An Echo in Time:

Traci Harding

Cover An Echo in Time: Atlantis' is the second volume in the Ancient Future trilogy. It is unquestionably four stars. It has all the good elements of the first book and less of the bad ones, but before I go into details a bit about the book.

I'll try not to divulge the plot of the first book in talking about this one. The story begins back in the dark ages, but at a time twenty years on from the period of the first book. That is 539 AD. Ossa the King of the Saxons is in a bit of a pickle. Horrendous whether has ruined the Saxons crops and they won't have enough food to last the winter. The Britons under the rule of Maelgwn and Tory have had bounteous harvests. Ossa thinks this is unfair of the Goddess and seeks to seize some of the Britons good fortune. To this end he seeks the help of Mahaud. When the crone is freed she isn't very happy and wants revenge. As it is fairly obvious from the title I don't think I'm giving anything away when I say Tory has to go back to Atlantis in order to counter Mahaud.

This is an exceedingly complicated book. If you were to plot a timeline of it the result would give Escher nightmares. Tory is forced to make a number of time jumps, even more then in the first book. Traci never lost me once through all the convolutions. Everything happens in an inevitable fashion. One event is caused by another even though he caused event happens before what caused it

These sort of complications lead to a number of characters knowing whatís going to happen before it happens and having to keep things that happened secret from other characters as, if those characters knew what had it might not have happened.

What is truly amazing about all this is that there aren't any unintentional paradoxes, there is one deliberate one. But that's enough obtuse references about structure. On to other bits.

"An Echo in Time' is different from 'Ancient Future'. It's a subtle difference that you don't at first notice as the style of writing is the same. This difference is in the character of Tory, she has developed from the person she was in the first book. Her attitude towards people and their motivations has changed as her experience and knowledge increased.

When I think about Tory as she is at the end of 'Echo in Time' and how she was at the beginning of 'Ancient Future', I think these can't be the same character. The transition and growth of the character is gradual and realistic. Tory couldn't be anyone other than she is after her experiences.

Romance plays as strong a part in this book as it does in the first. I guess this is part of the reason I like both books so much, I'm a romantic at heart. Things are a little more graphic in this book then in 'Ancient Future'. There is one scene in particular, about two thirds through the book, where I thought the pages were going to spontaneously combust, it was getting so hot.

Traci has developed a fascinating philosophy of reincarnation and karmic influences. It was evidenced in the first book and is even more strongly emphasised in this one. The same soulminds will always encounter themselves in each revolution of time. As Tory is crossing time periods this gives her some interesting encounters with previous and future incarnations of those she has known. Sometimes this is to Tory's advantage and sometimes not.

The over explanation that I found annoying in the first book isn't in this book, except in one point. There is one scene in Atlantis where Traci over explains some astrology and astronomy. It's all very interesting and accurate, but unnecessarily detailed with present day translation of ancient nomenclature and references.

The language which I found difficult to get a grip on at the start of the first book I had no trouble with in this book. This is probably due to having read this book straight after finishing 'Ancient Future'. The language isnít bad, it just takes a while to get into the flow of reading the archaic dialogue.

I can highly recommend this book, although I'm beginning to feel Traci's work needs to be sold with a health warning: Highly Addictive. They are so easy and fun to read that once I started I didn't want to stop. I kept telling myself I'd just read one more chapter, then before I know it it's 3 in the morning.