Read Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country Online

Authors: Allan Richard Shickman

Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT
ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY:

“I really liked the second book in the
Zan-Gah
series. It has a great plot line, and a lot of drama.”

— Elan S., age 15

“The author has painted a richly colored landscape and filled it with vibrant characters. Themes of forgiveness, dealing with hatred, brains overcoming might, and intense love for another person, add great depth to the story….Great material for high school students.”

— Barry Crook, Library Media Specialist

“I was completely caught up in
Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure
, and have now read the equally gripping sequel,
Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country
. Once again Shickman has provided a host of richly realized characters, a fabulous sense of place, and lots of action.… I found many parallels to today's world, and thought on numerous occasions how this book could lead to great discussions with school groups. But in the end it is the rich characters and believable action that carry the day.
Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country
should find a ready audience with those who have enjoyed Gary Paulsen's
Hatchet
, Watt Key's
Alabama Moon
, or Michelle Paver's
Wolf Brother.
A most worthy read.

— Joe Corbett, School Librarian


Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country
is an engaging, thought-provoking, and genuinely exciting novel. Allan Shickman has a definite gift for storytelling.”

— Kurt S., ESL Instructor

“I had not associated human virtues and failings to the primitive men and women who preceded the present day human race until my reading of
Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country.

— Donald S., Court Administrator

“Once I started reading
Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country
, I couldn't put it down! I had to see what Dael was going to do next!”

— Donald L., Professor of Mathematics

“Riveting.… Young and old alike will enjoy and be moved by this exquisitely written story.”

— Gerard S., PhD, Psychology

 

PRAISE FOR
ZAN-GAH: A PREHISTORIC ADVENTURE:

“Allan Richard Shickman's
Zan-Gah
is a terrifically exciting adventure that will appeal to young adults and their elders too. Richly imagined and beautifully written, with characters and settings unlike any I've read, I believe
Zan-Gah
will be read and reread for many years to come.”

— Scott Phillips, Best-Selling Author of
The Ice Harvest
and
Cottonwood

“Highly recommended for young adult library collections.”

— The Midwest Book Review:
Children's Bookwatch


Zan-Gah
is told with such verve, energy, and style that it will appeal to readers of all ages and sensibilities.… Shickman's lively imagination is obvious on every page.… The power of Shickman's words becomes apparent in the very first chapter.… heart-pounding prose … ”

— Robert A. Cohn,
St. Louis Jewish Light

“I refused to turn off the lights because I was enjoying
Zan-Gah
so much, and the next day … I took it with me on the subway to get those last few pages in between Brooklyn and Manhattan. This 35-year-old loved it…I kept saying ‘I know it's supposed to be a children's book…but it's really,
really
good!!!'”

— Sadie N., Yoga Master


Zan-Gah
is one of the best books I ever read … a truly gripping book. The characters are so real I feel like I know them. I give the book five stars. I could read it over and over.”

— Sam L., age 13

“We have given this book to all four grandchildren, ages 11, 14, 18, 22. Each of them loved it.… My husband and I are in our 60s—we loved it, too.”

— Lou M., Grandparent

“I liked
Zan-Gah
so much that I bought a copy for every student in the class.”

— Rosalie B., Teacher and Volunteer

“We love
Zan-Gah
at S. Middle School. It is always checked out of the library.”

— Pat L., Library Media Specialist

“My mom is always on me for not reading.… But I think I've found a perfect book for me, and that book is
Zan-Gah
.”

— Marissa B., age 11

“I always recommend books the entire family could read and discuss.
Zan-Gah
is the perfect book for boys, girls, teens, parents, and grandparents.… You will love it!”

— Joan B., Middle and High School
Reading Teacher

“I am a nurse practitioner and my brain is always in diagnostic mode. Dael definitely has post-traumatic stress disorder and maybe a smidge of bipolar disorder. Interesting reading, in fact I think I'll read it again.”

— Johnette R., Nurse

“It is refreshing to see a book of this quality published for pre-teens and teens. It is age appropriate in content, but still challenges the intellect of avid readers of this age group. I know several kids who will want to read
Zan-Gah
.”

— Diane P., Editor

 

 

FOR MY WIFE

 

 

AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

B
Y
A
LLAN
R
ICHARD
S
HICKMAN

EARTHSHAKER BOOKS

 

 

 

ZAN-GAH:
A
ND THE
B
EAUTIFUL
C
OUNTRY

© Copyright 2009 by Allan R. Shickman

Manufactured in the United States of America. All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage or retrieval system without permission in writing from the author or his designated agent, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.

ISBN: 978-0-9790357-1-5

LCCN: 2009924462

Published in the United States by

Earthshaker Books

P. O. Box 300184

St. Louis, MO 63130

All people, places, events and situations within this book are the invention and imagination of the author. Any similarities to anyone living or dead are purely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT
WWW.ZAN-GAH.COM

CONTENTS

1 “IT IS TIME”

2 PAX

3 THE BRIDGE

4 THE HIVE

5 “WHAT HAPPENED?”

6 RYDL

7 THE TRAP

8 A DECISION

9 THE TREK

10 THE GREAT SPLIT

11 THE CRIMSON PEOPLE

12 THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

13 THE FIRE-MOUNTAIN

14 THE BRAID OF HAIR

15 THE TUSKS

16 DAEL'S POWER

17 RYDL'S GARDEN

18 SIRAKA-FINAKA

19 FUNERAL PYRES

20 DEPARTURE

 

 

 

 

1

“IT IS
TIME”

When Lissa-Na died, Dael wept real tears. No one blamed him—except for Dael himself, who was shocked at his own melting. Through his long, nightmarish captivity, suffering humiliation and torture at the hands of enemy peoples, he had never shed a drop. They had afflicted him in every way they could invent, both physically and mentally, for fully two years, but Dael never allowed tears to fall from his eyes—although he had been no more than a gentle, dreamy child at the time he was captured. Savage strangers had held this boy in a tiny cage and used him with whatever cruelty they could invent. It had been their sport! (No one who knows his gods should speak of these things.) But if they had hoped to break his spirit they failed. Dael stored his tears and gave his enemies no reward. Hidden within his softness was a staff of iron that he would never allow to bend. Yet he remembered every moment of his suffering and every occasion of his humiliation, converting each stifled drop to bitterness and bile.

Before being seized by the wasp people Dael had been a mild youth—playful, lighthearted, a joy to his parents,
and a happy companion to his twin brother, Zan. He had been known for his smiles. His captors—first the wasp people and afterwards the Noi—changed all that. For the wasp men did not keep him long, but eager for gain, sold him to the Noi, a desert clan.

How had it happened? Dael had quarreled with Zan, and left in anger. After a time, wandering this way and that, he decided to search out the source of Nobla, the river that flowed and bubbled past their home. He and Zan frequently had contemplated this search as a joint project, but now he would go exploring without his stingy brother. All alone, Dael followed Nobla for an afternoon before, as night was falling, he was taken by the marauding wasp men. Disabled by a weapon tipped with a strange venom, the pain of it was so great that he was incapable of resistance—not that it would have done any good. Eventually the poison wore off, but there could be no escaping. He was at their mercy.

For the first time in his life, Dael experienced unkindness. He did not understand the language of the wasp men, and could not even reply to their insults and abuse. There was something about his helplessness that inflamed men who otherwise were not entirely lacking in virtues. Even in his misery Dael could see that his captors lived well, but differently from his own cave-dwelling tribe. They modeled themselves after hornets, carrying stinging spears and building their hollow nests in the trees. They were as comfortable treading on a high limb as walking on the earth below. Looking downward on an enemy, they could swing or climb like apes to attack or defend.

The wasps were a strong, agile, and vigorous people, wise in many arts. And never had Dael seen such a prosperous country. Their weakness was that they were aggressive and quarrelsome, dissipating their strengths and nobler projects through constant disunity. But they were united in their dislike of the “barbarian boy,” and had it not been for the sympathy of the women, would have made short work of their prisoner. Dael was tied to a tree while the men argued about what they should do with him. At length they decided to trade him to the Noi for a batch of eagle feathers. Then Dael's troubles began in earnest.

The wasp men had not kept him long, but the Noi did. The trek across desert sands nearly killed Dael, and as soon as the healing women had restored him (that was the first time he saw Lissa-Na), the Noi warriors undertook to break him once again. It became a game among them to see in which creative ways they could abase and humble their captive. Dael bore it all with a silent endurance that thwarted any pleasure and limited their cruel satisfaction. He simply would not show grief.

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