The Last Hour Between Worlds (The Echo Archives #1) (Paperback)

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A whip-smart adventure fantasy packed with reality-bending magic, and sapphic romance, The Last Hour Between Worlds is the brilliant launch of a new series from David Gemmell Award-nominated author, Melissa Caruso.

In the Deep Echoes, no one can save you.

Kembral Thorne has a few hours away from her newborn, and she’s determined to enjoy herself at the year-turning ball. But when guests start dropping dead, she can’t help sniffing out trouble—she’s a Hound, after all. Especially when her professional and personal nemesis, notorious burglar Rika Nonesuch, is also on the prowl.

Everyone knows you shouldn’t get involved with Echo games. Let alone one involving ancient Echo lords who can turn layers of reality into a gameboard with human lives for pieces. But as the ballroom grows stranger and more otherworldly with each strike of the hour, it’s clearly too late.

Kem knows the rules: One Echo down is no big deal. Stay alert for trouble. 

Four Echoes down, there are things with eyes in their teeth, and walls that drip blood. Four is the limit. 

As the party plunges through increasingly deadly realities, the rules can’t help Kem anymore. She’ll have to rely on her wits—and Rika—to unravel the most dangerous game of the century before it unleashes catastrophe on their world.

For more from Melissa Caruso, check out:

Swords and Fire
The Tethered Mage
The Defiant Heir
​The Unbound Empire

Rooks and Ruin
The Obsidian Tower
The Quicksilver Court
The Ivory Tomb


About the Author

Melissa Caruso was born on the summer solstice and went to school in an old mansion with a secret door, but despite this auspicious beginning has yet to develop any known superpowers. Melissa has spent her whole life creating imaginary worlds and, in addition to writing, is also an avid LARPer and tabletop gamer.

She graduated with honors in creative writing from Brown University and has an MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Melissa’s first novel, The Tethered Mage, was shortlisted for a Gemmell Morningstar Award for best fantasy debut.

Praise For…

"A charming fantasy mystery that kept me guessing until the very last page—I completely adored this book and would read a dozen more of Kembral's adventures." —Shannon Chakraborty, New York Times bestselling author of The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi

“This book has everything you've been craving: sword fights, time loops, complicated feelings about parenthood, and banter with your sworn enemy. What an absolute delight!"—Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling author

"A brilliant, breathlessly twisty fantasy adventure that I utterly adored. Melissa Caruso is a powerhouse." —Tasha Suri, author of The Jasmine Throne

The Last Hour Between Worlds is a masterpiece—filled with excitement, romance, and characters you would protect with your life. The wobbly time effects in this book reach past its pages, making hours of reading blink by in a moment. Unmissable!”—Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter

“To say The Last Hour Between Worlds hits the ground running would be an understatement: This book starts at a sprint and never slows down. It’s funny, and scary, and weird in the very best way. Melissa Caruso’s writing is razor-sharp and this book is one heck of a page-turner.”—Nicholas Eames, author of Kings of the Wyld

"Equal parts sheer adventurous fun and creepy, dimension-bending tension, featuring a relatable and instantly engaging protagonist. This is totally unlike anything I've read before; Caruso has pulled off a wonderfully creative premise with skill and panache." —Freya Marske, author of A Marvellous Light

"An addictive read with an incredibly sympathetic heroine and a delightful relationship. I loved it and can't wait for more in this world." —Genevieve Cogman, author of The Invisible Library

"This twisty, locked-room mystery spans alternate dimensions, braiding romance and adventure into brilliant, time-looping fun. Perfect for fans of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle!"—Sunyi Dean, author of The Book Eaters

"Twisty, breakneck, and full of delightful surprises, The Last Hour Between Worlds is a book guaranteed to pull you out of a reading slump. Equal parts hilarious and poignant, this is Caruso's best work yet—a time-loop, murder mystery party like you've never read before. I dare you to put it down."—Kritika H. Rao, author of The Surviving Sky

"A witty, tense and imaginative triumph of a book! I lost many an unplanned hour inhaling The Last Hour Between Worlds. With its compelling magic, reluctant hero trying (and failing) to be on leave, and one increasingly surreal party, this tightly paced story will be a lasting favorite!" —Sam Hawke, author of City of Lies

"A fantastical locked-room mystery where every peal of the clock peels away another layer of reality . . . The Last Hour Between Worlds is an absolute adventure, with a queer lead, a snarky rival and breath-takingly poignant moments. Reader, I inhaled it." —K. A. Doore, author of The Perfect Assassin

"Outrageously clever, with characters who are at times wantonly absurd, engaging, enraging, and intricate, this is a book for everyone who wants to escape reality – though beware, it gets weirder the deeper you go." —Anna Stephens, author of Godblind

"This book is for those who dream of going to the ball inside the Goblin King’s crystal bubble, but struggle with work-life balance and finding a good babysitter. A jewelled swirl of dangerous magic, fabulous outfits and reluctant heroism, Caruso’s The Last Hour Between Worlds is fiendishly well-plotted, utterly enchanting and… surprisingly relatable."—Leife Shallcross, author of The Beast's Heart

“I love The Last Hour Between Worlds to pieces… A time-bending triumph, a compelling adventure… A very entertaining story, with a strikingly satisfying climax.”—Locus
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316303477
ISBN-10: 031630347X
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: November 19th, 2024
Pages: 432
Language: English
Series: The Echo Archives