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Echo City
Tim Lebbon
Spectra (Ballantine), Oct 26 2010, $7.99, ISBN: 9780553593228
reviewed by Harriet Klausner

Echo City is a theocracy in which the Church is the government with both run by the Marcellan family with an iron fist. Political opposition is forbidden with dissenters punished by exile or death.

Peer Nadawa is caught speaking against the leadership so is sent to reside with criminals living in Skulk Canton; she will not be allowed back as she knows too much. Bordering the Skulk is a poisoned desert The Boneyard. There Peer observes a man crossing the forbidden waste; she believes it is a sign that the end of days for Echo City is upon us. She tells the sickly stranger that his coming has been expected. Additionally Peer finds her former lover Gorham who betrayed her leading a rebel force. She puts aside her personal feelings to go with the newcomer to meet the genetic scientist Nadielle underneath the city where her lab experiments are conducted. However, Peer knows an ancient essence is rising from way under the city; this beast must be stopped before it destroys Echo City as this legend has been passed down throughout history.

Tim Lebbon is known for his ability to merge elements of fantasy and horror together inside of riveting thrillers (see The Chamber of Ten). His current amalgam story line is action-packed from the beginning even as Mr. Lebbon establishes the critical realistic Echo City’s culture especially the rules of order. The characters are fully developed particularly the heroine, her betrayer, the geneticist and an odd person at the top of the spires; the stranger is kept as an enigma purposely adding to the suspense and sense of foreboding. Readers will appreciate this strong tale.

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