Children of the Dawnland
Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear
Starscape (Tor), Jul 2009, $17.95
12,900 years ago twelve-year-old Twig is a girl living with the Blue Bear Clan of the People of the Dawnland. This is the end of the Ice Ago so the glaciers are melting and receding while rivers and lakes threaten to overflow. Twig’s mother is a Spirit Dreamer who can not see the future, and is not nearly as powerful as her daughter whose vivid visions include a ball falling from the sky destroying everything in its path. Riddle refuses to allow Twig to learn how to use her powers or tell anyone in the clan about them.
The clan elders of Baffalobeard Village are more worried about the Thornback people; Chief Nightcrow is destroying all villages in his path hoping his warriors will bring his clan to a safe place. He has the same mission as Twig as he believes a catastrophe from the sky is coming. Twig learns from Spirit Dreamer that she must find the dreamer Cobia who is the last hope to enable the clan to survive.
Taking place during the last ice Age, glaciers are everywhere in what today is the Great Lakes region. The clans are in trouble with a shortage of animals to hunt. Twig eventually tells the village elders that after the catastrophe occurs they will have a place where they will not only survive they will thrive. Nightcrow is determined to find them before they do and after the event will settle in the land of his visions. Readers will appreciate this terrific prehistoric supernatural thriller that combines some fantasy inside a realistic portrayal of survival.