The Braided Stream (The Replacement Chronicles #4)
by Harper Swan
When the Neanderthal band led by the old matriarch, Elder Woman, ventures out to the edges of the Great High Plains, Raven's tranquil life with the Wind tribe is turned upside down. Her life mate, Leaf, and her oldest daughter, Wren, have suddenly gone missing, and Raven suspects that Elder Woman is behind their disappearance. Injured during her quest to find them, Raven is rescued by someone out of the past whom she never thought she would see again.
Meanwhile, Leaf finds himself in a very tough spot for unknown reasons. The only person who can explain what has happened to him is Elder Woman, but she's in no hurry to enlighten anyone. In trying to find answers, Leaf soon finds himself estranged from the people he cares for most with little hope of reconciliation.
As for Elder Woman, she's very sure of herself. Above all else, she wishes for her people to survive, and she will go to any lengths necessary to accomplish that goal even if it means she has to deal with Early Humans, a group she contemptuously calls "Them".
Picking up the story several years after Leaf, Raven, and Wren join up with the Wind tribe, The Braided Stream paints us a picture of how Early Modern Humans and Neanderthals met and interacted.
Set against the unrelenting landscape of ice age Eurasia, the Braided Stream is a reading binge of Neanderthals and Early Humans for those who believe that Jean Auel's first book "The Clan of the Cave Bear" was her best work.
The Braided Stream can be enjoyed without reading the first three parts of The Replacement Chronicles Series.
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