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Prehistory

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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
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Prehistory

Postby Margaret » Thu September 10th, 2009, 5:21 am

It might be stretching things a bit to count novels set in prehistory as historical fiction, as there's no historical record to work from! But they're certainly not contemporary novels. It's been quite a while since I read one of these - I liked Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel a lot, but have not been really engaged by most of the prehistoricals I've read since then.

I just read a new one, though, Daughter of Kura by Debra Austin, and found it quite interesting. It's a coming-of-age story about a Homo erectus girl in Africa 500,000 years ago. I've reviewed it here.
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annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Thu September 10th, 2009, 7:25 am

This sounds really interesting, Margaret. Coincidentally I just received a copy of Joan Wolf's "Daughter of the Red Deer" this afternoon - I picked it up cheap from an online auction site the other day.

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Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Location: Georgia USA

Postby Ludmilla » Thu September 10th, 2009, 2:21 pm

Sometimes I find myself in the mood for these, but haven't read very many of them. I did read Clan of the Cave Bear when it first came out oh so many years ago; liked it, but never pursued Auel's others and it sounded like that series declined with each one.

I have William Golding's The Inheritors in my TBR. It's about the extinction of the Neanderthals. I recently read Jack London's Before Adam, a very short book that falls in this speculative area of envisioning what life was like during the mid-Pleistocene.

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sweetpotatoboy
Bibliophile
Location: London, UK

Postby sweetpotatoboy » Thu September 10th, 2009, 3:37 pm

I enjoyed the first four of Auel's books and read them in quick succession. They were a bit samey but I enjoyed them. I bought the fifth one that came out much more recently after a long gap, but I haven't read it yet and I'm not sure I ever will. So long had passed since I'd read the previous ones, I wasn't sure whether I needed to re-read them first.

I've read a few of the books in the First North Americans series by W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O'Neal Gear. Not bad at all.

James Michener's cross-era epics tend to start with a section set in prehistorical times and he does it very well.

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Postby Carla » Thu September 10th, 2009, 4:53 pm

I highly, highly recommend William Golding's The Inheritors. I read it years ago and thought it was superb.
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annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Thu September 10th, 2009, 7:44 pm

One of my favourites is Jim Crace's "The Gift of Stones". It's set in a period of transition, as the Stone Age moves into the Bronze Age. As much as anything it's a parable about the perils of refusing to embrace change.

I also have a soft spot for AA Attanasio's historical fantasy novel "Hunting the Ghost Dancer"

I enjoyed Jean Auel's "Clan of the Cave Bear", but as the series progressed I found it increasingly improbable as Ayla turned into a sort of prehistoric super-sexy Superwoman and lost interest.
Last edited by annis on Thu September 10th, 2009, 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Thu September 10th, 2009, 7:55 pm

All of Jean Auel's prehistoric series are reasonably interesting and very well researched, but none of the later ones IMHO were as exciting as Clan of the Cave Bear. She caught some criticism for a certain too-good-to-be-true quality about Jondalar that dampened the intensity of the stories. But the details about life in the Ice Age, especially in The Mammoth Hunters, were fascinating. Clan of the Cave Bear set up a lot of suspense for me about Ayla's mixed-race Cro Magnon/Neanderthal son, so I felt increasingly disappointed with every subsequent novel when the plot didn't revolve around a quest to find him. If I heard that one of the sequels revolved around her finding him or renewing her quest for him, I would want to read it immediately!
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annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Thu September 10th, 2009, 8:37 pm

I agree, Margaret. I'd really like to know what happened to Ayla's son as well. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Jean Auel is planning a further book in the series. Hopefully there won't be such a big gap this time before the next one appears.

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diamondlil
Bibliomaniac

Postby diamondlil » Thu September 10th, 2009, 8:39 pm

It's already been quite some time since the last book came out isn't it?
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User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Mon September 14th, 2009, 1:30 am

Hmph. My reply to this didn't get posted. I must have forgotten to hit "submit" after I previewed it. Yes, the spacing between these novels has gotten longer with each one:

The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980)
The Valley of Horses (1982)
The Mammoth Hunters (1985)
The Plains of Passage (1990)
The Shelters of Stone (2002)

Hopefully, it won't be 2025 before she publishes the next one!

Meanwhile, I've just posted an interview with the author of Daughter of Kura on my blog. It also includes a link to Debra Austin's website, which is pretty interesting.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info


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