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Dance of the Tiger: A Novel of the Ice Age Paperback – October 10, 1995
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Original Language: Swedish
Top Customer Reviews
If you've ever read any Science Fiction or seen any Space Opera movie, this plot is very familiar. You probably didn't know that it actually happened in our own world, some 40,000 years ago: the locals were the Neanderthals, their world was Europe, and we were the invaders.
This is a fascinating book, written by a well known paleo-anthropologist and from the point of view of the Neanderthal., that delivers not only an excellent story, but also a plausible model for the extinction of the Neanderthals.
The only drawback, is that by reading the English edition, you will lose the fascinating prologue by Juan Luis Arsuaga (co director of the Atapuerca Project and renowned paleo-anthropologist) available with the Spanish edition. If you like Dance of the Tiger and you can read Spanish, make sure you read some of Arsuaga's books, like "La especie elegida", "El collar del Neandertal" or "Atapuerca. Un millón de años de historia", you'll love them.
Even though Björn Kurtén sets his plot in northern Europe, there are now proofs that the last Neanderthals lived in southern Europe (Southern Spain and Crimea). It's frightening to think that in those places, some not far away from where I live, a member of an intelligent species, very similar to us, once thought: I am the last of my kind, and now it is time to die...
Dance of the Tiger is a fascinating and exciting "might-have-been" tale with a solid factual foundation (author Bjorn Kurten was one of the foremost authorities on the Ice Age).
This book may not be "touchy-feely" enough to appeal to many fans of Clan of the Cave Bear and its sequels and spin-offs, but for those who want a (slightly) harder-edged tale of primitive adventure, this book has not been surpassed.
The introduction by Stephen Jay Gould just adds to the book, like icing on a cake.
To criticize - I would say the plot for me, despite its crafting, was fairly predictable. Ironically, more attention was given to weaving it, than to providing complexity in the many minor characters, who seemed almost contrived to serve the plot. I also ended up doubting the model attempted by the author to solve the overriding mystery (would people continue this practice once the result quickly became evident, and where then are the commingled bones?).
What do we take home? Something very nice.Read more ›
The first two thirds of the book are wonderful. The imagery is excellent, calling forth wonderful descriptions of a natural world that is just beginning to come in contact with humans. The way in which Kurtén describes the two different human societies is realistic and plausible. Both cultures are in tune with their natural surroundings, although the "sapient" culture is depicted as much more violent, more exploitative and more possessive. The Neandertal culture is more domestic, more forgiving, and more gentle. Both cultures are shamanistic and ritualized. The actions of the characters throughout the book are all logical and consistent. Kurtén makes it clear in his introduction that these depictions are based on his observations and his own deductions, though they certainly don't arrive at the point of a scientific theory.
Where "Dance of the Tiger" fails is in the last third of the book. The pace of the plot picks up considerably, so many details and explanations get left behind. The climactic, near apocalyptic, action sequence did not make much sense to me. It was a combination of mysticism and poorly described action. It left me confused and a little frustrated.
In the edition I read, Stephen Jay Gould provided a nice introduction. Kurtén himself also wrote an introduction and a conclusion that focus on the science and speculation of the book.
The faults of the last third aside, this book fills a much-needed void: per-historic literature that shows realistic societies and characters in a world that is ultimately scientific and natural. Despite the shortcomings, "Dance of the Tiger" is a novel that deserves respect and attention.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What more could we ask? Written by a paleoanthropologist, with an introduction by Stephen Jay Gould - all while managing to be a truly compelling novel. Read morePublished 15 months ago by DANN ANTHONY
At best I would rate this for "Young Adults". The cute names given to the neanderthals drove me to distraction.Published 21 months ago by Erich K
In comparison to Reindeer Moon by Elizabeth M Thomas, well - there is no comparison. Dance of the Tiger seems more appropriate for the adolescent reader.Published on January 16, 2014 by Jessie Coe
Tiger is a young man coming of age in the strange world of Ice Age Scandinavia. When the men of his tribe are annihilated by an unknown enemy, and Tiger is left for dead, he is... Read morePublished on July 19, 2013 by The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson
I am amazed that a quite readable novel could be the result of scientific speculation by an accomplished scientist. Read morePublished on July 9, 2010 by Philly Gal
To be honest, this is a one-star novel, but I feel like I'm kicking a dog when I come down hard on this book, so I'll give an extra star for effort and risk-taking. Read morePublished on February 11, 2010 by Seoigheach
This novel reads so fast it comes dangerously close to being considered light reading. However, it's author Björn Kurtén was a real-life anthropologist and he formed... Read morePublished on September 14, 2007 by J. A. Eyon
This book didn't really appeal to me as a work of historical fiction, didn't come across as realistic or even plausible.Published on December 1, 2002 by Heather H.