________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 14. . . .December 6, 2013


Demon Gate. (The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles).

Marty Chan.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2013.
261 pp., trade pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-55455-306-8.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

***˝ /4



Ehrich reached the edge of the cemetery and heard a low hum. He moved past the grave markers toward the source until he saw his brother. In the middle of the graveyard, Dash had set up a bizarre contraption that looked like the skeletal frame of a tepee without the buffalo hide. A Medusa’s head of wires sprouted from a large copper box at the base of the pole. Azure tendrils of plasma energy lazily swirled around the cylinder and rotor blades spun until they were perpendicular to the ground. The loud whine grew louder until Ehrich had to cover his ears.

A slit appeared in the heart of the tube. The glowing opening widened slowly like a cat’s eye.

To Ehrich’s astonishment, the horizon of a blood red sky dawned in the newly formed gateway. Giant sentinels in iron armour lined the parapets of a walled city. Brass gate doors loomed in the foreground. Dash stood up and stepped toward the shimmering portal.

Ehrich finally found his voice. “Dash! What are you doing?”


The first book in “The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles”, Demon Gate presents a steampunk fantasy set in multiple universes or dimensions and begins in 1888 New York city but soon leads the reader into another alternate reality with its own version of New York. The book’s hero, 12-year-old Ehrich Weisz, sets off after his 10-year-old brother, Dash, who is acting very strangely. Once Ehrich passes through the portal after Dash, the story jumps ahead to where a now slightly older Ehrich is a member of the Demon Watch and is helping to track down and capture Dimensionals who have escaped into the city through the Demon Gate. The Demon Gate is a portal that leads many other worlds into this version of New York city. Ehrich must keep secret the fact that he was not originally from this dimension.

     Ehrich meets the famed inventor Tesla when he brings the scientist a strange book to examine, and a mystery begins that causes Ehrich serious problems with his friends in the Watch. Ehrich uncovers a plot to seize the city. Ehrich, with the help of Tesla and one close friend, Charlie his squad leader, along with some assorted Dimensionals, tries to discover and then stop what is going on.

     Ehrich has a series of adventures, including a trip in the dungeons to follow one of his few clues, a curious medallion. He discovers his Watch Commander is one of the rebels. The tale ends with a battle against a powerful Dimensional warlord who conquers worlds and wants to invade this one next. The friends win that battle, for now, but Dash is still trapped by one of the villains. Dash’s rescue will have to wait until a later volume. It is also hinted at that Ehrich Weisz may eventually come to be known in the future as the magician, Harry Houdini.

     The book consists of 261 pages including a half page of acknowledgments and is broken into several chapters with descriptive headings such as “An Unexpected Entry” and “The Hunter’s Trail.” The chapters are not numbered. Demon Gate is a well-written adventure that creates the very unusual world in which Ehrich finds himself as he searches for his brother. The characters of the alien Dimensionals are fleshed out as are their motivations. There are good and bad on both sides.

     If readers enjoys fast-moving action, and the occasional hiss-worthy villain, with an attractive, but perhaps not quite human, girl from another dimension thrown in, they should relish Demon Gate, a tale of daring-do.

Highly Recommended.

Ronald Hore, a member of several writing groups, writes medieval-style fantasy and fantasy detective stories in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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