Wednesday, December 14, 2011

ZAN-GAH and the Beautiful Country-Book Review

ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY
By Allan Richard Shickman
2009
151 pages

From Back Cover:
Well past the middle of the night Zan felt a shaking of his shoulder as he slept, and then an impatient foot kicking at him. Instinctively grabbing for his spear, he looked up and saw the orange glow of a torch, and as his eyes adjusted to the invading light he recognized his brother's ghastly face. Dael's dangerous brow was furrowed, and the vein of his forehead bulged under the old scar.His teeth were clenched, and his eyes darted nervously back and forth. His every motion expressed a profound agitation, and Zan knew that what he had been dreading had come.
"It is time, Zan. Let us go!"
"Where? It's dark!"
"I want to find where the river comes from."
The volcanic turbulence that shakes Dael's mind carries him to vicious extremes. It is Zan's task to calm his brother and lead him away from thought both destructive and self-destructive. But even the paradise of the Beautiful Country will not erase them.
My thoughts:
This book is the second in a trilogy by author Shickman. The first one being Zan-Gah A Prehistoric Adventure which introduces us to Zan and his troubled brother Dael. Twin brothers born in prehistoric times where life comes down to surviving the elements and finding food. Zan is raised with his tribe and becomes a like and well respected member. Dael on the other hand is kidnapped by a warring tribe and raised with abuse and hatred. At the end of Zan-Gah A Prehistoric Adventure Zan rescues Dael and brings him back to his family and tribe. And this is where Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country picks up.
Right away I was swept back into the tale of Zan and Dael. These characters are ones that stay with you long after you have finished the book.
Even though Dael is now back with his tribe and family all is not right with him. He finds love and marries but his wife dies in childbirth. More tragedy for Dael to deal with. The years of captivity have taken a toll on his heart and mind. He is unable to let go of the hatred he feels for the tribe that stole his life from him. He wants revenge more then anything and is determined that his brother Zan should go with him back to The Beautiful Country and that the lives of his tormentors and their land also.
Reluctantly Zan who is now the leader of the tribe agrees to move his people to the Beautiful Land in hopes of finding a better life for them and Dael.
Throughout the story Dael continues to wrestle the demons inside himself. As a reader you pity him but struggle to like him despite his hardships. Such a complicated, complex character!
Zan is a good man who puts his tribe and brothers needs ahead of his own. He wants Dael to find happiness but not at the cost of the tribe and their well being.
This story has adventure and heart.
I donated Zan Gah A Prehistorical Adventure to my local middle school library. I plan to do the same with this book. It's my hope that it finds its way into the hands of kids wanting a story that is action packed and memorable.
I can't wait to pick the next title in the series Dael and the Painted People.
Thank you to Bonnie at Earthshaker Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country.

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