Release date: June 13, 2016
Synopsis: The Neanderthal tribe of Enga Dancing Flower must trek south to flee the approaching glacier, but the distance is long and the food is scarce. When a venerable elder drowns crossing a flooded river, Enga suspects that it was not an accident, and that a murderer travels with them.
Excerpt: Enga Dancing Flower watched the progress of the boy who was making his way down the hill from the Holy Cave. This was the last time he would bring the fire from the small mountain to the Paved Place for the nightly meeting in their long-time home, the last time he, or any of the tribe, would ever visit the Holy Cave. For many seasons, it had been the task of Akkal to tend both the permanent fire in the Holy Cave and the community fire in the village. When rain sometimes put out that fire, the black-haired Fire Tender diligently prepared the pit at the center of the meeting place and brought new fire down before the next meeting time.
The warm and cold times cycled, as they always did, and the most warm time was coming. The night breath of Mother Sky held only a trace of chill. The birds in the woods surrounding the village were making soft peeps while they bedded down so that they could rise up again with Sister Sun, completing that cycle, and sing at full voice.
The fire Akkal carried lit his face from below, its light throwing flickering shadows across his young features and glinting off his long dark hair and eyes. Smoke trailed after him.
The leader of the tribe, Hama, the Most High Female, had summoned them after they ate their evening meal, as usual. But this was far from the usual meeting. The meal had only been a few bites and that was not usual either. Although it took place at the normal time, soon after Sister Sun disappeared, this meeting was different. The tribe knew that this was their last time of no sun in the place most of them had lived for all their days. At new sun, they would depart. Most of the huge mammoth they had always hunted had fled.
Moons ago, before this last dark season, a group of males had journeyed far enough to see the gigantic, looming field of Great Ice. It was moving, very slowly, but the movement was toward them. The animals the Hamapa tribe depended on, which were mostly mammoth, were scattering. Some had migrated toward the ice, onto the barren, frozen land that lay before it, in its path. The tribe could not live in that place. Some animals had fled to places with more warmth. That was where they would go. This decision had been made after much discussion and pondering. The decision had not been easy, but all were satisfied that it must be so. They must depart.
About the author: Kaye George, national-bestselling and multiple-award-winning author, writes several mystery series: Imogene Duckworthy, Cressa Carraway (Barking Rain Press), People of the Wind (Untreed Reads), and, as Janet Cantrell, the Fat Cat cozy mysteries. (Berkley Prime Crime). Her short stories appear in anthologies, magazines, and her own collection, A Patchwork of Stories. She reviews for Suspense Magazine. She lives in Knoxville, TN. Find Kaye at http://kayegeorge.com/