on 24 November 2011
There is no way that i would have ever thought i would enjoy a book about caveman, but somehow i did, this again is another really well written book that keeps your interest and makes you feel completely involved with the story, the only reason i haven't reviewed this book sooner is because i was so wrapped up in wanting to read the authors next title as i had enjoyed this one so much, it's very rare for me that i find a book, enjoy it and then enjoy the other books by the same author but we've these titles i have really enjoyed each one and can't wait for more!
on 13 April 2015
Early on in the book we meet with several stock characters; the iron-willed handsome hunter, the plucky handmaiden, the aging benevolent chief, etc., but these initial presentations don’t last. In fact the author specifically goes out of his way to avert these stock characterisations, and subvert several stereotypical plot points that are telegraphed early on through prophecies and in the hands of a less skilled author would’ve been allowed to play out. Several times the author isn’t afraid to give us brutal plot twists, or at least very seriously threaten at them to the point where I genuinely didn’t know if the outcome would come good. This felt realistic, and ramped up both the tension and the level of investment one has in these characters. Credit to the author for that.
The author also recognises how to properly use the setting as a tool to drive the plot. A little time is spent in the beginning admiring and appreciating the beauty of the setting, but later the environment itself drives the plot by presenting the characters with the obstacles they must overcome. Instead of time being spent on describing in painstaking detail how a character might forage for food or treat a hide, these details are only presented when they are relevant and have purpose; when there is something to aim at or achieve that these details form the solution for. This is the way such historical settings should appear in a book, instead of being plonked down in great big info dumps with no relevance to the plot whatsoever.
The final point was that, for my opinion, the dialogue just felt a little lacking and formulaic. Together, this slight deficiency in characters, plot, and dialogue left me with a visceral sense that the story could’ve been better – but, I stress, the author tries to avert these issues, and overall the story was a fun and enjoyable read.
on 15 October 2015
Well written but poorly researched. This is very much a Man the Hunter fantasy when we know that most food in early societies was provided by women, through gathering vegetables, nuts, fruits and roots. The meat of the hunt was not an everyday affair but a celebration.
Nor were men as clearly dominant as this kind of book pretends. Women's authority through being the main food providers, the makers of tools, the childbearers, was considerable. Old women especially were valued ad sources of wisdom. This book clings to an outdated stereotype.
However if you don't mind it being totally inaccurate about women and men, this is a good adventure with an imaginative view of Neanderthals.
on 13 October 2013
I really cannot recommend this book enough. I am an avid historical fiction reader and dipped into this era by mistake, but it was cheap to buy. The era is really well researched and it felt as if I was watching a film, not reading, as the descriptions were so good. To my mind, it fills in all the gaps to explain the Neanderthal/modern human cross over yet convinces us of the struggle to survive to become homo sapiens. If you have not read into this time period, do not hesitate to buy this book. utterly brilliant read, shame there is no continuation as of the moment. This author is one to watch\read!