Mrfishscales's Reviews > People of the Wolf

People of the Wolf by W. Michael Gear
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's review
Mar 20, 2010

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bookshelves: american-20th-century-fiction

This is an odd book. The climate science seems sound: it depicts a peri-glacial Alaskan landscape where tribes from Asia are piling up against the barrier that separates them from the rest of North America. Resources are dwindling and clashes between tribes are growing more fierce.

The mystical element is handled in a way that is not over the top, for a change. It is the authors' premise that there are mystics in every population and they are necessary to challenge the status quo and make the tribe take chances. This is all very "doors of perception" and Timothy Learyesque, which is fine. The shaman who leads 'the people of the wolf' reminded me of Fiver, the mystic rabbit in Watership Down, prone to physical fits and ultimately not suited to leadership.

Another premise in this book is that rape was an omnipresent threat in Stone Age societies. This is a grim assumption and I'm not sure of its anthropological basis. The female heroine in People of the Wolf becomes a sort of Amazon in response to her brutal marriage and post-marital abuse. This kind of revenge fantasy is not as satisfying as that of Xena the Warrior Princess, who becomes a similar sort of character in order to repent her own savage deeds (as opposed to savage deeds perpetrated upon her).

The writing is breezy and concise. The Stone Age people speak in a modern idiom and at times have suspiciously modern psychological perspectives, implying that many interpersonal dynamics are timeless, which may not be the case. It does, however, make the story telling trip right along.

I plan to give this series another try because the treatment of climate history and the physical anthropology seem sound. But I'm not rushing to a book right now and buying multiple installments.

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