Reviewed by Pauline Morgan
A mark of a good writer is to drop the reader straight into an alien landscape and for them to instantly feel at home there. Tim Lebbon does this splendidly in Echo City.
The city of the title has gradually been built up over thousands of years with the old, phantom haunted parts in layers beneath the feet of the inhabitants. It is surrounded by a highly toxic desert. Peer has been banished to an area called Skulk, for sedition. When a man walks in from across the desert she realises he is important. With the help of her friend, Penler, she knows she has to take the stranger into Echo City to find the Baker. Nadielle is the last in the line of Bakers, women who create genetically modified monsters in womb vats. Nadielle is also aware that the mistake a Baker created hundreds of years ago will arise from the depths and destroy the city. The two events are not coincidence.
As Peer collects unexpected allies, the world solidifies around the reader. The plotting is complex, the action intense and the result is a very fine book.