Crow and the Cave - Book Review

Crow and the Cave

Author: John Bradford Branney
Genre: Fiction - Action
Date Published: March 13, 2018
ISBN-10: 1684330157
ISBN-13: 978-1684330157

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Book Review of :  Crow and the Cave


Crow and the Cave by John Bradford Branney is a story of life in the prehistoric time of 8700 B.C. In his novel, we experience the dramatic interaction between different bands of humans as they attempt to coexist or vanquish those foreign to them. The main character in Branney’s novel is “Hoka” who early in the book is trampled by a bison and nearly killed.  Branney also creates a deadly rivalry between two brothers, Paytah and Tonwan. The feared Tonwan had a reputation, not unlike Attila the Hun or the fictional Count Dracula; he conquered other bands of humans, killing many and beheading the unfortunate. Paytah was the meeker, but sadistic brother who also had his own band of human followers. Paytah and his father both feared Tonwan who had no problem with fratricide or patricide.  However, you won’t shed any tears over Paytah who enjoyed torturing his victims before taking their lives. Paytah also had an appetite for human flesh which he and his band believed gave them immortality.   

Hoka’s arduous journey back to his family is filled with harrowing extremes of human survival. During his journey, he and his wolf-dog, Sunka, exist with little food and only a primitive shelter.  Branney paints a bleak picture of the lives of our prehistoric ancestors. Hoka faces hostile tribes, an unforgiving environment and wild beasts. Man was the hunted as much as the hunter in Branney’s primordial world. Unlike the “Quest for Fire,” Branney gives his characters a voice and the ability to communicate verbally.  No matter how diligently Branney strives for scientific accuracy in this world of yesterday he never diverges from the fancifulness of his tale.  The predicament of our distant cousins are deftly rendered by Branney, and his story demonstrates prehistoric man’s precociousness and ingenuity.

 In Crow and the Cave you will find a certain familiarity to the characters’ way of life that we still share thousands of years later; the striving for betterment,  our desire for family, the complex emotion of love and of course man’s unquenching quest to kill his own. There is a feeling of kinship to our ancient relatives that is felt when reading about man's evolving knowledge of love, mating habits, and community.

Branney doesn’t spare the brutality and bloodletting that was so much the norm for that period of our early development as a species. His riveting tale casts a gruesome new light on man’s horrific past and the strongest flaw in our nature; the desire for power.   If you're a fan of historical fiction and our prehistoric past, you must read this amazing book, Crow and the Cave.


About John Bradford Branney


John Bradford Branney is the author of eight books and over thirty magazine articles. The titles of the books are Shadows on the Trail, Saving Miguel, Ghosts of the Heart, Light Hidden by Darkness, Winds of Eden, When Leaves Change Color, Clock Strikes Three, and Crow and the Cave. Author Branney focuses his writing on historical fiction and adventures with a twist. John Bradford Branney was born and raised in Wyoming and attended the University of Wyoming where he received a B.S. degree in geology. After graduating, Mr. Branney entered the oil and gas industry as an engineer. During his career, he also obtained a MBA degree from the University of Colorado. In 2011, he retired from the oil and gas industry and pursued a second career as an author. Mr. Branney's passion and expertise in high plains archaeology led to the writing of several books and magazine articles. Branney lives in Colorado with his wife Theresa.


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