Editorial Review: Echoes of Ancients - Book 2 of Lamentations and Magic by Russell Cowdrey
Ben, Louisa, Abu, and the Thirteenth Bengal Lancers continue their adventures on the planet of Aaru while searching for a way back home to Earth.
Ancient Civilizations, the first book in the Lamentations and Magic series by Russell Cowdrey, detailed how Dr. Benjamin McGehee, Abu, and Louisa ended up getting transported to the planet Aaru on the other side of the universe. Echoes of Ancients is the direct continuation of the story and picks up right where the previous book left off. After getting kidnapped in book one, Louisa is reunited with Ben, Abu, and the rest of the earthlings who are stuck on Aaru. Ben is still determined to find a way to get everyone back home, but the weapons wielded by the earthlings make them a target of the Remulan Empire. Despite their magic, the Aaruans covet the Earthlings’ guns as whoever wields them could have ultimate power on the planet.
Ben is aware of the strategic importance their weapons hold but also knows the dire consequences of their secrets falling into the wrong hands. The earthlings end up as guests of the Welves, a race of immortal pseudo-humans, but find the Remulans hounding them every step of the way. As if dealing with a Remulan Emperor who descends from Julius Ceasar is not daunting enough Ben and his group also have the threat of the world-ending Lamentations hanging over them. Unfortunately, the key to returning home lies with deciphering the secrets of a long-vanished alien race called the Ancients.
With Ancient Civilizations the author did a great job setting up a fascinating new world with unique races and strange magic. The book also introduced readers to three captivating characters in the form of Ben, Abu, and Louisa as well as a host of equally interesting secondary characters. Echoes of Ancients wastes no time in getting right back into the action and gives each of these well-liked characters more opportunities to shine. Ben is still a charismatic leader, who despite his flaws tries to always do what is right. Abu, his adopted son, also gets to shoulder a lot more responsibilities in this book and sets out on adventures of his own. Then there’s Louisa who is still struggling with her conflicted emotions about returning home and being with Ben versus remaining on Aaru.
Ancient Civilizations had a great cast of secondary characters and Echoes of Ancients is no exception. From Masako, the young slave girl whom Abu takes under his protection, to the warrior sisters, Ki and Lil, the story is filled with memorable characters. In addition to writing great characters, the author also excels at writing captivating descriptions of mysterious locations. Ben and his group's exploration of a place called “The Tomb of Mortals” is filled with mystery and wonder as well as danger. Echoes of Ancients also features some epic battle scenes that are filled with nail-biting strategic maneuvers from all factions involved.
Overall, Echoes of Ancients is a great continuation of the story and makes it clear that the stakes will be even higher in the next book, A Harvest of Ancient Sorrows. Readers who experienced the trials and tribulations of Ben, Abu, and Louisa in the first book will definitely want to read this book to see their character growth continuing. The book also reveals more fascinating insights about Aaru, but without giving away too much. Fans of action, adventure, science fiction, and just riveting stories in general should not miss out on the Lamentations and Magic series.