Leaving Eden

Written by Ann Chamberlin

Na’amah is Adam’s daughter by his first wife Lilith, a mother she barely remembers. Yet despite the absence of her mother and the fact that her father largely ignores her, she is a valuable member of her tribe, for she is taking over as the storyteller from her grandmother. In this tribe everybody has a place, even Eve who is Na’amah’s friend and is attracted to Adam. They are hunter-gatherers, roaming freely from place to place and worshipping the Goddess as they have done for longer than anybody can know. The men have their secret rituals but so do the women, including their sacred fig tree at one of their camps. This is the symbol of woman and sacred to the Goddess, who is supposed to be Na’amah’s mother – but surely this is just a story? She does come back, however, and reveals her true self to them, thrilling Na’amah but dismaying Adam. For he yearns to take Eve as his new wife, but the only way he can do this according to tribal law is to kill a bull aurochs – and since the ice started to draw back they have become impossibly rare. But Adam and Eve are not like the rest of the tribe and are determined to show to all how the Goddess’ age has passed and the dawn of a new era is about to come upon the world.

This is the story of Adam and Eve as you have never read it before! The mythic is rendered historic (or rather prehistoric) in Ann Chamberlin’s skillful hands, and she has created a poignant tale of the simplicity of those long-ago times before the new male-dominated age dawned. Civilization is a high price to pay for the loss of such innocence and simple wisdom, and in the delineation of the prehistoric lifestyle a true sense of the golden age of our dreams is engendered. Yet this is no obscure literary tome, and fans of Jean Auel and Kathleen O’Neal Gear will find themselves in a familiar place. Ann Chamberlin does not merely tell a good story but has the added dimension of giving the reader a new slant on the Bible’s story of the fall from grace. A book that stays in the mind long after.