story which I like primarily because I like the heroine (skeptical, dogged, reluctant to be vulnerable), and it's definitely a story for those who like a big dose of world-building, and a bunch of minor problem-solving and self-discovery of...more
Rachel Neumeier
Here's another book (and trilogy) I know I've mentioned before, because I really love this book and both the sequels, TWO BIT HEROS and GILT EDGED IVORY.

GATE OF IVORY was published 25 years ago, in 1989. It definitely belongs to the (vast) category of old books that really ought to be hauled back into view, but I don't expect it will be. It and the two sequels were reissued in an omnibus version at least once; I remember making a friend buy it at that time.

Even that was a good while ago, thoug...more
This is a good book.
This is indeed a very good book.
I can't quite understand why it isn't more widely known. It definitely deserves more attention.

Theodora, a young woman keen on fables, legends and mythology, ends up stranded on the planet of Ivory - no money, no connections, no anything. She tries to get by, but Ivory isn't really healthy for foreigners; hell, it isn't even healthy for her natives, what with all the sorcery-only-works-here, murders-for-sport, addictive tea-that's-not-tea and c...more
Aug 12, 2011 Jenne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenne by: Jo Walton
Shelves: sf
Strangely cozy, for a science fiction novel. Not so much about Big Ideas--I really liked how it focused on mundane things like baths or how to get a bank account or a job when you've lost all your regular support system. It just happens to be on a planet where there's magic, and the magic isn't especially mystical, it's just how things work, you know?
I've read four copies of this to death. Wish she would go back to writing books instead of screenplays for TV. Sigh.
The Gate of Ivory, by Doris Egan, is a charming sci-fi novel (first in a series) that was recently recommended as a book with a strong female protagonist. Published in 1989, The Gate of Ivory is the first-person narrative of practical scholar Theodora of Pyrene, stranded on the universe's only magical planet after a sight-seeing trip goes awry. Theo spends the majority of the book trying to get off the world of Ivory, but events, in the form of sorcerer Ran Cormallon, keep interfering. The book...more
I often wonder why more older books aren't re released as ebooks. This is one that has the potential to do extremely well I would think. But I digress...

The gate of ivory mixes technology, magic, aliens, space travel, and a myriad of other things. And pulls it off. Seriously. I bought this book since it wasn't available through any library and figured that for a few bucks I would take a chance. I figured that the technology aspect would be a bit outdated, having been written in the late 80s, but...more
I love this book and this series in general. I read it a while ago, though I still keep looking around for more books by this author, who seems to have found writing for television (series such as House) more lucrative. Damn her and damn capitalism! I want books!

I especially remember enjoying the witty dialogue and creative world-appropriate exclamations favored by the heroine. I must re-read and write a proper review.
at one time, this was one of my favorite books. I still take it out every decade or so and re-read it.

The author now is an executive producer and writer on House.
Why have I nevet heard of this book? Awesome. Loved it.
Katherine Hunter
I don't understand why this book and it's 2 sequels aren't more widely read and adored. It's science fiction; it's fantasy. It has a flawed protagonist. The writing is witty. No one saves the planet or the universe but the protagonist works on trying to get back where she thinks she belongs while tangled up in the internal dynamics of a magic wielding family. There's a passage where Theo (the protagonist) wishes she was a marsupial that was hilarious. Several times I laughed out loud at the obse...more
Crystal Carroll
Theodora, a stranded myth and folklore student, is hired by the head of a merchant household to read tarot cards. Adventure ensues.

The title refers to the ancient Greek legend that true prophetic dreams come through Gates of Horn, while false dreams come through Gates of Ivory. Ok, so I'm a geek, I love details like that. The story is told in the first person from Theodora's point of view. Theodora, named after the Byzantine Empress, is a hoot.

She sounds just like a Literature/geek/myth archet...more
A nice little fantasy/sci-fi/romance novel. I don’t usually like spaceships and sorcerers in the same book, but it’s not so bad here. There’s very little spaceship, so this is mostly fantasy.

Our heroine Theodora, an academic on an interplanetary “grand tour”, is stranded on the violent planet Ivory, where the only thing keeping a person from being casually murdered is an established web of family or associates who will avenge your death.

She’s working as a Tarot card reader (“I’m just as phony as...more
Excellent, well written, great character development, a unique blend of fantasy and scifi, just enough humor to soften the hard edges. The heroine is a female version of the traditional "everyman". Easy to identify with and yet outperforming all expectations. This book will surprise and delight. Not only will I read the rest of the trilogy but Doris Egan will be one of my "goto" authors.
Samuel Lubell
It has spaceships and machines, so it must be science fiction. It has magic and sorcerers, so it must be fantasy. But it's both. Unlike the Darkover books or the Warlock series where there is a scientific explanation for the magic, this book just says magic works on the planet Ivory and leaves it at that. I guessed (or maybe vaguely remembered) the villain too easily but thought the character of Theodora, an anthropology student marooned on a somewhat primitive planet who gets over her head with...more
Disappointing. This book had been recommended to me highly, AND the main character is an anthropologist (I can't help it, I get excited when fictional characters have careers I might have picked), but there was in fact very little I liked about it.

It's a science fiction novel that feels like fantasy, given the high levels of technology in some areas (interplanetary vessels!) and low levels in others (no trains?), plus... magic works? I guess? The magical system has no real set of rules, and just...more
Nick Fagerlund
Pretty decent but not great. I actually wish it had grabbed me a lot more than it did, because it had some interesting things going on -- it came to my attention in a rec thread (I forget whose) asking for interplanetary magic-based fantasy. (Digresion: Come to think of it, every Star Wars product that doesn't mention "midichlorians" would count as that, right?) The main character does anthropology, there are smart thoughts about what an interplanetary economy could actually consist of, the cult...more
I liked the book years ago, when I read the Czech translation. I decided to try the original now, for it's quick read. And I found it still enjoyable. To sum up what i liked - fast paced and good story, likeable heroine, amusing tidbits,witty dialogues soft touch of magic... Well although I shelved it as a fantasy, in fact it's blending of F & SF.
Gosh this was fun. Finished over the course of the in between bits of an otherwise awful day, so maybe the contrast helped. Its actually got quite a lot going on under the surface - theres tragically twisted family dynamics, some intrigue, a smidge of romance, all sorts of thematic stuff on culture, morality, loyalty, assimilation, etc, but its very minimally written (reminds me somewhat of Zelazny) - virtually no description or internal monologuing, and the plot is amazingly straightforward and...more
a light-hearted read - so well-written, a nice blend of science fiction and fantasy, with great great characters that will stick around in my head for a long time.

oh, and i laughed out loud a handful of times and giggled in between those laughs as well. i especially loved this bit: "...hardly anybody on Ivory used the actual keyboard, they preferred to talk or write on the screen pad. Ran was one of the few people I knew who punched the keys. Probably something to do with his aggressive instinc...more
I hardly remember when I read this book (luckily I found my 2008 book list, chronologically organized), but I remember the plot was not particularly interesting. Although, fragments have stuck with me, so I modified the star rating by +1 two years after initially writing this review. Something about magic and a "middle river" martial art. And poison tasting. Also spaceships.
Karen Beimel
Love love love this whole series . One of my all time favorites. I wish Ms. Egan would write more in this series!!!! The characters and sense of place she created here is really something special. I miss it and would love to return to Ivory.
This was a very compelling book. I could not put it down. Egan's world building is excellent and she has enough twists and turns that are unexpected but not unfitting that it keeps an alert reader happy. Looking forward to the next book.
May 01, 2008 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Stephanie by: Bart
The first in a series written several years ago by a women who now writes for the TV show 'House'. I liked this well enough, it wasn't the Best Thing Ever, but I would read more by her if it existed.
This was a re-read. Originally read this years ago. It's been long enough, that I really didn't remember much of the story. I enjoyed it and will read the other two of the trilogy soon.
Arlene Allen
I adored this genre bending fantasy/scifi/adventure/mystery/romance series and always wished Egan had written more! I believe she writes for television now.
An interesting read. The world of Ivory is a fascinating place. It would have been nice to see inside Ran's head at some point. I'll be reading the sequel.
light, funny, thoroughly entertaining sci-fi. Interesting world building, great characters. I'm very excited that there are two more books in the series.
Oct 20, 2007 James rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci Fi Geeks
Good sci fi book with an interesting Eastern-based culture in a sci-fi world. Comes out as an East meets West, but in the distant future.
katayoun Masoodi
Oct 07, 2011 katayoun Masoodi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to katayoun by: Hallie
Shelves: fantasy
thanks hallie and i really liked it alot, am nearly finished and going to read the other two.
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Doris Egan (1955—) is an American screenwriter, producer, and writer. She has worked on Smallville, Dark Angel, and House as well as many other television programs.

Also publishes as Jane Emerson.
More about Doris Egan...
The Complete Ivory: Gate of Ivory, Two-Bit Heroes, Guilt Edged Ivory Two-Bit Heroes (Ivory, #2) Guilt-Edged Ivory (Ivory, #3) The Complete Ivory (Daw Book Collectors) The 1987 Annual World's Best SF

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