In the land of his people Zan meant hunter. He is a young man in his early teens, preparing for a hunt that could bring more death to his people. It will be his first hunt, not one for hunger, but to keep their tribe safe and for revenge of the death of a youngster. Once a lion has tasted of human they would not be safe while it still roamed. He would help to hunt it with his father, his uncle and the rest of the men of his tribe.
The hunt required them to create a large circle around the animal and make it smaller and smaller, thereby trapping the animal in such a way that he was attacked on all sides, more targets to confuse and annoy it. This lion immediately saw a weakness in the line, a line of tall straight unmovable objects but one. There was one weakness in that impenetrable wall. The lion leaped directly at Zan. With no recourse, Zen stood firm holding his spear steadied by the ground. The lion was impaled, but Zan was marked by his claws. The cry immediately went up… Zan-Gah, Zan-Gah. He had now just become a man, Zan the rock, immovable as a rock, solid in the face of danger.
As the celebration died down, Zan has made a life changing decision. He, who had been born one of a twin, had lost his brother the prior year. He did not feel that loss in his soul. Because this was so, he knows that his brother is not dead. Originally his family had thought that he too had been killed by one of the great cats, but with no success at finding his body, Zan was now sure he was lost, or taken by one of the many other tribes as a slave. With his newly found manhood, Zan has decided that his task has been set. He will follow the trail of his brother and not return home without him. A time of growth in a young man’s life, of making a mark on the world. Will he reach his objective?
This is the story of Zan and his adventures in the prehistoric land of earth, living off the land, learning the customs of the others and searching for his lost twin.
In Zan-Gah, Allan Richard Shickman has given us a glimpse into the earth of long ago. He has described a time and place, rich with imagination, and believable in context. The country is described in detail and the descriptions bring the time to life. We meet different groups of cavemen and learn much of a culture that could have been how life really was on prehistoric earth. The weapons, and skins, as well as the face paintings are described in vivid detail. It is easy to visualize the meeting and fear of the most vicious of the groups.
Zan is a strong young man with a goal that he has set for himself. He will not let anything deter him. He has seen the ways of the world since he was a child and understands the dangers that he will face. He willingly accepts the challenge. He is extremely brave, and well tutored in the intricacies of dealing with others. Because there have been wars between the tribes for as long as could remember, there is knowledge of their ways as well.
Zan-Gah is well told and the descriptions make it easy to visualize the time and place. This is a great book for the young adult reader, but also a fun story for anyone that would be interested in a story of bravery and courage. A story rich in life and adventure.