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Publisher's Summary

Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween - which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe. A gap in which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out....
Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?
Bursting with imagination, The Gates is about the pull between good and evil, physics and fantasy. It is about a quirky and eccentric boy who is impossible not to love, and the unlikely cast of characters who give him the strength to stand up to a demonic power.
John Connolly manages to re-create the magical and scary world of childhood that we've all left behind but so love to visit. And for those of you who thought you knew everything you could about particle physics and the universe, think again. This novel makes anything seem possible.
©2009 John Connolly (P)2009 Simon & Schuster
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jeanne on 12-18-09

Paging Tim Burton

Fans of John Connolly's Charlie Parker series don't need to be told what a gifted writer and storyteller he is, but The Gates will come as a delightful surprise. The Parker novels examine the very nature of evil in men and its insidious roots in the human soul, giving life to villains so twisted that one has to wonder at the inner workings of the mind that created them. The Gates doesn't answer that question, but it does provide a peek at the side of Connolly that allows him to wander around freely without someone trying to lock him up just in case there's any part of him that is what he writes.

The hero is 11-year-old Samuel Johnson, an odd and inquisitive boy living in the quaint English village of Biddlecombe. The fun starts when the neighbors at 666 Crowely Rd., looking for something to do on a boring evening, open The Gates of Hell. Not intentionally of course, but these things can happen if you bring home odd, old books from the used book store written in languages you don't recognize, dress up in black robes and mutter incantations.

Meanwhile . . . on the other side of the world scientists in Europe are tinkering around with the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator designed to smash protons together with the hope of discovering the existence of other dimensions. Something goes horribly awry and the two events coincide to threaten to "end the world as we know it." Samuel happens to be peaking in the basement window when the Gate emits its first blue twinkle of evil and charges himself with the task of shutting back up the Gates.

The witty, wry prose is brought vividly to life by gifted narrator Jonathon Cake, whose portrayal of Connolly's imaginative cast of quirky (and mostly incompetent) demons, monsters and townsfolk sets a perfect stage for wonderful theater of the mind.

This book will delight both children and grownups and I thank Mr. Connolly for reminding me of the child inside that can still giggle out loud.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kelly on 05-28-10


This is just the most delightful story I've read in such a long while. I love John Connolly's other work but this is a very special book and the narration is fantastic. I don't think reading it would be even half as entertaining and laughter-inducing if it weren't for the masterful work of Jonathan Cake. I'm on my third listen and I can't say enough good things about it. I especially like the footnotes. Very Monty Python-esque at times.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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