I was attracted to this book by the fact that it was written by archaeologists as I have an interest in archaeology fostered by the grade 5 & 6 curriculum I taught for several years in Ontario schools and since retiring I have worked as a volunteer on two digs and hope to work on more. People of the Raven is called “a novel of prehistoric North America” and takes place in British Columbia, Canada.
From the back cover:
Award-winning archaeologists Michael and Kathleen Gear spin a vivd and captivating tale around one of the most controversial archaeological discoveries in the world: the Kennewick Man — a Caucasoid male mummy dating back more than 9,000 years, found in the Pacific Northwest on the banks of the Columbia River!
A white man in North America more than 9,000 years ago? What was he doing there?
With the terrifying grandeur of melting glaciers as a backdrop, People of the Raven reveals animals and humans struggling for survival amidst massive environmental change. Mammoths, mastodons, and giant lions have become extinct, and Rain Bear, the chief of Sandy Point Village, knows his struggling Raven People may be next.
My imagination was captivated by the Prologue which deals with the modern day story of Kennewick Man and the legal battle which at the time was pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. It presented the dilemma of archaeologists and judges when faced with evidence of great importance which may be suppressed because of indigenous law and religion and the world denied the truth that it could reveal.
Once into the novel, however, I found the prehistoric story so full of violence, cruelty (often to their own children), betrayal, jealousy, hatred, and greed that it overshadowed almost all of the spiritual aspects that were very interesting and some of the protagonists who were under such pressure to work for good and the survival of their people. It was a very long slog — 557 pages — and I had to force myself to finish it. When I started it, I thought I would probably want to read others in the series by these authors, but before I was even half way through, I knew I would not. Hugely disappointing — and I had started it with such enthusiasm. *