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Hell's Gate

(Multiverse #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,389 ratings  ·  94 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 ...more
Hardcover, 816 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Baen
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  2,389 ratings  ·  94 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 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, western-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 rated it liked it
(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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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!
Scott Holstad
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, david-weber
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 rated it liked it
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
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
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
Elizabeth Rebecca Shaw
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very long, complex and sometimes confusing book. It is about two societies that have found gateways to other worlds in their travels. Neither of them expect to meet any other human beings on their journeys and both are shocked when they do manage to meet one another. One group has technology and mind powers while the other one has magic and dragons. Their initial meeting is a bloody misunderstanding with one group wiping out all of their opponents as far as their opponents know. But they did m ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
I really liked the Safehold series so after finishing it I was ready for something else by David Weber. I started with Hell's Gate because I liked the premise and I like big books. And that is about all the good I can say about it. After slogging through for about three hundred pages, I realized I still did not care at all about any of the characters. They did not generate any real interest because I did not feel that there was anything really at stake. They were not fighting to save humanity. B ...more
Jan 10, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Reuben James
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. Kind of, sort of a military SF genre. A bit overwrought (or maybe, over wrote), but entertaining, nonetheless. My main problem with military SF is that there isn't much fun going on in books like this. The characters are mostly either angry or terrified. This makes it hard to really enjoy the reading experience. That said, Hell's Gate is still reasonably entertaining. It has some elements of "Into The Looking Glass" by John Ringo (also a Military SF writer, so probably not an accident ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is an interesting premise, multiple copies of earth tied together through gates. Two cultures meet, neither of them are ours. Therefore, everywhere we know has not one but two new names. To say a picture is worth a thousand words may be an understatement here; the author should have put in a map for each civilization. Maybe I am a little OCD but it started to drive me nuts trying to figure out where the characters were and where they were going.
Stephen Davis
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
This was a story that was hard to get into. The first impression was that it was incredibly boring. The general world background was interesting, but the pacing was too slow. Then in the middle the pacing and story picked up, only to drag along at the end. Hard to say whether it will be worth putting the effort into starting the next book of the series.
Ron Hatch
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Packed with incomprehensible jargon. I couldn’t make head nor tails of it. Shame as I was looking forward to some quality “My Sharona” references. “You’ve got to give us some time, Sharona!” And so on.
Georgina Brandt
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Time travel science fiction, with magic and soldier conflict.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this one because I love the premise, it is a shame that the execution is shit.

I dropped the book when jasic was being relieved of command.

this book has one of the most contemptible main characters I have had the displeasure of listen(audiobook) to. I ground my teeth whenever it was his point of view. that of coarse is jasic(if I spelled the name wrong my bad).

I do not know how his flawed(I have nothing wrong with flawed characters except when the said flaws are not acknowle
Alex Shrugged
The authors bobble the first chapter, but thereafter it's really good.

The story: There is a multiverse of near-copies of the home world of Arcana to be explored and exploited. Scouts have have found one of the biggest portals (or gates) ever. At the same time the world of Sharona has been exploring the multiverse, but has never found another existing civilization.... until now. Arcana is a world of magic, swords and dragons. Sharona is a world of psychics, telepaths, distance seers and guns. Whe
David Thurneysen
A multiverse society meets another multiverse society. One is technical and one is magical. The premise is amazing, the description of the societies and their history well done, and the similarities to earth geography intriguing. Unfortunately, the Publisher's Weekly quote on the cover says "Exciting military SF!" and that is simply not the case. In fact, this was one one of the most overwritten books I have ever read. (-1 star for lack of editing) And one of the slowest stories (-1 star for pac ...more
Robert Hardy
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a bit of an odd duck when it comes to choosing a book. The old saying "Never judge a book by it's cover" does not apply to my choices. This may remove me from finding great books, but it has allowed me to find gems nonetheless. The second criteria I use is mass. I can only think of 2 books, in the last 40 years, where mass was a bad thing. I want my story, my initially defined images and then a LOT of it to read.

I discovered Hell's gate by my simplistic criteria.

It is a proverbial page tur
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy
I am a big fan of David Weber and the Honor Harrington books. Those books are appropriately named because Honor is more than the name of the main character, but the overriding force which drives the main characters every action as a military officer. The only way I can describe reading Hell's gate is to compare it to slogging through a long forced march in the rain. There are entertaining and exciting sections in the book as the authors go about world building but they are far to few. While the ...more
Efe Saydam
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Passably written, if long-winded, military sci-fi. Part of a multi-volume series, the first edition focuses on the Arcanian and Sharonian's first terrible encounters, the futile attempt at diplomatic relations and their breakdown, and the resulting preparations at all-out full-scale war.

If it's actually war you're looking for though you may have to delve further into that series. This is just the preamble. An interesting look into alien, if very human, civilizations, and their resulting fears, c
Jeff Daly
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Narrator: Mark Boyett

Very good. Long. Cool ideas of people with magic and people with technology and mental voices.

started: 2017-09-16.Sep.Sat 15:16:21
finished: 2017-09-26.Sep.Tue 16:12:25
duration: 37h:32m
Mandy Galileo
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
wonderful book, on to the next in the series!
E.J. Randolph
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked it until the end. In the Honor Harrington series, each book was a full story. This one ends just before the big action.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting book with some likeable characters with good insights into how good motivations can lead to bad outcomes.
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.
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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

Other books in the series

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

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