Ancient Echoes by Robert Holdstock


Chatwin has visions of a parallel world where a couple are fleeing some terrible event pursued by an enemy and are seeking a gate to freedom. Chatwin is the gate, and when only one of the pair manages to escape, a struggle ensues between the other world and that of Chatwin.

Although this book is not part of the Mythago Cycle, there is still a link in terms of the deeper story and ideas that run through Ancient Echoes. This book follows Jack from boy to manhood, where he is haunted by visions which no one is able to explain, and Jack becomes almost a science project to his lifelong friend Angela.

The book itself is very accessible and it feels more contemporary than the books I have previously read in the Mythago Cycle as it references early computer games and other time-markers. As well as that, this book is more technologically advanced as it talks about Lucid Dreaming and Direct Computer Interpretation and what is termed the Midax Deep, which allows Jack to eventually enter his own subconscious and so enter the pre-mythology.

Jack is linked to the Bullrunners via his visions, which scope him up so that even though he is awake he is not in our world, which can cause danger to himself and other people. The Bullrunners Greenface and Greyface seem to be constantly running from something which Jack can’t understand, which is why he agrees to become a test subject of the Midax team who are studying the links between the conscious and unconscious mind and how dreams shape this.

No one knows why the Bullrunners are drawn to Jack but he makes it his mission to find out why they are invading his mind to protect his family and solve a lifelong mystery.

Robert Holdstock’s imagery is impeccable in the real world; we are described English scenery and a world of towns that are still surrounded by nature. The world feels real and rugged, with walks across moors and hills. In the hinterland which Jack enters, with the help of the Midax computers, we are told of a far more primitive world where the seasons are extreme and the wildlife dangerous.

Inside the Hinterland which is also part of Jack’s unconscious stories are played out, the world changes in years rather than months every time Jack returns even if only a few days have passed in our world. Is Jack seeing his mind’s version of facts happening in the real world or is he experiences older timeless stories which are proto-memories of ancient times?

Robert Holdstock’s greatest gift was to imbue his characters from other times and other realities with characteristics that express their motives and drive without trying to make them modern. His mythological knowledge allows the worlds he creates to feel as if that they could be proto-mythology that we know. It is similar to studying comparative mythology and twisting it to your own needs.

Review by

1 positive reader review(s) for Ancient Echoes


More Robert Holdstock reviews

Merlin's Wood

by Robert Holdstock

In the depths of Broceliande - an ancient French woodland - Merlin and the enchantress Vivien play out their deadly feud. Meanwhile, a child is born deaf, dumb and blind. H [...]

Published: 0000

Score: 88

Our rating: 8.8 | 0 positive reader reviews


Mythago Wood

by Robert Holdstock

Deep within the wildwood lies a place of myth and mystery, from which few return, and none remain unchanged. Ryhope Wood may look like a three-mile-square fenced-in wood in [...]

Published: 1984

Score: 100

Our rating: 9.8 | 2 positive reader reviews



by Robert Holdstock

At the heart of the wildwood lies a place of mystery and legend, from which few return and none emerged unchanged: Lavondyss . . . the ultimate realm, the source of all myt [...]

Published: 1988

Score: 96

Our rating: 9.5 | 1 positive reader reviews


The Hollowing

by Robert Holdstock

The victim of a violent attack, Alex Bradley is a damaged and visionary child. Little does he know that the distorted creations of his mind are alive inside nearby Ryhope W [...]

Published: 1993

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.8 | 0 positive reader reviews


Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn

by Robert Holdstock

Ryhope Wood holds ancient secrets and memories – from legend, history, real and believed – that manifest themselves in physical form. Known as mythagos, they ar [...]

Published: 1997

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews



by Robert Holdstock

At the heart of Ryhope Wood, Steven and the mythago Guiwenneth live in the ruins of a Roman villa close to a haunted fortress from the Iron Age, from which Guiwenneth's [...]

Published: 2009

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews


Ancient Echoes reader reviews

from Ghana W/A

This book is realy amazing. Unfortunately I did not finish reading it before it got lost. Is one of my best rated book.

9.8/10 from 2 reviews

Write a reader review

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy


by Terry Pratchett

On the day the world ends... Mau is on his way home from the Boys' Island. Soon he will be a man. And then the wave comes - a huge wave, dragging black night behind it [...]

Published: 2008

Score: 105

Our rating: 9.7 | 8 positive reader reviews


Roses and Rot

by Kat Howard

What would you sacrifice for everything you ever dreamed of? Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, s [...]

Published: 2016

Score: 94

Our rating: 9.4 | 0 positive reader reviews



by Catherynne M Valente

Sei, November, Ludov, and Oleg -- four people unknown to each other but united by grief and their obsession with the city of Palimpsest. Located beyond the human realm, Pal [...]

Published: 2009

Score: 91

Our rating: 9.1 | 0 positive reader reviews



by John Gardner

When Grendel is drawn up from the caves under the mere, where he lives with his bloated, inarticulate hag of a mother, into the fresh night air, it is to lay waste Hrothgar [...]

Published: 1971

Score: 91

Our rating: 9.1 | 0 positive reader reviews