This novel covers a lot of ground. It is part mystery, partly a war story and also the story of prehistoric men painting on caves. It should have been great, but honestly, I was underwhelmed.
The parts I liked best were actually about Deer and Moon, from 17,000 BC. I loved the author’s research and imagination of what their lives might have been. The food, the climate, the apprentices, the clan hierarchy all seemed very authentic.
The middle part of the book dealing with the resistance movement in France during WWII got too muddled with politics, communists, Nazis, Spanish mercenaries, the logistics of parachuting supplies into France at night, which armaments were most effective, and where in France it was safe. To begin with I liked learning about this side of France during the war, but it just did not seem authentic as time went on. And the politics then and now left me somewhat amused instead of sympathetic. I just don’t think young men fighting for their lives everyday, the guerrilla warfare, fighting starvation – are planning their political futures.
The description of the cave at Lascaux was extraordinary, but otherwise the drives through the French countryside left me unmoved. The theft of the priceless artifact and the romance between Manners and Lydia just felt silly and stiff. I certainly don’t know any women who behave like this!