Most fictional projections make Stone Age people either two-dimensional concepts or modern individuals plunked into a bizarre setting. The late Joseph Bate, a landscape painter and Hollywood art director who researched and wrote this novel over twenty years ago, avoided both these pitfalls. His Ao'h, a Cro-Magnon sorcerer and cave painter, is both a convincing representative of Stone Age man and a vigorous individual whose talent drives him to innovate, gain power, and, inevitably, to become a scapegoat for his group's bad fortune. Although Ao'h's people have a language, there's virtually no conversation here, which contributes to the sense of reality, though the absence of dialogue plus Bato's unsubtle ""allegorical"" touches may deter some. Readers who want straight adventure might prefer Crompton's Sorcerer (1971), but Bate vividly visualizes both the cave paintings and the human impulse behind them, and there are scenes here--of Ao'h stumbling into the path of a herd of mammoths during a dense fog, losing an eye in a fight with his enraged father, or creating his first magic picture--that you won't soon forget.