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Book Review: Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman

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After rescuing his brother Dael, from the fierce Noi tribe that had captured and tortured him for two years, Zan Gah feels like he may finally be at peace with his life. He falls in love with the beautiful Lissa Na, a young Noi woman who helped in the rescue. But Dael is not the young carefree boy from their youth. He has changed, the torture has made him into a different man then he had been.

There is anger and distrust, which haunt his very soul. Lissa Na continues to love him and is the only one that could soothe his soul. They married, but when she dies during childbirth, it brings out another side of Dael that is vindictive and spiteful. He hurt people and he hated his twin brother Zan Gah with a vengeance.

He develops a group of followers who find his intensity and propensity interesting and exciting. He no long wants to be a twin, so he shaves his head and tattooes his face to make himself different.

In the young adult novel Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, set in prehistoric times, Allan Richard Shickman has brought you a story of change and upheaval. What happens when an entire culture moves their clan and families? How do the changes change the people? For some the change is not so hard but for many the differences are brutal. He also takes you further into the lives of Zan Gah, as well as his twin brother Dael after the initial Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure.

Zan Gah had grown during his search for his brother. He was thrilled to have him back in his life, but it did not take him long to realize that Dael was not the brother he remembered. Zan Gah is a cautious but enlightened man; he marries a young woman that many in his tribe would not consider. She is a hunter, which is not acceptable in his clan, and yet he admires her for her prowess. He continues to love his brother and tries to help him to overcome his anger and rages, even though at times Dael is quite cruel.

Zan never gives up on him, always remembering his brother when they were young; Dael was the funny one, the dreamer. He was well loved by all. Zan cannot and will not give up on his ideal of who his brother was.

This is a story of pain as well as hope. Understanding how Dael has come to be who he is does not make it any more palatable. He is an unpleasant young man and very easy to dislike. And yet there must be more to who he is, as he has his own group of followers, willing to lay down their lives for him. He had a beautiful woman who loved him and left her own family for him.

The story is intriguing but brutal. As it continues to develop you can only wonder and worry as war arises with the Noi. How will they cope and will things ever be as they were?

This is the second book in this series written with an eye to change. It must have been a brutal time and place and Allan Richard Shickman has spared no feeling with his descriptions of both the beauties and the atrocities. This book of the series is far more brutal and descriptive of the tribes and their clan wars.

It brings to life the haunted realities of what captivity can create. I would recommend this book as it brings to a close ,the story of Zan Gah and his tribe. It is a wonderful thought provoking read and would make a good discussion for a reading group or book club.

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About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.
  • http://www.zan-gah.net Allan R. Shickman

    The third book of the Zan-Gah series, Dael and the Painted People, is nearly finished. Watch for it this summer at the new website.

    I hope you will pay us a visit.

    Allan R. Shickman