Without a doubt one of the oddest books I’ve ever read, “The Anubis Gates” is a supposed science-fiction tale about a middle aged biography writer who gets caught up in a time travel scheme and finds himself stranded in England in 1810. But it’s so much more then that, because even though the modern day end of the story seems to be fairly start forward realistic fiction the historical end is filled with magic, soul migration, and a ‘werewolf’.
Normally I’d love a story with so much going on, but in this cases it was too much. There wasn’t nearly enough time spent developing these sub-plots, which left the whole thing feeling like bits or outlines of different stories strung together. To make matters worse a lot of the characters’ motivations were unclear and/or shifted greatly without much in the way of an explanation. A good chunk of the plot was predictable and what surprises there were made little to no sense.
The redeemable quality of the novel are small, but important. It’s a fast passed action packed read. You aren’t bogged down with a lot of chatter that goes nowhere or long history lessons about the culture and politics of 1810. You either know who Lord Byron and the other famous writers and historical figures mention are, or you don’t. That could be annoying to a less knowledgeable reader, but I like not being talked down to by my fiction. The culture and attitudes of the 1810 character aren’t modernized, as you see in a lot of historical fiction. They are, many of them, by today’s standards racist, sexist, elitist, and xenophobic. Just the way the average person in 1810 would’ve been. But at the same time it’s not taken to the extreme. I never once got the impression that the author was trying to make some sort of politically correct point about how far we’ve come as a society with all of it. He was merely telling it like it was and letting the chips fall where they may. I give him big kudos for that muc