Suzannah's Reviews > The Anubis Gates

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
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Read because I want to eventually read Powers' book on the Rossettis, HIDE ME AMONG THE GRAVES. This is the best of the three Powers books I've yet read.

Powers is a Catholic writing fantasy in which the magicians are very bad and very icky. At least one of his books, ON STRANGER TIDES, was not even worth reading because of this. However I do appreciate that unlike most fantasy authors, Powers puts magic squarely on the side of evil. In THE ANUBIS GATES, for example, it's mentioned that magic has changed over the last six thousand years--it's weakened and is fading, and its practitioners suspect that Christianity had something to do with the loss of their power. For these reasons, Powers ranks with Charles Williams as one of the most realistic fantasy writers I've read.

What puts me off Powers is the way in which his terrifying, gut-churning evil magic is usually not balanced by an equally miraculous and powerful goodness. THE ANUBIS GATES is different. I loved the protagonist; I loved that although he started out as ineffective and vaguely pathetic as any of Powers' other heroes, he goes through a remarkable transformation into a legendary figure before whom the bad guys tremble; I loved that the happy ending is in the end accomplished not by this protagonist's unassisted might but by a terrific and satisfying eucatastrophe.

Also, Coleridge was hilarious. “I say, excuse me. Could you possibly direct me to the waking levels of my mind?”

There was plenty I didn't love. The bad guys were as unpleasant to read about as ever. The heroine was clumsily handled, and a more explicit Christian presence in the book (in the style of ND Wilson's ASHTOWN BURIALS) would have improved things greatly. But I quite enjoyed this one.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 26, 2014 – Shelved
February 26, 2014 – Finished Reading

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