book reviews

Finally, Book 3 of This Riveting Prehistoric Fiction Series

Prehistoric fiction is a small niche. There aren’t a lot of novels in this genre so I cheer every time I find one I love, like this one:

DEATH IN THE NEW LAND

by Kaye George

Amazon blurb

Enga Dancing Flower and her tribe have reached a place they can stay in safety. Or have they?

It’s clear the groups of other settlers in the area do not want more neighbors, and this is made even more evident when a male of Enga’s tribe is murdered, and a baby is kidnapped.

The future of the tribe is immediately put into question. Can Enga and her people find the killer and rescue the baby? Or will the security and bright future the tribe has dreamed of fall to pieces?

My review

I read Book 1 and 2 of Kaye George’s excellent People of the Wind Mystery series (click for my review of Death in the Time of Ice), and then had to wait what seemed like forever (about five years–an eternity for prehistoric fiction aficionados) for Book 3, Death in the New Land (Untreed Reads 2022). This picks up as Dancing Flower’s Neanderthal tribe settles into a new home, away from the glaciers that made their old home so cold. They meet neighbors of their kind and have a successful mammoth hunt in preparation for the cold season. Life is better than expected until a former group member-turned-traitor begs to be readmitted to the group and they find that the dangerous Tall Ones (a different version of man’s genus) live close by with another former group member who has become an enemy. When a valued tribe member is killed and Dancing Flower’s adopted daughter disappears–probably kidnapped–Dancing Flower struggles to balance the all-important needs of the tribe with her love for her missing daughter.

Throughout this story–the entire series–you learn details about George’s vision of Neanderthals, how they function as a tribe, hunt for food, establish the maternal tribal hierarchy where women are hunters and men perform more traditional female roles. They believe in acting for the good of the group, not the individual and don’t believe in fighting others or killing their own kind. Many of these beliefs are challenged by events in the story, giving the reader a sense of the tension and worry that comes with changing norms.

To be clear, though: These early ancestors as described in this series are not like other Neanderthal stories you’ve probably read. A few observations you may have read in my review of the prior book to this trilogy, Death in the Time of Ice, remain in place:

  • They communicate with thoughts not words or hand gestures.
  • Women are more powerful than men.
  • The youth of the tribe have considerable influence over group decisions.

A few memorable lines that explained a lot about the story:

“We cannot be friendly with them. There are probably others we cannot be friendly toward. It is time for us to adopt a different way. A way of war and fighting. If we are to survive among these violent people, we must defend ourselves.”

“Sister Sun seemed to steal the colors from everything and take them with her as she disappeared. The fresh green of the pine needles, the brown of the dirt beneath them, the blue of the water—they all began to lose their own colors,”

“Enga, and everyone else, could see the pride in his thought-speak, glowing with a shimmering hue, like the white light from the eyes of Mother Sky.”

x

“The thought stream was sent in a wave of dark colors to shield it from the other tribe members and make it private. I know it is a good thing. “

x

Overall, an engaging read about our predecessors that left me better for having read it. I am hoping for a Book 4.

 

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. 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, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Summer 2022

68 thoughts on “Finally, Book 3 of This Riveting Prehistoric Fiction Series

  1. Hi Jacqui, I only like historical novels if they are well research and historically accurate and believable. Two of the three things you cited sounded unrealistic to me. Women may have been the leaders then as they were the mothers. There is literature that suggests that women were revered and their status was higher than men in prehistoric times as far as I understand.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I definitely see your point, Robbie. It was like when I read about Colin Turnbull’s experiences with pygmies, where they chose what to do each day–no leaders–and living huts often were started but never finished–their choice. I have to accept cultures have their own way!

      Like

  2. Hi Jacqui – always interesting to see other authors’ stories in your very narrow niche … must be informative and interesting – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Isn’t it great to find something in your wheelhouse, particularly when not much comes from that direction?

    Incidentally, I’ve meant to tell you that I follow your educational website with tech tips. I’m not sure that all of my comments are coming through. I suspect that you first have to approve them before they appear, but there have been a few times where I’ve asked you a question about something. Knowing what a diligent blogger you are, I imagine you’re not getting those comments. Sometimes I forget, but I’ve looked back a day or two later, and my comments aren’t there. I imagine this is a WordPress deal, but I just thought I’d mention it so you’re aware.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Shoot! I’m sorry about that. I just checked spam and there’s nothing hiding there. I don’t need to pre-approve. I figure if someone posts something contrary to my blog, I’ll catch it pretty fast and delete it (I’m always on the computer). I don’t even see many from you in ‘approved’. Could you try a different browser?

      Thanks for letting me know, Pete. I’d love more engagement over there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll try that. It’s happened more than once, which made me think you had to approve the comments. I thought it was curious since that never happens over here.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I usually use Chrome. The same thing happened with Firefox. Not a big thing to me, but I thought you’d want to know as perhaps that’s why you’re not getting more traffic over there.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I thought that you were going to announce that you were done with your Book 3. I got all confused for a moment. Lol. Did she change the name of her book? Ha ha. Thanks for sharing George’s book and introducing the series.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Sounds like an interesting series and thanks for the quotes. Telepathy is thought by many to be the next big step on the evolutionary ladder, so it’s intriguing that it’s part of a prehistoric community. Is there a suggestion that nature de-selected it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • In that we both consider the thinking brain to be fraught with complicated decisions, yes! Our concepts of the structure of man’s past society are pretty similar though I’m almost 2 million years before her.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the review, Jacqui! The technique of using thought instead of speech sounds interesting. I’ll check out Kaye George’s books.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This society is almost Utopian in its method of working (women being hunters aside), with an enviable focus on ‘do what’s good for the group not yourself’. It’s interesting to see those attitudes play out.

      Like

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