West of Eden
Sixty-five million years ago, a disastrous cataclysm exterminated three quarters of all species on earth. Overnight, the age of dinosaurs was ended; the age of mammals had begun.
But if that disaster had never happened and the dinosaurs had survived to fulfill their evolutionary destiny, this is what the world might have been. The world West of Eden.
Harry Harrison, a modern master of imaginative fiction, has created a gripping, vividly rendered epic of prehistory about the tragic, inevitable clash of two mighty races: the Yilane, cold-blooded intelligent reptiles who have dominated the earth, and the Tanu, warm-blooded humans like ourselves, a proud, fierce hunting clan destined to oppose them.
West of Eden is the remarkable odyssey of Kerrick, a young Tanu hunter captured by the Yilane and raised as one of them by their ruthless matriarch. As he grows to manhood, Kerrick is schooled in the strange customs, exotic biological sciences, and rigid caste structure of Yilane culture, and for a time all but forgets his heritage.
When at last he escapes and rejoins his people, Kerrick is at first an outcast. Then, among his tribesmen, he finds love and begins a family, and rises to become the leader of the Tanu. As Yilane raids threaten the future of the Tanu, Kerrick leads his clan on an arduous trek to unite the human tribes in a confrontation with their enemy that will alter forever the course of history.
A fascinating and deeply moving saga of two cultures fated to struggle for control of the earth, West of Eden is also a scientifically accurate projection of what could have been the true history of our world.
I absolutely was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. It’s almost perfect, really. I hated having to put it down! It’s wonderfully written, and it’s a fantastic storyline. It’s really long, but it flies by, almost too quickly.
If you’ve ever read any Native American stories, like about Crazy Horse and Tecumseh and all that, and enjoyed them, you’ll enjoy this book. It’s very much like those, but modern at the same time.
My only problem is that, since an entire language was invented for this book, sometimes I have absolutely no idea what they’re saying, and I really didn’t want to look at the appendix every time that I wanted to know what was being said, so I was confused about the animals and things a lot, but other than that it was wonderful. And they weren’t things that you HAD to understand to know what was going on. Everything important was explained through contextual clues.
I honestly adored this book, and now I’m sad that my library doesn’t have the second one.
I’ll give it a 4.5/5