If you are the type of person who enjoys suspense, adventure, and intrigue, I believe you will find yourself appreciating “Ancient Echoes” written by bestselling author Joanne Pence. The book’s narration was performed well by Tim Paige, who appears to be a newcomer to voicing audiobooks. Yet, his performance on this book was solid. The story is a blending of “Raider of the lost Ark” meets “The Da Vinci Code”, with parts of “The Mummy” and a few B-rated horror-type college students rolled up in one tale. If this sounds at all interesting, you might want to give the book a listen. Note, this book can be enjoyed as a stand-alone piece even though it is the first book in a trilogy. At the time of this review, all three are available from Audible.
The book revolves around survival as a team searches for a group of missing college students who were out in the Idaho wilderness looking for clues to a mystery. When they suddenly disappear, much like a similar group who went missing while tailing the Louis and Clark expedition over a hundred years ago. What is required to save them demands tapping into these mysterious ancient echoes. The book takes the reader to multiple places around the globe as the mystery is revealed. I will say that at times, it was difficult to keep up with the all the places and side stories. But, once on track the story moved along at a solid pace. A good portion of the story revolves around alchemy. This is the ancient process of one transferring matter into something else. For example, turning lead, a cheap and abundant element, into gold; a priceless one. I do not want to give away too much as this is what makes the story enjoyable.
The book has a fair number of your horror survival tropes. You will find the brain, the brawn, and the beauty are all a part of this story. There are also a few more paranormal aspects to the story involving demon like creatures. Add to these some big pharam (pharmaceutical companies) and the conspiracies surrounding their drugs, and you have some good mystery needing to be solved. Throw in some CIA agents and other foreign governments and things start to get complicated. At times, I felt the author was a bit overly verbose in her storytelling, but this is manageable due to the events keeping one focused. The story was engaging, and it kept me interested from beginning to end.
Let me turn towards the book’s narration. Although Mr. Paige appears to be a newer narrator on the Audible platform, his performance did not feel that way. His ability to voice the numerous characters and their accents was smooth and professional. I would not say it was the best narration I have listened too, but it was far from the worst. I do not recall any audio issues with background noise, swallows, or other distractions. Only some slight computer sound between chapters which the author said would be corrected. I enjoy it when I find a narrator who can do a good job yet is rather new to the narration scene.
For parents and younger readers, the book was an exciting and unique journey. The book does contain some vulgar language along with aspects of graphic violence which may not be appropriate for younger audiences. If your reader is more on the mature side and is not easily offended by profanity, I think teenagers and upwards would enjoy the story. The first half of the book was rather light on vulgarity, but this increased as the story approached the end.
In summary, the book was both enjoyable and entertaining. I would have liked to have had some additional character development and maybe a bit less focus on specific scenes. There is mystery, murder, and suspense, so if this is your type of genre, I think you will enjoy this book.