Dann's prehistoric epic is a dizzying amalgam of legend, myth, archaeology, warfare and romance. Set somewhere on the Eurasian continent around 30,000 B.C., the novel pits lovers Agon and Eena against tradition and taboo in a time of immense brutality and a place of vast, pristine beauty. Agon is known simply as Axe Man while Eena is referred to as Spear Woman, a title she first lives up to in a gruesome scene in which she adroitly casts her spear down the throat of a hyena. Agon is the son of mighty chieftain and sorcerer Grae, leader of a warrior tribe known as the Bison Hunters. He spies golden-haired Eena with her brother and father along the banks of an immense glacier-fed river. Before his eyes, the men are slaughtered by a rival Neanderthal tribe led by the murderous shaman, Ka, who kidnaps and rapes Eena. Heroic Axe Man saves Spear Woman, and the two begin their own tribe, yet they still fear the vengeance of Ka's children. Their love is not like that of their fellow cave-dwellers, but a reciprocal passion and a mutual respect for each other's strengths. In his sweeping, cast-of-thousands tale, Dann tackles the culture of the Ice Age in sparse, biblically tinged prose.
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