The Game Hunters
by Anupa Roy
A climate crisis in the Ice Age.
A cold snap leads to an unrelenting glacial. For our prehistoric ancestors survival is threatened. Food gets harder to find in the frigid lands of Central Asia.
Yet the tribes living near the Altai Mountains have found a refuge. A river and a lake allows some plants and trees to survive, herds come to graze – prey to hyenas and wolves.
Hunting together is tribal law. Shiga, failed his Initiation, ran away from First Hunt. Law-breakers are exiled but Shiga, expert Carver is offered a last chance.
He will also lose Urm, his childhood hearth-mate to Bruj. Unless he hunts with the tribe.
Urm is a healer and path-breaker.
Gathering plants in the Growing season gets harder. Urm discovers she can grow plants with warmth and water – in secret. For it’s forbidden to tamper with Earth Mother’s children. But in that harshening climate Urm foresees starvation.
She also prays Shiga will hunt big game. Otherwise, she must accept Bruj.
Can Shiga and Urm forge new ways of living?
A historical novel for young adults The Game Hunters is based on research and findings of Asian prehistoric people in Southern Siberia. Set in the Last Glacial Maxim when human populations struggled to survive; survival was only made possible by cooperation, courage and the forging of new ways.
The Game Hunters is a story of innovation and acceptance, love and death in Ice Age Asia.
“An intriguing account of prehistoric life. Truly stimulating! To hunt or to heal… A must-read to understanding our roots from an eco-critical perspective.” — Dr. Ilgım Veryeri Alaca, Professor, Koç University, Istanbul
Publication date: 10 September 2018 (Singapore); 22 February 2019 (UK/USA)
Format: Paperback (B-format) 203mm x 133mm
Pages: 210 pp
Would you be afraid to hunt an animal the size of a small car — to do something completely new and unheard of?
Set in the coldest phase of the Ice Age, around 12,500 years ago, somewhere in southern Siberia, (Ice Age settlements have been discovered in many parts of Asia ) The Game Hunters explores prehistoric Asia.
The Game Hunters is a coming-of-age story about fifteen-year-old Shiga and thirteen-year-old Urm.
The cold snap put enormous pressures on long-held values and lifestyles. The game was becoming scarce and people probably had to depend more on plant sources for food. Though the switch-over to agriculture happened much later, cultivation and experiments must have preceded it.
Shiga is a skilled toolmaker. Yet he is afraid to hunt big game — the prime source of food.
Urm, daughter of the Tribe Mother is learning to be a Healer. But she is not content and chooses to explore if the seeds they gather can grow when and where they want them to. This is taboo — for the plants are children of Earth — the Goddess Mother they worship.
Shiga has failed his Initiation rites and has refused to hunt. There is the talk of exile — a matter of life and death in that climate. This year Shiga must prove himself, or he will lose all. Urm too is anxious — before she can choose him as her life-mate, he must hunt.
The two find their relationship deepening. Yet each has a mission. While Shiga must come to terms with himself and become a hunter, Urm has to ensure her pioneering idea is true.
Bruj, of a similar age to Shiga is apprenticed to Gath. Jealous and attracted to Urm, he mocks Shiga unknown to the adults. He tests Shiga’s patience but ends up over-reaching himself.
Shiga struggles with his fears, his anger and ultimately learns to put tribe before self. Urm is confident when her experiments prove a success but knows she has to keep it secret yet. Both realize that their missions are bigger than themselves.
Meanwhile, their Joining is declared and the look forward to a life together even if full of challenges.