A young girl must lead her clan on a perilous journey in this thrilling first series installment that’s set during the Pleistocene period.
Kec is about a year away from childbearing age, and one of the youngest members of her clan, a large group of Neanderthals who have lived and hunted in the same valley for generations. She’s more thoughtful than the others, and loves to sit on her favorite rock near their cave dwelling and look out over the great, wild expanse below. Later, when she has a disturbing dream that foreshadows the death of her people, she becomes more than a little upset; in it, the message was clear: She must lead her clan to a place called the “heart of the bison” if they are to survive. But where exactly is this place, she wonders, and how could she possibly lead her people on such a dangerous journey? With the fate of her clan hanging in the balance, Kec must find the courage to accept the challenge laid before her. However, it will prove to be a very difficult journey. Overall, this novel is full of scientific and historical detail, to a degree that it sometimes reads like a historical documentary. However, it also offers gripping visual descriptions; for instance, at the very beginning of the book, a group of hominids is killed by a hungry pride of wild cats. The lead female predator of the pride is described as follows: “Her yellow eyes widened, and saliva dripped from the point of her left canine, which projected downward over her lower jaw.” The dialogue is minimal and simple, apparently in an effort to be authentic, and the author points out the limited range of her characters’ vocalizations. The importance of ceremony and symbolism in the Neanderthals’ daily life gives the story a deeper significance as they struggle to survive during the changing seasons. The author also successfully sets up the ending for an impending encounter with another group of prehistoric people.
An epic and detailed saga of survival, set in harsh landscapes.