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Great Sky Woman [Mass Market Paperback]

Steven Barnes

Price: 4.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

24 Mar 2009
The epic story of how primitive humans, without words or machines, set in motion civilization’s long, winding journey to the present.

Thirty thousand years ago, in the heart of the African continent and in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, lived the Ibandi, who for generations nurtured their ancient traditions, and met survival’s daily struggle with quiet faith in their gods. T’Cori, an abandoned girl, and Frog Hopping, a boy possessing a gift that is also a curse, are two of the Ibandi’s chosen ones. Though they live in different encampments, Frog and T’Cori are linked through the mysterious medicine woman known as Stillshadow, who has sensed in them a destiny apart from others’. Through the years, and on their separate paths, T’Cori’s and Frog’s fates entwine as an inevitable disaster approaches from the south–from the very god they worship. For as long as there have been mountain, sky, and savannah, there has been a home for the Ibandi. Now, in the face of an enemy beyond anything spoken of even in legend, they must ask their god face-to-face: Do we remain or do we depart?

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books; Reprint edition (24 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345459024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345459022
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 10.5 x 17 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,686,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich in Spiritual Insight 17 July 2006
By Scott Masterton - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Steve Barnes has traditionally written in the Sci-Fi genre and more recently with the publication of "Lion's Blood" and "Zulu Heart" has written alternate history tales.

"Great Sky Woman" does not fit neatly into a genre, rather it is a genre all its own: Spiritual Fiction. Barnes has managed to create a world that "might have been" based on a world that probably was. The story revolves around the life of two young people in the pre-historic, fictional tribe of the Ibandi. The Ibandi live in the shadow of Mount Kilamanjaro. T'Cori (the nameless one) is an orphaned girl raised to be a Dancer (basically a spiritual healer, soothsayer and holy woman). Frog is a young man raised by his Uncle to be a warrior; like all young men he constantly compares himself with his brothers and peers and constantly finds himself lacking. Barnes sets these characters in a deeply transitional time for the Ibandi: The coming of a Tribe the Mk*tk that are clearly the physical superiors of a the Ibandi (A tribe that heretofore had been on the top of the "human" food chain) and the coming of a great geological disaster that may forever change the beliefs and the homeland of the Ibandi.

As in all of Barnes' novels, "Great Sky Woman" is character driven. It is a coming of age novel and although these people are interacting in a time before history, one cannot help but see the motivations that still drive us today: Food, sex, love, the desire to fit in and a yearning to see God. This is a deeply human novel brought to a wonderful three-dimensional life by Steve Barnes' talent and in depth understanding of the Spiritual and earthly nature of man.

I highly recommend this book for any that wish to look more deeply into themselves and the motivations that drive each and every one of us.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and engaging novel 4 Aug 2006
By K. Graham - Published on
Great Sky woman is thoroughly enjoyable (on every level)!

While reading I felt what the characters felt, their triumphs and their struggles. I took the journey with them. I don't merely mean an emotional response; while reading I began to meditate. This book put me into a very positive, very aware state. The story is touching and profound and timeless. I'll have to read it again sometime.

Great Sky Woman is perhaps Steven Barnes' best work. As far as his writing ability goes, he's reaching for the heavens with this one. I think there's to be sequel, I can't wait.

Buy the book. Read it. You'll see what I mean!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sky Woman Gives Voice and Power to the Science Fiction Genre and African Americans 3 Dec 2006
By Angela Brown - Published on
As always, Barnes has written another phenomenal, detailed piece of fiction that allows African American's to feel like we are truly a part of mainstream literature. When I read Barnes, I feel as if I have a story too--one that is rich with details, hope and beauty. Something that is fiercely lacking in most other literature. The new craze among writers to depict us as one demensional sex-craved vixens and thugs is neither uplifting or representative of what I believe most African Americans want when they go to a book store. We fought too hard for the voices of Langston, Zora, Alice and Toni to be heard to now have them silenced by this new generation of writers that have started "selling themselves" to the highest bidder.

T'Cori (the nameless one) is an orphaned girl raised to be a Dancer. Frog is a young man raised to be a warrior. The two, whose path cross in a way that is unimaginable, allows both T'Cori and Frog to become greater than the selves they started out to be. Both rely on the other's strengths and change their history and the history of their people. We need literature like this. One that allows us to see ourselves as the beginning not the end of what makes this civilization of ours great.

I appreciate writers like Barnes, his wife Ms. Due and the late great Octavia Butler. They allowed us to be a part of the science fiction genre in a way that challenges the status quo and gives credibility to the fact that African American readers want to be challenged and put in the forefront of the literature that is written about us in a way that is classy and multi-layered. Thank you again, Mr. Barnes for another wonderful work of literature. I look forward to the sequel to this book(if rumor proves correct).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Auel, you'll love Barnes 12 July 2011
By Jessica - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this book mentioned in a review of one of the books from Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series. I can't remember which book, or which reviewer, but I wish I could, to send a hearty "Thank You!" If you like the prehistoric genre that Auel basically started, but you'd like to read something less mind-numbingly repetitive, with more attention paid to plot and character than to textbook descriptions of flora, fauna, and geological phenomena, then this is the novel for you! Barnes seamlessly weaves depictions of the environment into his narrative, so you get the science lessons without feeling like the author has paused to whip out a chalkboard. He conveys the societal structure and spiritual beliefs of his milieu with an elegance and believability that invites the reader to inhabit this setting with the characters (much like the best "world-building" of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, even though this novel is more like historical fiction). And, his characters are likable and not-at-all one-dimensional or static. Frog Hopping and T'Cori (the two main characters) each have their own complexity of character, and grow as individuals while they actively participate in their own destinies and the destiny of their people.

I won't go much into the plot (an adequate synopsis is already given in the description), other than to say that I found it engaging throughout, and well-paced. The fact that Frog and T'Cori (and their people) face destruction from geographic and human threats, and how they face these threats and become greater in the face of them, was a touching and engrossing picture of the capabilities of the human spirit. I really couldn't put the book down, and I'm sure I'll be reading it several times, and recommending it to my friends.

On another note, it is immensely refreshing to read excellent fiction that centers around African characters (that aren't either evil savages or one-dimensional caricatures). This novel is a wonderful cure for the snow-blindness that results from seeing nothing but white protagonists blanketing all of literature. (And that's coming from a Caucasian.) Kudos, Mr. Barnes!

For anybody looking at the kindle edition, I read that edition, and as I recall, it had none of the industry-wide issues with editing, formatting, etc. The kindle version was as well-produced as any hardcover would be.

If he always writes this well, Steven Barnes' books will be sitting in the "Read and Read Again" section in my library (and kindle) from now on.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An African Ayla 24 Nov 2008
By L. D. White - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book to be an excellent Historical Fiction work, similar in context and experience to the general work of Jean Auel and her Earth's Children series.

The 'buy-in' of the first few chapters, creates a familiarity with the central characters and their value systems that carries the story to its logical conclusion, without artifice or undo diversion.

I hope that this story is the beginning of a wonderful series.

Dee White
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