In preparation for the launch of my latest prehistoric fiction novel, Survival of the Fittest (Book 1 in the Crossroads trilogy), here are two more great prehistoric fiction novels you won’t want to miss:
- The Wolf and the Whale — surviving the North American arctic was difficult 1000 years ago, and even more difficult if the gods were against you
- Song of the River — An Alaskan tribe about 6500 years ago tries to survive despite harsh weather, inter-tribal warfare, and politics
A note about my reviews: I only review books I enjoyed. I need to be inspired to write. That’s why so many of my reviews are 4/5 or 5/5
by Jordanna Max Brodsky
Jordanna Max Brodsky’s The Wolf and the Whale (Redhook 2019) is a saga of life before man was the unequivocal alpha on the planet, when Nature still thought she could defeat us. This is a time when man protected barely survived the coldest weather, when food was a treat to be relished when available, when only the tough had any expectation of surviving. If you weren’t tough, you weren’t valued.
Omat is that person. She suffers mightily from hunger, bad luck, and deaths of the hunters within her Inuit tribe. Her life has been difficult from an inauspicious beginning when she was left to die in the snow, saved only by the kindness of a great white wolf. Her tribe struggles to survive in the arctic cold of North America, only to be kidnapped, raped, and enslaved by invaders who are later destroyed by the arrival of the Vikings. She is a seer, able to talk to the gods, until they reject her, leaving her wondering at her purpose. Many times, she wants to give up but something within won’t allow it. And so she continues.
“The Wolf in the Whale is a powerful tale of magic, discovery and adventure, featuring an unforgettable narrator ready to confront the gods themselves.”
The characters are strong and well-developed, mostly likable. The setting is so cold, I am there, my hands freezing to hard white knobs, my stomach long past growling from hunger when the caribou can’t be found. The plot itself is intricate and well-developed, taking me well-beyond a story of survival or the history of the earliest North Americans.
“…watching the story fly before me like a cast harpoon. I moved to follow it, my”
Where did it lose a point? There were places it dragged, where I wanted to move ahead but we were stuck in backstory and detail. For some, that could work fine.
–received for free from NetGalley in return for an honest review
by Sue Harrison
Sue Harrison’s Song of the River (Open Road Media 2013), Book 1 of the Storyteller Trilogy, takes place around present day Iliamna Lake in Alaska, about 6500 years ago. Two tribes who have historically been friendly find themselves on the verge of war. Chakliux, born with webbed feet, abandoned as a child but now honored as the tribe’s storyteller, is believed to have special abilities so takes it upon himself to travel from his home village to the neighboring one with the goal of stopping the fighting before people are killed. But, while there, several people are stabbed to death, an unusual occurrence and for people who worry about taboos and symbols, enough to make them suspicious that Chakliux brings bad luck. But It’s a lot more complicated. Behind the scenes, Chakliux’s adopted mother K’os is pursuing her own goals and she doesn’t care who is hurt in the process.
Harrison writes with the depth of knowledge found in other incomparable prehistoric fiction writers like Kathleen Gear and Linda Lay Shuler:
Quickly, I felt that I knew these people, understood their customs and desires. The plot though interesting was almost inconsequential when weighed against the opportunity to explore life long since gone in a frozen world that seems uninhabitable. It is no surprise Kirkus Reviews said this:
“Harrison once again displays her first-rate storytelling talents, here in a rousing tale of murder, revenge, and internecine warfare.” –Kirkus Reviews
This is Harrison’s second prehistoric fiction trilogy. The first–The Ivory Carver Trilogy–was critically-acclaimed for its drama, reality, and atmosphere. Mother Earth Father Sky from the trilogy became a national and international bestseller, and was selected by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books for Young Adults in 1991, In the small world of prehistoric fiction authors (here’s a short list of writers in that genre), Harrison stands out as one of the most respected. Her novels have been translated into thirteen languages and published in more than twenty countries.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Summer 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning