DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE by Kaye George is the first in her People of the Wind series. She places various hominid peoples in North America, including this tribe of Neanderthals. Using the most current research findings (at the time of writing) and what I can only call a stunning imagination, she creates a culture specific to one particular group of people.
As you may recall, I read and loved Steven Mithen’s AFTER THE ICE, and there was nothing in George’s book that made me go, “Naw. Uh-uh. Got that WRONG.” I could absolutely believe that these people behaved and thought in these ways. I say “these ways”, plural, because George writes about individuals.
Okay, the death. Somebody kills the Hama, or Most High Female. The tribe wants to blame it on an outsider — any outsider. One woman, though, believes the culprit is one of the tribe. Not a popular opinion.
There are sub-plots galore, none of which get in the way of the main storyline. There is a wealth of detail about building techniques, burial practices, climate change, and so on, none of which bogs down the flow with info-dump.
The only drawback I can find is a tendency to repeat questions and musings a little too exactly and a little too close together.
“You call that a drawback?”
Hey, if I said it was perfect, I would draw the attention of the gods to the book. You don’t wanna draw the attention of the gods, amIright?
I want to buy — yes, with money — the sequel, DEATH ON THE TREK, but I haven’t yet convinced my fist to unclench and let go of five bucks for an electronic book. That might still happen.
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: A character expresses an unpopular opinion.