Last Updated on August 22, 2023
When I choose Ancient Enemy at NetGalley to read and review, I really picked it up due to its intriguing cover. It strongly reminded me of a computer RGP game called Diablo that I used to play many years ago, so I got curious of what the book was all about.
I kind of figured it wouldn’t be a typical mystery, but more of a horror story. I haven’t read a good horror novel in ages, so I welcomed the change in genre.
Ancient Enemy is about Sani Natonaba, an Ute/Navajo young guy who lives with his drunken mother and his stroke-paralyzed granddad, making ends meet as best as they can. Life is not all too bad despite their dire financial situation, however things dramatically change when the chicken and sheep in his care get slaughtered one by one during the night. It is now not only a matter of the family’s entire livelihood being threatened, but also of the slaughter happening in horrible ways, which cannot possibly account for any wild animal that they are used to in the area.
There must be something else going on here, something far more sinister than anyone could imagine.
Thus starts Sani’s journey to the nearby caves, dungeons and tunnels to find out just what is threatening not only the lives of their stock, but the lives of his own family as well. What he discovers is an ancient secret so far out there that he has troubles initially believing any of it. And worst of all, he can’t talk to his family, especially not to his granddad who seems to have all the answers, which are sadly locked in his paralyzed body.
The little his grandfather can communicate he does so with his eyes, directing Sani to various artifacts in his room which will give him the clues he needs to start going after the threat that could destroy them all.
The story in Ancient Enemy is relatively short at a bit over 200 pages, and most of it happens in the caves. There is hardly any dialogue in the book, accounting for no more than 1% of the whole writing. The rest is Sani with his thoughts, his inner demons and his fears that he needs to conquer to defeat the monsters that lurk in the dark recesses of the tunnels below.
In most cases a book without much dialogue puts of me off from reading, but not in this story. There was plenty of inner dialogue by Sani, giving us everything we needed to follow him on his quest. It is a hero’s journey, a coming of age novel that is truly a joy to read.
Ancient Enemy is not so much a real horror story, as a thriller that slightly reminds me of James Rollins at times. It is, however, full of atmosphere that mostly hints of the horrors that lurk not far that captured my attention right from the start.
When I got to the last few pages and I thought I had it all figured out, I was rewarded with yet another surprise that left me thinking about it for a while. I definitely didn’t see that one coming.
Overall Ancient Enemy is a novel that I highly recommend if you want to read something different that will keep you glued to the pages throughout. I recommend you read it in the evening, I promise you’ll get much more out of it that way.
I really enjoyed this book, it was refreshing and well written. I’ve never read anything else by Michael McBride, however now that the author is on my radar, I’ll pick up other books by him as well.
To read more about Ancient Enemy, visit Amazon. It is available for purchase from April 22, but can be pre-ordered right now.