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Shaman: A novel of the Ice Age [Hardcover]

Kim Stanley Robinson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 12.91 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Sep 2013
An award-winning and bestselling SF writer, Kim Stanley Robinson is widely acknowledged as one of the most exciting and visionary writers in the field. His latest novel, 2312, imagined how we would be living 300 years from now. Now, with his new novel, he turns from our future to our past - to the Palaeolithic era, and an extraordinary moment in humanity's development. An emotionally powerful and richly detailed portrayal of life 30,000 years ago, it is a novel that will appeal both to his existing fans and a whole new mainstream readership.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (3 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841499994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841499994
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kim Stanley Robinson has won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. He is the author of over twenty previous books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the highly acclaimed FORTY SIGNS OF RAIN. He lives in Davis, California.

Product Description


An amazing piece of recreation, vividly evoking the deprivations, animalistic beliefs and day-to-day struggles of a primitive tribe (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Robinson's prose is rich and detailed . . . Superb (SFX)

Shaman is set in an era of human history almost unimaginably different from ours, but Robinson brings it alive through a detailed account of Loon's experiences (GUARDIAN)

Low-tech lives and Ice Age conditions are all superbly evoked (DAILY MAIL)

An intelligent, and at times mesmerising novel (IRISH EXAMINER)

A thrilling journey through an age of ice and stone - one of Kim Stanley Robinson's best! (Greg Bear)

Book Description

An extraordinary portrayal of life in the Palaeolithic era, 30,000 years into our past, by the multi-award-winning author described recently by the Sunday Times as 'one of science fiction's greats'

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad read 17 Feb 2014
Having made his mark in science fiction Robinson is now writing historical fiction. I have read Galileo's Dream before, which i really enjoyed, so was looking forward to this one.

This story is set in Palaeolithic times, when the glaciers set the northern boundary and is centred around a character called Loon, a 12 year old, learning to be a Shaman, and his small tribe of twenty of so people. At the very beginning he is set off on his 'wander' where he is released naked and has to rely on his training an intuition to survive for a number of days; part of the training of becoming a Shaman. He survives, and his training progresses.

At a meeting of tribes he meets with girl, who returns with him to his tribe where they marry. At the next gathering she is snatched back by her tribe and Loon follows. He is captured and is taken back to be used sa a slave. His mentor Thorn decides to try a rescue of Loon and Hega from the tribe.

Overall the story isn't too bad. It has reasonably well formed characters and moderate plot development. Robinson manages to convey really well just how tough it was for humans then, and just how close to starvation that they were on a regular basis. Where the book failed for me was the dialogue. Whilst humans have been capable of complex communication for thousands of years it seems like the dialogue was from the middle ages at times. Closer to 2.5 stars; and didn't take long to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite convincing. 18 Jan 2014
I was prompted to read this by a glowing review in a national newspaper, and while I did enjoy it up to a point, I was not entirely convinced by the picture of Ice Age Europe that Robinson describes. For a start, he hasn't got his fauna quite right - there have never been racoons in Europe - and although I liked the portrayal of the tribe and their daily struggle for survival, there were things that didn't quite ring true. For instance, I don't think the small children would have been parked in a 'nursery school' playing in the sand - they'd have been out there with their parents, learning the vital lessons essential to a hunter gatherer society. And some of the characters' attitudes seemed more 21st century American than Paleolithic. I think Michelle Paver's 'Wolf Brother' series, although written for older children rather than adults, gives a much more convincing depiction, or try the graphic novel 'Mezolith', which is both accurate and beautiful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine tale 1 Dec 2013
By Dave H
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fine tale of life in Ice Age Europe, evocative writing and good character development, humour, excitement, and adventure. But... raccoons? Blue jays? Muskrats? Hummingbirds etc? Oh dear. I found the poor research very jarring occasionally, so one star off for that.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Lucinda
This chilling novel combines science fiction, speculative fiction and historical genres for an altogether unique read. Kim S Robinson's awe-inspiring vision on how we lived thirty thousand years ago is simply breathtaking, and might I add most accurate too. I am fascinated with the natural world and the beauty of Earth's wonders and landscape, including animal/ plant habitats and history of life. This book presents an incredible insight into our past like never before, told in such a compelling and readable way that you are transported right back in time. The bleak, harsh environment sent shivers running down my spine as I could clearly envisage what it must have been like during an Ice Age. The wonders of prehistoric Earth are astonishing, (which I have also explored in other non-fiction history books and works by Sir David Attenborough).

Shaman is a coming-of-age story about `Loon' (a Shaman's apprentice) during the Ice Age. Within this desolate winter land, Kim S Robinson explores what it really was like to survive in a terrible world filled with dangerous life and Neanderthals. Reading this book was a truly unforgettable experience, as vivid and captivating as if I was watching a TV BBC documentary about Planet Earth. How the author interprets the lives of his characters from the past is engaging, and it is obvious how much lengthy research has gone into this novel.

I would highly recommend this novel to not only readers of speculative fiction, but to readers of all genre, as it is written so as to reach out to a wide-readership and all kinds of taste. Deeply mesmerizing, intense and brimming full of rich detail this is a story to remember and one that I wont be forgetting in a hurry!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to basics 3 Sep 2013
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Going back 30,000 years to the Palaeolithic on Earth for Shaman seems like a considerable turn in the opposite direction for Kim Stanley Robinson, an author more associated with works set in the far future and on distant planets (2312, the Mars Trilogy). Surprisingly, or perhaps maybe not so surprisingly if you've read deeper into his concepts elsewhere, Shaman tackles similar science-fiction themes in its back-to-basics look at humanity. Perhaps if you can understand where you came from, you'll have a better idea of what the human race is capable of in the future.

Shaman starts out with the story of a young boy's apprenticeship to becoming the Shaman of the Raven clan. Set out naked and alone on a "wander" for two weeks at the age of 12, Loon must confront head-on the kind of hazards that face a vulnerable human in the wild and he very quickly learns the skills necessary to survive the unpredictable challenges of what lies ahead of him. More than that, he is also expected to experience a vision that places him in touch with the unseen world and help him on his path to becoming a Shaman. Loon is unsure of his calling and has a difficult relationship with his mentor Thorn, but life in the Ice Age has plenty of more challenges to throw his way.

Although the setting might be an unusual one, the themes explored by Robinson are no less grand-scale. The stripping back to basics in fact allows those essential human traits to be explored more fully.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story, you have to keep reminding yourself it ...
Lovely story, you have to keep reminding yourself it is only fiction. This kept me reading until well into the night to find out what happened next.
Published 19 days ago by JacquiB
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing read
I was drawn into this book right away and found it gripping throughout. The characters are memorable and there are wonderful scenes that will stay with me. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bookish
4.0 out of 5 stars Shaman: A novel of the Ice Age
This is a book about life as Kim S Robinson imagined it was in the Ice Age. The book is mostly about the life style but with a story running through it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by bannonj
3.0 out of 5 stars A LITTLE TEDIOUS
Must admit I did get bored about a third of the way through the book. Quite possibly it may liven up further in but to be honest I couldn't wait any longer so moved on to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by anthill1956
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of great imagination
This is a work of great imagination. Whereas Jim Crace was able to draw on documents about medieval English life when writing Harvest, Kim Stanley Robinson was working only from... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tony Bayliss
5.0 out of 5 stars The most enjoyable novel I have read on a long time
It is a novel and not a history but the author has done a great job in helping you get into the heads of the people who live an in alien landscape. A cracking story too... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Kim is an author that's always given me a great book before so when I heard that he was writing a tale set in the far past I really wanted to see what would be generated , after... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog
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