Friday, August 5, 2011

Dael and the Painted People by Allan Richard Shickman

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):   A prehistoric adventure, this is the third of the Zan-Gah young adult books. When Dael, guilty and tormented, came to live with the tribe of the painted people, he longed for peace and restoration; but without knowing it, he made a powerful enemy. Luckily, Dael had friends-including a troop of crows-and his own mystical powers. The disturbed and violent hero learns from the Children of the Earth, and from his submissive wife, a new way of life that is peaceful and generous. Dael and the Painted People is a story of conflict, healing, hate, and love by the winner of the Eric Hoffer Award, a finalist for the ForeWord magazine Book of the Year Award, and the Mom's Choice Gold Seal for Excellence in a family-friendly book series.

And here's what I thought:  This is the third in the Zan-Gah series, and it smoothly continues where the last story leaves off.   What I like about these books is that it is obvious that the author works in authentic details of what prehistoric life was (most likely) like.  He doesn't shy away from some gritty details just because the books are aimed at younger readers, and I think that's good.    The stories tend to have even pacing, interesting characters, and detailed descriptions.  

In this story, we follow Dael and his female companion, Sparrow as they set out looking for the Red People,  and then find them.   Dael isn't a perfectly likeable character, but he's interesting, and the more you read about him, the more you begin to understand him.   Sparrow is a good counterpoint to Dael - her personality is completely different, and how she relates to people is a good contrast to Dael, as well.   

This book, like the two before it, was a quick read, and an engaging story. 
First sentences: To dream of a head dripping with blood and look into its glazed and lifeless eyes might, even in sleep, leave the dreamer changed and chastened.

Thoughts on the cover:  I like how vibrant this cover is, with the red hand feeding the raven.  It reflects part of the story, and is eye-catching.


Joe Kosednar said...

I read all three ZAN-GAH books. Allan's latest book DAEL AND THE PAINTED PEOPLE was a great read along with the rest of the series.

I don't know if Allan wants this cat out of the bag yet but he has started putting his books on Audio CD's.

The first book "ZAN-GAH A PREHISTORIC ADVENTURE” has a lion hunt which is where ZAN (the main character) gets his name of honor. When you read the book, the lion hunt builds and builds in intensity until you are on the edge of your seat. When I hear Allan read the book on Voice CD, the lion hunt increases in intensity even more. The difference is I end up with goose bumps, waiting for a big cat to pounce on me.

Allan is a master of dramatic reading!

For a little audio taste of ZAN-GAH; go to and press AUDIO SAMPLE to listen.

J. F. Kosednar

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