The Oak People

Written by Ruth Mohrman
Review by Linda Harris Sittig

Set during the Stone Age in the caves of Carmel Mountain near the shores of modern-day Israel, the novel brings to life a clan of people. Their lives revolve around the weather, searching daily for food, and mating with other clans to ensure the continuation of their own tight unit who call themselves the Oak People.

The protagonist, Ansa, has come from the clan of the Desert People to be mated with Bidari of the Oak People. Their union is not based on love, and when Ansa gives birth to a daughter, Hua, she shows only a bare minimum of maternal interest. What sets Ansa apart is the fact that she is a seer, and she is frightened to let the Oak People know of her visions. The plot follows the interactions of the Oak People with the Desert People, the Marsh People, and the Painted People. These four groups are focused on survival and avoiding the feared Sakaitz (Neanderthals). However, it is not the Sakaitz, but the one group who thirsts for power and dominance over the others, that brings the real threat and climatic conclusion to the novel.

I was glad the author provided a glossary and family trees so the reader could immerse themselves in the storyline and not stumble over unfamiliar vocabulary. The book clocks in at 394 pages, and at times I felt certain chapters could have been eliminated because they slowed down the pace. However, I did enjoy the book, and other readers who have an interest in prehistory will undoubtedly enjoy it, too.