In this thought-provoking prehistoric adventure tale, part of a new series, Dickinson considers evolution, revisiting themes he explored in A Bone from a Dry Sea. Separated from the elders of the Moonhawk clan after an attack by a horde of ""ferocious strangers,"" Noli and five other children roam the land in search of new ""Good Places"" in which to hunt and gather. After a volcano eruption drives them even further afield, the youngsters rescue and befriend a wounded man they dub Tor. Skilled with tools yet unable to speak beyond simple hoots and grunts, enigmatic Tor forces the children--and the reader--to examine what it means to be human. Likewise, Noli's various shaman-like encounters with her own clan's totem animal and the hitherto voiceless spirit guide of Tor's people provide an opportunity for Dickinson to ponder the nature of the sacred. The Moonhawks' encounter with the rest of Tor's people and their joint battle against a marauding lion make for an exciting read. But the real adventure here is the exhilarating mix of ideas the novel so nimbly sets forth. Ages 10-up. (June) FYI: Also due in June is The Kin: Suth's Story ($14.99 ISBN 0-399-23327-X; paper $3.99 -448-41709-X). Two more installments are scheduled for October publication.