HarperCollins, Jun 2001, 15.00, 320 pp.
In 16,000 BC, the world is in flux as species struggle for supremacy while the ice retreats. Woolly mammoths remain gentle giants working together in clans. The mammoths share a language that enables them to communicate with one another. They understand who is friend and who is the enemy and work for a common cause as their environment changes making survival the ultimate goal.
Like most males his age Longtusk believes he will do great things. He ignores his clan's leadership, both the matriarchal and male elders. He begins his quest for greatness, but barely survives a deadly fire. Separated from his mates, Longtusk, joins a tribe of Neanderthals, but they fall prey to the dangerously clever human Fireheads. Now a prisoner, Longtusk becomes a slave working next to other domesticated animals. As Longtusk laments his fate, his “people” are in deep trouble from a changing ecosystem and the cunning Fireheads.
LONGTUSK, the second tale in the “Mammoth” trilogy, is an exciting prehistoric science fiction novel in which Stephen Baxter provides human traits to the mammoths. The story line never slows down as a different world comes to life even as the realization creeps into the minds of the mammoths and Neanderthals that the Fireheads are gaining control. Though some major subplots seem identical to the first novel (see SILVERHAIR), fans of the sub-genre will enjoy the novel and its Wooley hero.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner