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The Boy, The Mastodons, Book I Hardcover – April 1, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Set in pre-historic times, where historians experience discomfort, The Boy, by James Strauss, surprises and rewards both historians and readers. The author blends science and myth, using his hyper-imagination to introduce a tale of power, authority, and traditional values. His themes are universal and timeless. His treatment is highly original. This historian eagerly awaits the arrival of Book II, The Warrior." - --Barry Machado, Ph.D Professor Emeritus, Washington and Lee. In Search of a Usable Past: The Marshall Plan and Postwar Reconstruction Today by Barry Machado. Lexington, VA: George C. Marshall Foundation, 2007.

From the Author

I write about the human condition. The interaction that occurs throughout social systems, among elemental forces of leadership, religion and science. I write about the individual's attempted integration into such social systems and attempt to define honor, integrity and duty, while I develop my stories. Pre-history points us back, in search and thought of our origins, so that we may better understand how and why we are driven to do the things that we do. Espionage allows for the development of those 'secret' sides of our honest intent, layered with conflicting assaults by interior and exterior forces. My novels area about self-determination and self-discovery. They are about arrival. The arrival and satisfaction of a blissful state from which one can intelligently reflect and then positively direct one's life. The meaning of life is all around us and ever changing, depending upon the perspective of others. I write about the meaning of self, and self-application to the meaning of life.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Gale/Five Star -Science Fiction and Fantasy Series; 1st edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594148139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594148132
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,413,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 28 customer reviews
I am anxiously looking forward to book 2.
Bernard Bossov
Wonderful characters, fantastic imagery, love, friendship, adventure, suspense, and a marvelous journey to the past.
Ameeo
This one reads more like a thriller than the genre I expected and it's right up there with the best of them.
D'artagnon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Something felt wrong and woke the Boy up while the rest of the tribe slept. He began running partly out of fear and partly to know what is happening. When the earth moved, the Boy is fortunate to have survived on an island that has sprung up in the middle of a river where no island or water had been. On the island the Boy meets an injured Mur (Mastodon) he names Murgatroyd. They get off island, but his tribe is battered by the phenomena none understand and his failure to come back make them accuse him of cowardice ignoring his explanation. He is a pariah without rights; only his ten summers keep him from exile.

The Boy does chores when ordered. Most of the time, he is free to be by himself to explore and invent. He finds a strange place with a human statue finely carved and where metal exists. The Boy befriends the other tribe outsider, the cripple Nado who has a useless a hand so can never be a warrior. Together they share adventures and are adopted by a strange bird. The Boy calling himself Daryl wants the Shaman's daughter Parlan as his wife, but has no chance as he is a nonentity even though she as the tallest female towering over many males combined with her father's position will limit those asking for her.

The first mastodon tale is an exciting prehistoric thriller that paints an intriguing tribal culture. Boy's wise mother explains that group truth is not necessarily an individual's truth; as what happened is outside the knowledge and lore of the tribe so the clan must find a way to make it fit even when that ignores the person who most knows the facts. The story line is engaging, but mostly sets up the future tales in what looks like it might be an alternate history based on what the Boy found. Fans will appreciate James Strauss' interesting opener that and look forward to the sequels in what should prove an entertaining saga, 25000 BC.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Yih on May 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was a realistic and exciting journey into the past.....the way past that we can barely imagine..early man still within evolutionary stages...(we may still be there!)...Jim Strauss builds the scene and the character of early humanity, families and experiences that we can still relate to in our lives today. The book is so enjoyable, I read it in two
sittings. Well written, imaginative, realistic..definitely read it.
Kathleen Eddy Yih
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Cabot on May 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When given this book, I did not want to read it. I felt no association with a boy in prehistoric times, nor did I have even a passing interest. But since a good friend presentd it to me, I felt obliged. What a surprise! I became so enraptured with the ever relevant struggles with responsibility, integrity, and love I could not put it down. What a pleasant surprise and a joy to read. Makes a great gift.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sallynimmow on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as a gift and was not sure that it was something that I would enjoy. But I picked it up one evening and found it hard to put down. I continued to read and I truly did enjoy this novel. I let a friend borrow the book and she too could not put down, she has now read it 3 times. I also had to shared it with my son, who is looking forward to the next in the series. I am so very happy that I decided to read this novel and enjoy the writings of James Strauss!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Giotto on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Few authors have the depth of understanding to use metaphor and simile as this writer does. The book is presented to most as a story about yesterday, our origins of tribal community formation. This process continues today so when reading think about how transformative this book is, how adroit the concept and prescriptive the vision. I dare say we read little fiction today so intelligent and books that give the reader space to think about what lies beneath the surface of the page and its printed word.

The writer has an interesting background from which to draw and present this story. Curious for men of such action to show us their soft poetic observations of life. Perhaps this really is the way for those who have really confronted the passions of living and dying unlike those who only write about such things from speculatively sanitized and safe distances.

Such poetry flooding out onto the plains of human existence. Just a boy who would become man (and woman). Innocence tempered with survival to show us the way.

Read between the lines and you will see a far greater picture in this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Terrence O'Neill on May 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover
“The boy”, takes place in a fictional time and place about 25,000 years ago, but it is far more than fiction and can be enjoyed in several ways. The story is positive and vividly written as seen through the eyes and thoughts of “The Boy”. As one reads “The Boy”, you experience/live the emotions, integrity, puzzlements, and feelings of the Boy as he copes with tribal rules and ways that at times conflict with truth and his experience. In addition to being a very entertaining story itself, it reflects the wonderment of life and nature that we all experience. So although written about a fictional time and place, the elements of “The Boy” relate to the timeless experience of life wherever a moral life lives.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By pendragon on May 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great read!

Candidly, I have been peripherally involved with the development of the concept and then story and finally book of The Boy, from the first days when Jim sat out under the stars, doing the actual storytelling to us, and pausing now and then to scribble notes and dialogue on any scrap of paper he could find.

That association began a decade ago. I did not know the author any better than I knew the characters he was creating through the story. As the days, then months and years have come and gone, I have remained fascinated and honored to become familiar with, and, finally, to be made a tribal member with them all.

Had I been asked in the beginning, to identify Jim with one specific character, I would have done so, and that would have been a gross simplification. As I have come to know him, and as I have come to know his characters, I have become aware that he has infused them each with some aspect of his core character and beliefs, as is appropriate to their part of the story: honor, a healthy skepticism regarding tradition, the value and even necessity, and the risks, in acting outside of the expectations of tribe and family, a wry and often sharp wit, the tremendous power in curiosity and self-examination, and the bedrock nature of honesty and fidelity.

Jim calls himself a "fierce friend", and that characterization of his values colors the development of the relationships in his story.

In any well-crafted tale, the reader quickly identifies with one of the characters. It becomes a story not of others, but of us.
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