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Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure

Zan Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure is an award-winning novel by author Allan Richard Shickman.
Zan-Gah gains both notoriety and respect as a boy reaching manhood by his clan when he kills a lion early on, despite his small stature. But this does not help his recurring nightmares about his twin brother who disappeared a year ago after an argument. Though he is believed to be dead, Zan-Gah’s gut tells him he is still alive – which can only lead to the fear that he has been taken captive.

Despite his parents’ fears, Zan-Gah uses his newfound independence to convince everyone that he can find his brother, Dael, and that he will not return without him. Thus begins the many faceted, dangerous mission of the young, but strong, Zan-Gah.

The situation of Zan-Gah is initially hard to delve into, as it is much more primal and, well, prehistoric than our world. I must admit that it took me about 50 pages or so to really feel invested in the main character, Zan-Gah or to really feel invested in the plot. That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot going on, but I just wasn’t drawn in until that point.

But THAT is the point in which I became very occupied in the story and characters. As you get to know Zan-Gah, you begin to really respect him – his principles, his courage, his strength and determination. So, be patient if you feel as I did.

Allan Richard Shickman put a lot of thought, I believe, in how he structured Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure. It is formulated as a middle-grade novel, yet the stark and sometimes disconcerting situations Zan-Gah finds himself in are quite adult – as well as the jarring violence in a particularly affecting scene nearer the end.

There is a poetic, lyrical sense to the novel, despite (or maybe because of) the almost simplistic way he presents the story (it is only 148 pages in length). By the end I had run the gamut on emotions (among them: suspense, shock, heartbreak, revulsion, inspiration) – and felt like I had read a complete story. It almost felt like it was true, it was quite something.

It took me a while to be convinced, I will say truthfully. Some of the language and details of the time period were distracting to me and seemed to disassociate me from the plot. I did find myself skimming some of the longer descriptions at times.

But the overall impression I had once I was done was – wow. It was unusual, refreshing, and so shocking and affective by the last quarter that all the patience really won out and I felt rewarded. In the end I was truly touched and I can see me recommending Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure quite easily.

By no means is it an easy or happy-go-lucky read, but it is a novel that pays off in the end and transports you to a reality so far removed from ours it almost feels like a fantasy.
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Anonymous said…
Thanks for a thoughtful review. I am glad Zan-Gah "exploded" for you. "Wow!" says it all. I'm hoping you also will be thrilled by the sequel, Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country.

WOW! All of a sudden the Zan-Gah orders have started pouring in. I don't know what happened. It must be all of those blog reviews I have been getting lately. Not a single order for a while, and suddenly I am selling Zan-Gah by the case! I may even have to go to press again (3rd printing!). My thanks to you, to my many reviewers, and to all of my new readers. People are paying attention.

Allan R. Shickman
MrsRonWeasley said…
You are welcome!

Very happy to hear it!!! :)

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