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Set in the 23rd century B.C., Weenolsen's novel records the building of ""Stonehenge II"" in Britain--and here, as in Jean Auel's prehistoric sagas, the dark craniums of our ancestors have been floodlit with modern (if stuffy) locutions. For example, Sinnoch, the Warrior King of the sun-worshipping Beakermen, makes his foreign policy perfectly clear: ""The Islanders believe that stone. . . embodies their Mother Goddess. . . I intend to transport from this Forbidden Mountain a number of Bluestone pillars and set them up within the Sacred Circle."" Thus, Sinnoch will draw down the northern tribes--and as for Lord Sun's possible affront: ""I'll fuse the two religions in such a way as to enhance his prestige."" So the Blue Ax tribesmen, Goddess-worshippers who live by the Forbidden Mountain, are egged on by Hancar, Sinnoch's wily power-hungry son, to move those Bluestones--a mammoth journey over land and water. And accompanying the trek is Blue-Ax craftsman Gwynnan, who wins Sinnoch's admiration--not only for his plain-speaking but for his ability to create an uncanny likeness of Sinnoch to greet the Sun God at the entrance to the Sacred Circle. Unfortunately, however, Gwynnan will fall in love with Sinnoch's young wife Oralu; he'll fail to save the life of the Torc wearer, a runaway slave and copper-craftsman; there'll be a string of lively executions--strangling, crucifixion, impalement, poisoning, plus an inventive live burial in a tree. And finally the inevitable showdown-battle between Sinnoch and son Hancar will come--after which Gwynnan, keeping his promise to preserve Sinnoch's body from desecration, escapes home. . . presumably to join Oralu. A journeyman job at best--with spear-and-arrow action, solemn tent-talk, and stone-masonry details--but the current yen for souped-up prehistory may give this rocky construction-saga a boost.

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow