Gather Around the Fire: Here Are the Best Books Set in the Prehistoric Era

Prehistory is a fascinating era for the human race, telling of a world that had no civilization, merely humans trying to survive in a hostile land filled with hungry creatures and unfriendly elements. Its a world ripe for the imagination and many authors over the years have had their own take on the dawn of mankind. Let’s go back, way back, and see what treasures the past has for your bookshelf.



5. ‘Beyond the Sea of Ice’ By William Sarabande


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Beyond the Sea of Ice by William Sarabane details a clan living in medieval Siberia and the various dangers they have to deal with. After a natural disaster plagues the nomadic tribe their leader Torka is forced to lead his people over the Bering land bridge to what would become the Americas. Full of painstaking details about nomadic life, this series is full of adventure and lots of historically accurate details about the world 40,000 years ago.


4. ‘The Inheritors’ by William Golding 


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The Inheritors by William Golding is a violent and cynical work, detailing the conflict between the gentle, spiritual neanderthals and the rise of the violent but sophisticated humans. With Neanderthals often being demonized as monsters, this is a different tacks that casts our own rise in a dark light. And at the book’s end, its clear that the best species didn’t win the conflict. But the strongest one did.



3. ‘Daughter of kura’ by Debra Austin


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Daughter of Kura by Debra Austin takes place in the Old Stone Age, nearly half a million years ago. It centers on a girl called Snap, who lives in prehistoric Africa in a powerful matriarchal society. She begins to fight against the ideals her tribes hold dear but finds herself an outcast in the wild and is forced to survive on her own. Both imaginative and detailed, this is an excellent work offering a tantalizing, politically charged glimpse into the ancient world.


2. ‘Wolf Brother’ by Michelle Paver


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Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver is a fantasy series that is nevertheless accurate to primeval history. The author spent time in Finland using neolithic tools and clothing and sleeping in era-appropriate accommodations. She even studied wolves at a reserve in order to more accurately characterize their behavior. The series tells of Torak, a young man from the Wolf Clan, as he discovers his world; Renn, a girl from a neighboring clan; and his wolf friend. Together, they’re forced into conflict with the evil clan of mages called Soul Eaters. Despite the fantasy elements, Paver’s books get high marks for historical accuracy.


1. ‘Clan of the cave bear’ by Jean M. Auel


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The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel is THE prehistoric novel and an epic one at that. Auel’s book was applauded for its use of modern research in developing the world of its characters, but also for the compelling (and juicy) drama in the chronicling of the life of Ayla, a Cro-Magnon girl taken to live with Neanderthals when she becomes separated from her tribe. Over time, Ayla’s differences put her at odds with her adopted family and lead to a self-discovery that occurs over the rest of the series. Subsequent research has poked holes in Auel’s imagined past, but it was accurate at the time, and remains captivating today. Do yourself a favor and check it out!




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