Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series
I love mysteries that go off the beaten path, and a Neanderthal Ice Age trek is wonderfully far from that old, too-familiar path. In another fascinating genre blend of historical, adventure, and mystery, Kaye George again succeeds in bringing her Neanderthal characters and their land and culture to life, complete with their religion, their language, and their female-led social structure. Having just read Dean Radin’s Supernormal, on scientific research into telepathy and other psi abilities, her portrayal of Neanderthals as using shared telepathic imagery more than spoken language was even more intriguing. According to Radin’s research, this ability exists and seems to be latent in most of us, but becomes more pronounced through intimacy, emergency, and spiritual practice. The Neanderthal tribe in this book, the Hamapa, is closely bonded, and they practice this skill as a normal part of life, saving speech for special occasions. George shows how telepathy could be a liability as well as an advantage. Since the Hamapa seldom use spoken language, she effectively uses a simple vocabulary and such structures as “most tall” and “more strong” to imply the nature of the Hamapa language and their way of thinking. It has the effect of hearing an ancient saga around a Neanderthal fire.
She acknowledges that she moves various early humans who were not known to be in North America into her chosen setting for the sake of the story, and it works well. This is well researched historical fiction, but it is fiction, after all.
The mystery plot is secondary to the adventure plot, the tale of the trek itself, the tribe’s long journey to avoid the encroaching glaciation of the Ice Age. But, needless to say, under such stresses, people snap, and someone is killed. The process of identifying the killer has to take second place to the need to keep the tribe moving, alive and united, leaving them uneasy as they travel with a possible murderer among them.
The normally perceptive protagonist makes a foolish mistake toward the end, one that I wanted to yell at her for making, but it leads to a satisfying wrap-up for both the mystery and her personal story.
I recommend reading the first book in this series before this one. It will give you grounding in the ways of the tribe. I know it takes the author years to write these, with the amount of research involved, but I look forward to the next one.