The Gate of Worlds

by Robert Silverberg


Publication history


(From Tor 1984)

Alternate world adventure from a master of science fiction.

From Turkish dominated Europe, across the high seas to the land of opportunity— the Aztec Empire.

Dan Beauchamp is a young Englishman whose heart longs for fortune and adventure. But industrial Mexico is a long way from primitive Britain, and Dan has a lot to learn. From the city of London—better known as New Istanbul—to the untamed wilderness of North America here is a high adventure not to be missed.


This is a book I remember very fondly from my childhood, probably the first alternate history novel I read. Rereading it now as an adult was quite enjoyable, though it was obviously intended for the younger reader. The point of departure for this world seems to be the Black Death, which here wiped out three-fourths of Europe's population, leaving them defenseless against Turkish expansion. By the 1980's (when the story takes place), the Turks have lost much of their territory, leaving England finally self-ruling in a delayed Industrial Revolution. The major world powers are Russia, Turkey, the Aztecs, the Incas, and Japan. There are some priceless little touches, like the Native American girl who learned Turkish so she could read Shakespeare in his original language.

Apparently, Silverberg planned in 1967 to write a trilogy, with the second book set in Africa and the third in South America, but he never worked beyond the first book. Trilogies weren't as popular then as they are now. Then in 1988, he found himself thinking about this world again and decided to go back, not with a sequel (though I'd welcome the further adventures of Dan Beauchamp), but with a set of other stories taking place in the same milieu. These stories appear in Beyond the Gate of Worlds.

Other resources

(None on file)