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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb mythago story
Sitting here feeling astounded is perhaps the simplest way of describing how I feel after having read Ancient Echoes. This book is amazing and is the best example yet of the mythago novels that Holdstock has written. The ideas of being chased by a city that literally ploughs its way through the earth after you is simply fantastic (you have to read the book to...
Published on 31 Mar. 1999

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as....
previous Mythago novels, a little dis-jointed at times, yet it still has that haunting faintly disturbing affect that I first experienced in reading Lavondys (which was my first RH novel, and I read it before Mythago Wood)

I found the imagery of Glanum a little confusing and 'unrealistic' if that is not an inappropriate word in the context of a RH novel. I...
Published on 25 Jun. 2011 by gbzrope


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb mythago story, 31 Mar. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
Sitting here feeling astounded is perhaps the simplest way of describing how I feel after having read Ancient Echoes. This book is amazing and is the best example yet of the mythago novels that Holdstock has written. The ideas of being chased by a city that literally ploughs its way through the earth after you is simply fantastic (you have to read the book to understand this!).
Holdstock has an incredible way of describing the boundary that exists between reality and imagination and in Echoes this boundary is very flexible indeed. The story essentially concerns the visions that a young boy, Jack Chatwin has about two humans, Greyface and Greenface. As Jack grows older the dreams and visions that he has get more explicit and at times their effects cross over into the real world - or do they. And so once again we have the core of a Holdstock novel. The abstraction of imagination becoming reality is a concept that Holdstock is the master of.
Ancient Echoes drags you along at an excellent pace with an ending that is simply superb. Anyone who has seen and understood the film Brazil will love this book. Holdstock is the quintessential mythmaker I have no trouble in imagining that some of his ancient ancestors were shaman who sat around an open fire regaling the tribe with mythagos of their own. I look forward to his next work with baited breath.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No magic swords!!!!, 31 July 2008
This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
I can't believe this book hasn't had more positive reviews??!! Its simple really; if you're into the kind of fantasy where people (usually dwarves or elves i suppose) are on a quest for a sword and plan to rid the world of evil or whatevers bothering them, then you're not going to like this. You're not going to like any of Robert Holdstocks books I wouldn't think. Dont let that put you off trying mind! Much like The FEtch and Merlins Wood and even Celtica etc.. there are elements of the Mythago novels in Ancient Echoes though its not directly linked. Not that it matters. If you like the Mythago novels then I cant see why you wouldnt like this. And no ones on a quest for a magic sword either. Thank god.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long division, 15 Jan. 2010
By 
B. Wigmore (Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
This book seems to have divided reviewers. It also divided me. Giving it a single rating is a compromise, because some elements are worthy of five stars, and some of two.

Other reviews give some idea of the plot, so I'll skip that. I found the first hundred pages or so, the story of the teenage Jack, brilliant and intriguing - I deliberately read it slowly, pausing often both to let its wonderfulness sink in, and to make sure I didn't finish it too quickly. This, I thought, was what English fantasy was truly about, a more adult version of the stories, such as Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising, that had gripped me as a child. I had my first doubt when I checked what page I was on, and how many were left, at about page 100. I had the sense then that the story should have been about halfway through, and I was a bit perturbed to find it only a quarter done. On the other hand, I thought, if the rest were told with the same skill, I would be happy.

Unfortunately, it wasn't, quite. For me, Jack as an adult didn't work half so well as he did as a teen. In his teenage years, the narrative felt like a much older man telling the story of a kid, but at least Holdstock makes an effort to get the feel of his age about right (though he gets the release date of "Elite" wrong by about four years - you can guess when I grew up!). When Jack is in his mid-twenties, however, Holdstock seems to lapse into his own voice, the voice of a man in late middle-age, and this feels especially wrong during the first-person sections.

There is also the problem of plot. Holdstock falls in love too much with his own creation (as does Jack, in the end), and seems to think that any section set in the prehistoric underworld will be fascinating in itself. I disagree - I never felt that "William", for example, was essential to the story, and there were several other elements that I felt could have been excised without loss. There is also quite a lot of hand-waving and vagueness at times about what exactly is going on in a "reality" sense, which Holdstock seems to try to cover with foggy prose.

And yet, there is such brilliance of idea here, and imagery, and insight (partly genuine, partly invented) into the culture of our ancestors. The "shared dream" sequence, the story of the two bull-runners right at the end of the book, is so intense and inventive compared to most fantasy, that I feel I ought to be recommending it for this alone. But, for me, there was just so much to plod through on the way there, I can't in all honesty give this the four stars I half-think it deserves.

Oh ... go on then, I will. Because when all's said and done, a couple of hours wasted on the padding is neither here nor there, but the brilliance will stick with me for a long time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, 8 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
I don't normally write reviews but feel compelled on this occasion seeing the mixed bag of reviews this book has already garnished. This book is extraordinary. I don't think I have ever read anything quite like it. I found it totally compelling and finished it in a couple of days. I wish I had the same depth of imagination that Robert Holdstock had to produce a work of fiction such as this. To describe it as "Sci-fi" or "Fantasy" really does this amazing book a disservice as it is so much more than just that.

The only other book I was reminded of whilst reading this was "That Hideous Strength" by C. S. Lewis not because of the similarity of the subject matter but in the sheer scope of the ideas both books try to tackle.

It's not the best book ever written and the prose is sometimes a bit clunky, I would like to have read a more literary writer's description of the city of Glanum rising from the earth as I don't think Holdstock sometimes gives his ideas the full justice they deserve, but for wonderful storytelling Holdstock is a master. From the reviews it is obvious this book is a bit marmite but I implore everyone to give it a go. You will never read anything else like it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as...., 25 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
previous Mythago novels, a little dis-jointed at times, yet it still has that haunting faintly disturbing affect that I first experienced in reading Lavondys (which was my first RH novel, and I read it before Mythago Wood)

I found the imagery of Glanum a little confusing and 'unrealistic' if that is not an inappropriate word in the context of a RH novel. I found the constant juxtaposition of the Mythago settings with the modern-day pseudo-science a bit frustrating, wanting to skip through the boring stuff to get back into the fantasy.

Still a good read, but not my favourite RH book by far.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic fantasy, 31 Aug. 2009
By 
Kavity Killer (denver, colorado United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
It seems this book tends to divide people. I happen to love it. Like Mythago wood, its an epic blend of fantasy, psychology, and myth. There are romantic themes that are touching without being sentimental or overwrought. Characters are likeable and complex. A stunning and original book, highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Mythago?, 13 May 2014
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This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
Really pleased with this it arrived on time in excellent condition. Robert Holdstock knows how to tell a tale and this looks like another corker.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Echoes, 22 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
Arrived in good time and well packaged. Got this as a present so cannot comment on the book itself but my husband really enjoyed it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather boring and tedious., 15 Feb. 2007
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This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
Ancient Echoes tells the story of Jack Chatwin, an Englishman from Exburgh.

Jack has been having strange recurring dream-like visions, during which his body shimmers, since his teens, a phenomenon that fascinates his friend Angela. They later marry and have a daughter, Nathalie.

In his visions, Jack dreams of a parallel world where two hunters, a woman and a man, are running from a deathly danger. When these ask Jack for help, Greyface threatening to harm Nathalie, Jack decides to enter a computer-monitored trance, under the supervison of Angela and her ex boy-friend Steve.

Although Ancient Echoes isn't part of the series, it is nonetheless very similar in style and theme to the latest Mythago books. That is, except for a couple of passages in the middle, where Jack spends time with a prehistoric tribe and gets to meet one or two interesting characters, rather boring and tedious as a whole.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 18 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Ancient Echoes (Paperback)
I was enchanted by Lavondyss, and was thinking of buying this one for a friend. Luckily I read it first, and then binned it. I wouldn't even send it to a jumble sale. A pity, the ideas are brilliant, but the general storyline is simply depressing. I thought Stephen Donaldson was unkind to his characters, but this is appalling!
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Ancient Echoes by Robert Holdstock
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