I'm trying to find a fantasy book that I read when I was young, but I
can't remember the title. I am usually exceptionally good at finding
info on the Net if it exists, but this one eludes me.
What I remember about the book is as follows:
A man inherits a home from a relative that he didn't know very well,
an uncle or something.
He finds, in the home, some odd triangle-shaped gold coins.
He then finds a door in the basement.
The door turns out to be a portal to another
world/dimension/something. It's Earthlike, with a few strange animals,
but otherwise normal.
This world is populated by humans from different places around our
world. It turned out that there were other portals around the globe,
and other people discovered them, so this strange land was inhabited
by wildly different Earth cultures (maybe even from different
times)that found this world as well, all existing in a relatively
He befriends a tribe or group of people. Gold is super-abundant in
this place, and therefore worthless to them. However, they are being
regularly attacked and invaded by pirates that sail up to their land
up the river, who want their gold.
The main character teaches these people how to defend themselves,
using practical scientific knowledge. He teaches them how to mold
cannons and cannonballs out of gold using sand casting techniques, and
how to make gunpowder by harvesting the nitrate in bird dung. Copper
and other hard metals were very valuable to these people unlike the
worthless gold, which was too soft for practical application. He
managed to scrape together just enough copper (though may have been
steel) in order to make the linings for the gold cannons.
The book made a good impression on me as a youth, because of the main
character's use of intelligence and scientific knowledge. I should
like to find a copy for my little brother to read.
I'm hoping that someone knows about it, or is better at Google-Fu than I.