Book of the month

This is what I'm reading at the moment. The Valley of the Horses is Book 2 of the Earth's Children series by Jean Auel. Set 30,000 years ago in Europe when early humans (Cro-magnons) and Neanderthals co-existed, it follows the story of Ayla, a young woman who is cast out by a group of Neanderthals who accepted her into their clan when she is found orphaned at five.

This book follows the young woman's struggle for survival in the inhospitable ice-age and her quest to find other people of her kind. At the same time the story introduces Jondalar (6ft6, blonde, blue-eyes) and his brother, two men out on a exploration, or, Journey (think of a Native American vision quest or the 2010 Western version, the Gap Year). The author weaves both these story strands very well and I can't wait for them to finally meet (I'm half-way through chapter 3).

What I love about this book is that it really transports you to another world. The author was meticulous with her research and has been praised for her anthropological and ethnobotanical authenticity. The descriptions of building an ice cave, tanning deer skin (mashing deer brains to make the leather super supple), the herbs she selects and the foods she chooses all add to the feeling that you are standing in that landscape alongside her.

Its making my commute to work much faster.


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