Alone Among The Echoes by Justin Coates

by Maricel Dragan

The agent John Hauser has been wandering the earth for fifteen years, he is on a quest to find a long term enemy. He bears the reminiscences of past battles, but this time he has the support of a secretive organization.  Yet, he must face monsters of enormous capabilities.

Urkhar, turned out to be a traitor, Hauser must confront him with his sword. The battle is a never ending encounter with monsters and otherworld forces.

Urkhar wants to get together with Hauser to fight a great god named Anzunna, but Hauser doesn’t believe his good intentions.  Buildings keep fallings down, monsters with long tentacles threat the people of Ulszt and many innocents’ lives are sweep away.

The apocalyptic landscape undermines any hope the agent has to save the world. In spite of all that he continues his journey through Ulszt which was swallowed by the forces of evil and years of war.

“Ulzst! The city whose name and nature was a lie: a necropolis of impossible architecture, the bizarre geometries of its spires twinning together like the clasped hands of a supplicant in the storm-wracked sky.”

The god is capable of inflicting great harm. This is a tale of deception as the agent is betrayed by his friend Urkhar and he struggles to confront the monsters of Ulzst.  Hauser must endure a long journey through the city.

The story is written by an ex- army infantryman. No doubt his experiences serving the army gave him enough material to write his stories. The monsters are more psychological, at the end every human being has to battle with his/her own monsters in order to grow. I guess this says more about the author than the story itself.

The more intriguing thing about this story is the society he portrays, a kind of apocalyptic landscape full of darkness. But, there is a hint of hope even though the soldier must face dangerous situations. This tells us not every dark moment last forever and humans have incredible resources to go through hard situations.

The fantastic characters and the endless battles the soldier must go through make the reader clung to the tale till the end. There are many fights and fantastic creatures.  I would have loved to read more character development. But,  overall this is a fantastic story with some interesting twists, I think any fantasy lover will enjoy this book.  I’ll give Alone Among The Echoes 4 stars.

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