Ecko Rising by Danie Ware
Ecko Rising is Danie Ware’s debut novel, released on the 28th of September through Titan Books. Although this is her first novel, she’s no stranger to the world of science fiction and fantasy, as she is employed as a publicist and event organiser for the alternative store, Forbidden Planet.
Ecko is a physically modified anti-hero, the perfect killer and has just become a hired gun, employed by a man called Lugan, who answers to ‘The Boss.’ Living in a world where one corporation has taken over, medicated and tamed the public into the ‘perfect’ placid dream, Ecko and Lugan are a couple of the last few people to stay themselves, to fight against the system. ‘The Boss’ wants to let Ecko go, he’s too much of a loose cannon, too happy to kill. Lugan insists he gets one more chance to prove his worth. Ecko is sent into the headquarters of the corporation he despises but nothing could prepare him for what he finds. The corporation’s next plan is sicker than he ever could have imagined.
In another time and another place, a peaceful world is starting to suffer. A mad man intent on progression is creating monsters that he just cannot perfect. His hideous experiments, replacing skin with metal continue to fail as each one of his victims dies. When he comes across Anathea, an apothecary, he forces her to help and against her better judgement, she accidentally shows him how to perfect his inhumane creations.
As Ecko is plunged into this other world, he has no idea what is real and what isn’t. It could all be a test, he could be in throws of madness…or simply dead. Either way, he has to play the game or he’ll never know.
From the first few pages, Ecko Rising feels like a fast paced, action packed sci-fi thriller. A few chapters in, the novels splits and we are introduced to the fantasy style world that he’s thrown into. The minimal detail of time and place really adds to Ecko’s sense of loss and insecurity in a world he can’t guarantee is real. You also feel his confusion at having to slow his pace to the new world around him. Instead of this being jarring, Ware eases you in until you simply need to know what happens to him. Is he going to be the saviour of their world or accidentally become its downfall? Although Ecko is the main character, there are a number of other truly unique characters that carry the plot in a number of different directions that create great depth to the widespread plot. From a teller of tales to brutal warriors, Ecko Rising mixes fabulous fantasy characters with a science fiction anti-hero and they merge superbly. I would highly recommend this to anyone that has an even slight love of fantasy as it is an epic page turner with an ending that will leave your crying out for more.
Interview with author Danie Ware
Thanks to the lovely people at Titan Books, I was able to put a few questions to Danie Ware and pick the brain of a budding new genre writer.
Ecko Rising starts as what feels like a science fiction novel, then swerves to fantasy, was this your intention from the start, to write a genre mix?
It was absolutely my intention – but when it started it was only for the fun of it. I was much younger and just playing with concepts, messing about with the genre/s because I could. When I started writing Ecko seriously in 2008, I just picked up the concept from where I’d set it down and made an effort to write it ‘properly’, if you like. I don’t think it occurred to me how bizarre and off-the-wall it was until it slowly sunk through my realisation that no-one’s ever done this before – and got away with it!
Whether I will or not – well, that remains to be seen…
Do you have a favourite character in the book? And if so, was it also your favourite character to write for?
Ecko is by far the best character to write – he’s fun. He has energy and wit and insight and I can never quite tell what he’s going to do next. My favourite character, though, is the warrior Redlock, privately dubbed ‘the sane axeman’. Redlock is an older man, an experienced freelance fighter, tough as old leather and utterly pragmatic, tinged with a sense of the ridiculous. If there’s a job that needs doing, Redlock is the force that gets it done.
Have you always wanted to write a novel or was there something that happened, or something you read that made it come to the surface?
I wrote reams of fiction, all through my twenties – made a couple of half-hearted attempts to get it published. When I moved to London from Norwich in 2000, I stopped writing – I had a mortgage and a career and then a child and my life just didn’t have time for it any more. Something in me missed it, though, needed the creative outlet, and it was after going to EasterCon on 2008, my first Con in about 15 years, and meeting some of the authors there, that I knew that I had to take up tolls again!
Have any real people from your life inspired any of the characters?
Many, many people! For example, Lugan’s Pocket of Eternal Dog-Ends actually exists, Redlock’s double-axe fighting style was stolen wholesale from an ex-boyfriend, and Roderick’s demented solo belief in his ‘prophecy’ was largely inspired by someone I knew in my twenties.
Sometimes, our life throws us fascinating characters – people we’ve loved or met or heard of who don’t fit the norm (is there such a thing?) They’re always the most interesting and memorable – and I feel a good character can draw from these people, be a blending of memories and places and faces, a melange of the things that we’ve seen and experienced. They deserve to be remembered!
Being surrounded by authors during your work in events with Forbidden Planet, did you find that the position helped to inspire you or daunt you?
A little of both! Being immersed in the industry helps by osmosis; when there’s that much creative energy around you, you can’t help but pick it up. There are so many inventive and resourceful people – from fans to readers to journos to authors to editors to publicists – who all have something to offer and a new insight to bring, the inspiration is always there.
It’s also been daunting because it’s a lot to live up to. Being already known is kind of a double-edged sword – it means the book is very visible, but it also means that it had better be good!
How would you describe Ecko Rising in one sentence?
It’s ‘sardonic fantasy’ – a sharp new slant on all that nice stuff with the heroes in.
And you have no idea how much I wanted to answer that question with the word ‘Batsh*t’.
After this novel is released I think you’re going to have a lot of people wanting to know, do you have more planned?
I’ve just handed the first draft of the sequel into my editor at Titan Books, and I have a standalone urban fantasy novel, called ‘Seventh Daughter’ currently sitting in the desk of my agent. And more than that, we shall have to see!
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