Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Audio Book Review: Ancient Echoes

Ancient Echoes

By:  Joanne Pence

Publish Date:  April 2, 2013, Audiobook Release December 26, 2018

Format:  Audiobook - 12 hrs 17 mins
Narrated By:  Tim Paige

Genre:  Paranormal

Series:  1st in Ancient Secrets series

Impression:  Old tales have truth to them, and their own story.

Over two hundred years ago, a covert expedition shadowing Lewis and Clark disappeared into the wilderness of Central Idaho. Now, seven anthropology students and their professor vanish in the same area. The key to finding them lies in an ancient secret, one involving alchemy, gold, and immortality...a secret that men throughout history have sought to unveil.

Michael Rempart is a brilliant archeologist whose colorful and controversial career has earned him admiring fans and implacable foes, but he is plagued by a troubling sense of the supernatural and a mysterious spiritual intuitiveness. Joining Rempart in this adventure are a CIA consultant on paranormal phenomena, a washed-up local sheriff, and a former scholar of Egyptology. All must overcome their personal demons as they attempt to save the students and, ultimately, the world.

From the Journal of Francis Masterson, 1806--

All hope is gone. Evil is victorious.

In the time I have remaining I will, herewith, impart a tale so filled with Dread and Terror that my heart overflows with immeasurable Sorrow to tell it. It began with the highest of Good Will and Promise and, on my part, great Excitement. I can only trust to Providence that one day this small account which I leave in a land of unimaginable desolation and Wildness, may be discovered, and that it will serve to warn others of the wickedness that may ensnare Good men.

Ours was to be a Secret Expedition...

First Sentence:
Michael Rempart flung back the thick, musty brown quilt, rekindled the metal stove's dying dung fire, and dressed in heavy woolens and an insulated jacket before stepping out of the small ger.

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My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Tim Paige narrates this story, which is a first for me listening to him. He does well and gets a chance to add hints of accents for characters. It's nice when a narrator can differentiate characters by voice and accent, and Tim gets to do that here.

We start with three people/groups in three different areas of the world that are working on related history. They don't know it yet, but they are connected. There's Michael Rempart, Charlotte Reed, and Lionel Rempart who's with his assistant and college students. Each chapter with each of these characters digs their hole of danger deeper and deeper. I am enjoying how things are escalating in their lives and events they fight through as each is a little different.

This story reads like a suspense read as we get the story from different characters, filling us in on what's happening. There's people who come together because they are involved for what they may know while another is trying to kill them. Then there's the people doing the killing. Yes, we get a few views from the people doing the killing too. We also get to see the story by the college students if they separate, because they find something new and important to the world. It's great! I was never confused about where I was in the story.

The main characters who's eyes we see through are: Charlotte Reed, Lionel Rempart, Michael Rempart, Jianjun, Devlin, Ted, Jake Sullivan, Derek Hammil, Jennifer Vandenburg, and a few others. I know, it looks like a lot. But it's really not! We get the important moments with the characters that impacts them or all of them.

I enjoyed how I felt reading this book. I felt relaxed yet on edge with worry for the characters. The college kids in the strange, unknown woods had me worried of what will happen. Charlotte I worried for her life as she seems to know pieces about alchemy that's needed, but someone's out to stop her from realizing it and it's connection. Lionel Rempart is obsessed and I was ready to slap him. lol. Michael Rempart has a drive like his brother, but there seems to be a touch of rational to him. A touch. Derek is just a bad person. He's out doing his job as a mercenary and he scares me as he seems to have no care about others. Jianjun is pulling information for Michael and is getting pieces to him as they get and pull it all together.

Most of all, I was curious as to if there was any truth to the old tales told by the elders in Idaho about the woods. Did the legends happen, as they are told? And what could we find here? Also, what Michael found in Mongolia...Wow, I'm with Michael on needed to know there too. Then we venture into the woods of Idaho, and find out about the history connected to all the pieces our character carry.

Once we get through to the unknown place, I have a few tiny bugs with the book. I don't know how much time's passed, how long the characters have been here. When in the village, it feels like it's more than a few days or even weeks, but with those outside the village it feels like it's only been a day or two. Also, it feels the story slows here as there's interactions between the characters but I don't feel we move forward with the plot as we had been doing, and I think this is what makes the time frame feel longer than what it really is. When we were in the village, I wanted to push the story forward faster. Then, we start to learn details that feels to pick up the pace again, as we head into the ending.

I picked up on some character changes from early on. It seems that some of the characters are playing a "part" as they suddenly change what they are doing or thinking in the story. Almost like they are two different people. In the end this is explained.

The book comes together in the end with explaining the alchemy and the unknown place along with what happened to the different characters leading into them coming together. I'd be curious to continue on in the series with Michael Rempart. I don't know if any other characters we meet here will show up, but it would be neat to see them if they do.

****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!


Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Love that the book comes together in the end. I'm an ending girl so I enjoy that. I think I'd have the same questions and niggles as you did.

Joanne Pence said...

Melissa--Thank you for your very interesting commentary on my book. I really appreciate it when a reviewer gives so much thought to a review. And I'm glad it came together for you! BTW, there are two more books (so far) with Michael Rempart, and several of the characters from Ancient Echoes return in them. Thank you again!