SONG OF THE EARTH

John R. Dann, Author . Tor $26.95 (380p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1193-1

Dann's lackluster prehistorical novel, a prequel to 2001's Song of the Axe , opens with an account of how Old Grae was saved as a child from Ka, the chieftain of a rival tribe, and from a volcanic eruption by seven women, all half-sisters, who along with Grae were the only survivors of their clan. While six of the sisters are virtuous, one of them is not—Lilith, whose name brings a Christian gloss to the Cro-Magnon era. Grae's descendants, led by his son Eagle, form three major tribes, fight the "wide men" (Neanderthals) and in unconvincingly short order invent the club, the knife, clothing and diplomacy. They spread out across the land, learn to hunt the buffalo, and in the time of Eagle's son, Young Grae, fight a battle with Lilith and Ka's descendant Karn, who's allied with Lilith for nefarious purposes. The author is at his best in short snippets of character portrayal and action scenes, but even fans of the genre may be disappointed by this multigenerational jumble of high fantasy, prehistoric adventure and what seems like Christian apologetics. Agent, Bernard Shir-Cliff. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 542 pages - 978-0-7653-5047-3
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