- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz; 2009 edition (10 Sept. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0575084189
- ISBN-13: 978-0575084186
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,417,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ancient Echoes Paperback – 10 Sep 2009
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A tale of ancient mythic wonder and a mesmerising psychological fantasy thriller by 'one of the finest living crafters of myth' (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)
From the Back Cover
A mesmerizing psychological fantasy thriller.
Jack Chatwin has visions. Vivid experiences of a world in parallel to our own; brief encounters with a human couple, Greyface and Greenface, fleeing a terrible event in their own world. But is he witnessing events from the past? From the future? From a world in parallel to, or alien to his own?
Only when Greyface escapes into Jack’s reality does the startling truth of what Jack has been experiencing start to occur to him. But Greenface has failed to follow her partner: she is still lost and in danger in a world that Jack must start to understand and enter, a hunter himself in a magical illusory land – his task to reunite the runners.
And everything he loves depends upon his success.
“A mythmaker of originality.”
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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.Published on 13 May 2014 by Amazon Customer
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.Published on 22 Jan. 2014 by JB
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... Read morePublished on 25 Jun. 2011 by gbzrope
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,... Read more
I happened across this in my local library and opted to read partly on the cover picture and the jacket info. Read morePublished on 7 Feb. 2004 by E.H.ROYLANCE