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The Kin by Peter Dickinson
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The Kin (original 1998; edition 1998)

by Peter Dickinson (Author)

Series: The Kin (Omnibus 1-4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
252784,889 (4.1)30
It is two hundred thousand years ago. A small group of children are cut off from their Kin, the Moonhawks, when they are driven from their "Good Place" by violent strangers. While searching for a new Good Place, they face the parched desert, an active volcano, a canyon flood, man-eating lions, and other Kins they've never seen before. Told from four points of view, with tales of the Kins' creation interspersed throughout, this epic novel humanizes early man and illuminates the beginning of language, the development of skills, and the organization of society. It is a triumphant book from one of the genre's most revered authors.… (more)
Member:Flynn-Rider
Title:The Kin
Authors:Peter Dickinson (Author)
Info:Macmillan Children's Books (1998), 640 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Kin by Peter Dickinson (1998)

  1. 00
    The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel (mene)
    mene: I thought "The Kin" was a bit similar to Jean M. Auel's "Earth's Children" series (book 1 being "The Clan of the Cave Bear"), though Dickinson's book is really targeted at children and it's also written from the childrens' viewpoints. The similarities are that both books take place in the prehistory (although CotCB a LOT later, around 35.000 years ago), both have clans of people who speak and clans who don't speak (and the speaking-people debating whether the non-speaking clans are really people or just people-like animals), and in both books the characters travel through the land. Both authors also describe the landscape very well, though in a different way. The differences are the target audience and consequently the events. In Dickinson's book, it's not really a problem if someone from the speaking-clan gets a child with someone from a non-speaking-clan, but this is a big problem in Auel's books.… (more)
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» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Four excellent stories in one (though reading them all in a row, I got a little bit tired of the style by the end). A Stone Age story in which the protagonist(s) are _not_ the discoverers of fire, riding horses, and agriculture, how unusual! They do learn, and teach, new techniques, but they're sharing knowledge with other people, not producing discoveries themselves. A small band of people - smaller, for having been attacked by another group - wander into new areas, encounter some very different people, and expand their ways of living, just a little. Four stories, each with a different protagonist, all of whom are present in each story. The form of language is a little odd - reasonably, and quite intelligible, but that was part of what I got tired of. "I, Suth, say this...". A lot of interference from gods...or something. But it's all through people - warnings and suggestions, not direct interference (at least, in the "current" stories - a lot of direct interference in the Oldtales). I think a bit of reverse racism in the last story (if I'm interpreting "greyish, with a purple sheen" skin correctly). I'm very glad I (finally) read it, though I'm not sure if I'll bother to reread. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Feb 25, 2018 |
Intended for children, but so rich, imaginative, intense, and satisfying I recommend it for all ages 10 to 110. A little bit like Clan of the Cave Bear, which I did like, but so much more. Fans of fantasy and science fiction will like it, too - the characters are humans but since they are of 200,000 years ago they are almost 'alien.' ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
The Kin was originally written as a series of four short books, but it has been compiled into one book in later editions. It is set in Africa 200,000 years ago. A group of men has recently been ousted from their home by violent strangers, and they are wandering through the desert looking for new Good Places. When they abandon the four very young orphans for their own survival, two older children separate from the group and go back to rescue the little ones. This group of children then has many adventures and meets many strange people in these strange lands. Dickinson knows a lot about Africa and anthropology, making this story creative and interesting. I certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys survival and prehistoric adventures for tweenagers. ( )
  The_Hibernator | Mar 11, 2012 |
A wonderful storyteller, Dickinson brings the dawn of human civilization to life!

A wonderful tale of a small group of talking individuals who survive numerous death-defying encounters, both with natural disaster and with other humans and animals!

It is also a tale of coming-of-age for these youngsters, at a time when they should still have had the freedom of childhood.

Reminscent of the Clan of the Cave Bear series, The Kin brings us details about post-Neanderthal man's life, and the imagination for us to view and feel it as well.

I couldn't put this one down!

I give it five stars! And my Thumbs Up award! ( )
  texicanwife | Aug 5, 2011 |
After reading a few just so-so books, I really wanted to get lost in a great tome of a story. The Kin was just the ticket. The book is actually four novels published in one volume, weighing in at just over 600 pages. The story is paced really well, so I would look up from reading and realize I had just knocked out 50 or 75 pages in no time. I'm a huge history fan and have always been interested in the history of early mankind. Set in prehistoric Africa, this novel imagines what life was like for the clans of people surviving in the African deserts.

The stories of Suth, Noli, Po, and Mana are interspersed with Oldtales, or creation stories about the Kin's First Ones, which I found to be really interesting and illuminating as to how the characters behaved and reacted to life in the wild. Each First One is an animal, such as a monkey or a pocupine, and each Kin is named after a First One. The mixture of myth and history was just perfect and very entertaining.

A most interesting aspect of this book is how Dickinson imagined communication between speaking and non-speaking humans. The four children the stories follow belong to the Moonhawk Kin, which consists of highly verbal humans. Along the way, they encounter the Porcupine Kin, who are nonverbal but are still very communicative through sounds and gestures. Some of the Moonhawks say that the Porcupine Kin are not really 'people' because they can't speak words, but others, particularly Noli, are convinced that the Porcupine are just as human as anyone else even though they are different.

All in all, this novel is a very interesting and thought-provoking work of 'prehistorical' fiction. ( )
  BookshelfMonstrosity | Dec 18, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Dickinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lenders, NanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Masselink, SaskiaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is two hundred thousand years ago. A small group of children are cut off from their Kin, the Moonhawks, when they are driven from their "Good Place" by violent strangers. While searching for a new Good Place, they face the parched desert, an active volcano, a canyon flood, man-eating lions, and other Kins they've never seen before. Told from four points of view, with tales of the Kins' creation interspersed throughout, this epic novel humanizes early man and illuminates the beginning of language, the development of skills, and the organization of society. It is a triumphant book from one of the genre's most revered authors.

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