Many know that I love historical fiction and I have a particular interest in prehistoric times. Ever since first reading The Clan of the Cave Bear, Book one in Jean Auel's Earth's Children series, prehistoric stories have fascinated me. When I was offered a chance to read this book, I jumped at the chance. What Ron has done with this book is truly amazing. He gives us a glimpse of what a civilized prehistoric society might have looked like and brings interesting characters and themes into the stories. I see the main character as Blue Sky and he is a great character because he questions everything. Many of the themes in the book actually come about from Blue Sky's challenging the norm.
The first thing I found very interesting was the presence of a gay/lesbian lifestyle within this society. I thought this was an excellent way to present the case that homosexuals have been present throughout history and not always kept under wraps. The lifestyle is a normal part of life in their community and no one is ostracized because of it. I found this idea refreshing.
The book takes an interesting twist from being so accepting of homosexual lifestyles and yet cannot accept the possibility that the people who live in the hills, the hunters/gatherers, could very well be a similar people. Not the evil and hideous invaders that legend has portrayed. This is one of the issues that Blue Sky questions and seeks to bring truth to the fore.
One of the main plot points surrounds Blue Sky's sister, Rose Leaf and Morning Sun, the prince of their land. Morning Sun's father, king Tall Oak, has forbade them to marry, but no reason is given. It is made known that if they marry or procreate, their child will be killed. This is an outrage to Blue Sky. He believes that the king should not have absolute power to make and carry out decisions like this. So another theme in the book is the issue of absolute power. Should a ruler have this kind of power with nothing holding him in check? An age old question that many societies, including our great nation. have asked and fought to change. Where the people have the right to choose. A favorite quote is when Blue Sky confronts his father, Green Field, an old friend and loyal supporter of the king:
"When you were a youth," Blue Sky said, "rebelling against a misguided and fearful king was called bravery. Those who did it are still, to this day, considered heroes. And rightly so, in my opinion. When they were young, they were fearless. But sadly, as they grew older, they let fear rule their lives and the kingdom. I'll have nothing further to do with you. I'll say goodbye to my mother now and be gone. You, though, can forget you ever had me for a son."
What a tell off! Blue Sky has decided to take a stand and champion the cause of Morning Sun and Rose Leaf. He is determined that the people of the kingdom will be equally outraged and a demand for change will come about. You will have to read the book if you want to know what happens!
I really liked Promised Valley Rebellion because of what I mentioned above, but also because of how Ron explored the differences between the hunting/gathering society and the societies of the farming towns and animal herders, showing that these societies coexisted for a time and that there was animosity between them. It is an interesting exploration of prehistoric life wrapped up with elements of conflict, love and lust.