I tend to grab odd recs from the FFL, which is why I went to the library Friday to see what Tim Powers was available and wound up with a battered copy of The Anubis Gates that the online catalogue had said was still on loan. TAG is one of those books I come across in lists of must-read SFF-- in this case I think it was a list of classic steampunk works-- so I was glad to find it and am glad to have it read. It's still a messy mess: reminds me of the manga (which will remain nameless) where I was never sure who was who now, ie who is in whose body doing what at the moment. Manga is permitted to be a mess: novels rather less so. But it's rather manga-like in its jumping from place to place, and time to time, and high scene to high scene, ignoring connection and explanation along the way. The fact it was written 20 years ago may account for it not being the bloated trilogy it would be today, where everything is connected and explained with excruciating precision. My source says Powers plays fast and loose with genres, another manga trait. I didn't notice it that much in tAG, which seemed a merry old romp most of the time with lots of this'n'that thrown in for fun. Err- mangaish. As is the lack of explanation of just what opening the Anubis gate was supposed to accomplish in the first place.
I was also wondering just *why* it's considered steampunk, given the absence of steam in the thing. Think of it as a graphic novel, though, and it starts looking very much like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.