Tuesday 5 March 2019

A Discovering Diamonds review of DISTANT ECHOES: RICHARD III SPEAKS by Joanne Larner

"It [the plot] may sound a little far-fetched, but... Ms Larner explains it most plausibly and it becomes easy to get sucked into the story. The premise is quite different and, I believe, unique."


fictional drama/fantasy

15th Cent  (Richard III) / Present Day

Eve is at a crossroads in her life. She intends to hand in her notice where she works for a technical company but is forestalled when she returns home to find her longtime partner has left her. Just as well, for her boss has invited her onto a new team to explore the (commercial) possibilities of a new invention -  a machine that can adapt the DNA of any person into speech patterns on any given date and location where they were known to be present. Extensive testing is needed and Eve suggests the DNA of Richard III – the body in the Leicester car park having just been confirmed as being that of Richard's. The necessary DNA is obtained and Eve 'steals' a tiny piece of it for herself. Can they solve the biggest mystery in English history?

The rest of the team hear only the words that Richard speaks, but due to Eve's pre-established psychic abilities – aided by that little piece of DNA hidden in a phial in her pocket – Eve can hear all participants of the conversations as well as 'seeing' the scenes and even feeling the emotions. Many of the scenes are a fictional re-telling of known events and  we also hear Richard dictating letters that he was known to have written. Added to this is Eve's private life which is getting more complicated by the day.

It may sound a little far-fetched, but in fact it is not, given the advances in both technology and the belief in psychic qualities, and the Akashic Records, for instance. Indeed, Ms Larner explains it most plausibly and it becomes easy to get sucked into the story. The premise is quite different and, I believe, unique.

The paperback copy I received was, refreshingly, set in a slightly larger typeface than normal but has the effect of making this a large book; it runs at over 400 pages in this format. There were, unfortunately, some typographical errors and two instances of a sentence being inserted twice – one in the right place followed shortly by a second in the wrong place. A further edit would eliminate these.

In the early stages of the 'investigation' I was a little concerned by Eve's sudden knowledge of many  things Ricardian, although we do learn that she begins to spend a lot of her spare time reading up on the subject and consulting with her friend, Sue, who is a Richard supporter through and through. It is just that some of Eve's off-the-cuff answers to the questions the others ask seemed a little too glib to me. Nevertheless, we see Eve's growing admiration for the man and she may well do a lot to sway those who can't make their minds up about 'this maligned king'.

So: is the mystery of the princes of the Tower solved? Will Eve find true love and happiness amid her tangled love life? Well, I strongly suggest you read the book for I am certain you will enjoy it. 

Oh, and in addition, if you are musical, you may well have some fun with singing the song title scene headings, for which a key is helpfully provided by the author.

© Richard Tearle

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