"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 & Cottonwood
"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 Nardini, Yoga Master & Author of Road Trip Guide to the Soul
"Highly recommended for young adult library collections"—Children's Bookwatch, The Midwest Book Review
"Authentic in voice, powerful in story art, the journey of body and mind told between the pages of these two books is addicting. Mr. Shickman will drag you into this story with the depth and characterization of the young teenager, Zan. You'll trek a primitive, dangerous world through his eyes, undergo torturous events and shudder with fear, pain, and courage. You'll stumble, fall, recover, and claim victory, but not without cost. What a great gift for young adult readers, and adults, as well."
–Lynda Coker, Author of The Ocean Between & Payback in Wayback
"This is a great read for young adults. They may find something within themselves just as Zan-Gah did."
–Debbier Ciardi, National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club
"Zan-Gah is a very interesting, exciting, and suspenseful book. During the book, I always felt a burst of emotions.....A wonderful book for all ages. I picked up this book and couldn't put it down until the end. If I had to read this book 1,000 more times, I would. I love this book...."
–Madelyn H., Age 12, The Bismarck Tribune (Citizen Reviewer)
SUKO'S NOTEBOOK "Instantly, magically, I was drawn into this darker, colder, crueler world....Author Allan Richard Shickman creates a primeval world that's savage, vivid, believable, and deeply moving. I genuinely cared about [the characters], especially Zan, the protagonist, as well as Dael, Lissa-Na, Pax, Rydl, Sparrow, Chul, and many others, who truly come to life. I could visualize the various clans, the Ba-Coro, the Noi, and the wasp people (who emulated the ways of this stinging insect and used poison-tipped spears). The author is a master storyteller, and the adventures are exciting and unlike any I've ever read before. "
THE ELLIOTT REVIEW "...rich and authentic....extremely realistic and moving....definitely a book I would recommend for any middle grade reader, especially the boys. It's educational, fun, mysterious—everything a young reader could want!"
I READ TO RELAX "Reluctant readers should find the subject matter compelling and will be hard pressed to put this book down."—Jessica Miller, YA Librarian
RED HOUSE BOOKS "This is a book I can see myself reading again and again. From the very first page I was drawn into the story....pretty amazing."
TELL ME A STORY "...Shickman has a gift with words that makes the prehistoric setting, the people and places, not only believable but very real....How refreshing it is to find a book for young people that will appeal to and encourage boys to read."
ONCE UPON A TWILIGHT "This book is meant for young kids, but to tell you the truth,I couldn't put it down. It kept me wanting more the whole time and that's exactly what I got. It was wonderfully written and the characters were inspiring."
THE BOOKWORM CHRONICLES "This is pretty much
a perfect young adult book....a lovely little read. I highly recommend this book if you have children who enjoy a good adventure story....I will be happily passing this on to my own younger brother."
BOOK NOISE "...a powerfully moving story....amazing look into prehistoric times....spellbinding to say the least....you are mesmerized....a remarkable and gripping drama....This is a must read novella...."
“I cried at the end.”—Burton S., age 69
Readers' Comments on the gripping sequel story, ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY:
"ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is a fun read, recommended."—MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW, "Small Press Bookwatch"
"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. This book brings Zan-Gah into adulthood at a time when his clan is going through much change. The strength of Zan's leadership is sorely tested by the actions of his twin brother whose deep emotional wounds have led to great bitterness and anger. 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. Recommended for 6th grade up."—Joe Corbett, New City School Librarian
THE CANTICLE "...it deals with the deep dilemmas and fierce confrontations between characters. The author does a great job in bringing the ancient world to life...."—Michael Young, author of THE CANTICLE
“ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is even better than ZAN-GAH: A PREHISTORIC ADVENTURE. That surprised me because I usually prefer the first of any series. THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, however, benefits from the relationship between the two adult brothers and makes for a richer, and for adults, a more relatable experience. At the same time, for younger readers, a story of sibling rivalry is as immediate as it gets. There is such a fullness in the developing relationship between Dael and Zan, and the reader can’t help but sympathize with each of them. Another plus to both novels, but I was more aware of it in the second, is the rich vocabulary. The word choices are always appropriate and never dumbed down as happens in much young adult fiction."—Joan Burtelow, middle and high school reading teacher
I READ TO RELAX "This fast paced, easy to read book includes love, betrayal, jealousy, courage, inventiveness, and fanaticism, making for an exciting read. Each character grows in interesting ways and many concepts about right and wrong, good and evil, are explored. A good pick for a middle school reader looking for excitement!"—Jessica Miller, YA Librarian
"The author has painted a richly colored landscape and filled it with vibrant characters. Themes of forgiveness, dealing with hatred, brains overcoming might, and of loving another, add great depth to the story....Great material for high school students."—Barry Crook, Library Media Specialist, North Kirkwood Middle School
WICKED AWESOME BOOKS "Shickman's prose cannot be rivaled here and I feel lucky to have read such a beautifully woven tale. He is able to take the barest of lines, and layer it with such complexity and emotion....Fraught with tension and a looming darkness, ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY delivers another spectacular chapter in Zan-Gah's moving story."
THE BODACIOUS PEN "This book is a rare exception—a sequel that's even better than the original!"
WENDY'S MINDING SPOT "Stunning....The descriptions are magnificent and the action superb. Young adults and adults alike will enjoy this series. I certainly did!"
FREDA'S VOICE "A must read, and a HUGE recommendation!"
"Character traits, morals, and life lessons weave throughout the ZAN-GAH stories which allow for great book discussions....I anxiously await Zan-Gah’s next adventure!"—Kimberly S., Middle School Librarian, YA
THE HAUNTING OF ORCHID FORSYTHIA "While I enjoyed reading ZAN-GAH: A PREHISTORIC ADVENTURE, I absolutely loved ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY. This book was just amazing...completely drew me in from the first page....one of my favorite books that I have read this year."
GIRLS WITHOUT A BOOKSHELF "ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY touches on psychological impairment that Shickman deliberately bares to the bones....The tension, uncertainty and danger was palpable on every page....The quality of Shickman's prose is in a league of its own....absolutely wonderful....a powerful, complex novel."
TELL ME A STORY "As an adult I really enjoyed it and became more involved on an emotional level....He creates magic with words that it is a pleasure to read and then return and read again."
BITES "I like this series simply for just how different it is from all the other YA stuff out there right now....I couldn't stop turning the pages....What I liked most is the realism."
A SEASON TO READ "A tense read that explores the darker reaches of a disturbed mind, this action adventure held my attention through to the finish."
THE ELLIOTT REVIEW "This second installment of ZAN-GAH is just as action packed as the first....filled with meaningful lessons about the human spirit and what it can endure and what it must choose...."
A FANATIC'S BOOK BLOG "I was impressed with how quickly the story grabs your attention....another beautifully woven story....Shickman has created a unique and intriguing world that I enjoyed so very much."
ESCAPE IN A BOOK "In this novel we get thrown head first into the drama. Let me tell you, Mr. Shickman, that I did not see that one coming!"
A MOMENT WITH MYSTEE "My 11 year old will be reading this after he finishes the first....I feel this is a must have on any young adult reader's book shelf."
BURIED IN BOOKS "The story pulls you in....I stayed up until two am to finish it....a great prehistoric adventure novel...."
TO READ OR NOT TO READ "Once again Allan Shickman has blown me away....a fantastic book."
THE DIARY OF A BOOKWORM "More compelling than the first book....it seems likely there will be more ZAN-GAH to come."
ALL-CONSUMING BOOKS "One element I really loved was the introduction of Pax, Zan's wife....A well-written story...."
BIBLIOPHILE SUPPORT GROUP "I really appreciate both Zan-Gah novels for their sincerity and amazing storytelling....both horrifying and poignant."
RAGING BIBLIOMANIA "Shickman did a really wonderful job fleshing out all these aspects of the plot....these books would be perfect for middle grade readers and would likely stretch their imaginations and vocabulary...."
BOOK NOISE "...an emotional roller coaster ride through the era of early man...very realistic...a great read and I highly recommend this YA series. It's perfect for the reluctant reader, providing action and adventure in addition to the emotional drama...."
MISSY READS AND REVIEWS "Where ZAN-GAH; A PREHISTORIC ADVENTURE grips you with its page-turning action, this one attacks you with an emotional roller coaster that has you holding your breath until the end....a must read...will enthrall even the most reluctant of readers."
FAY-BAY'S BOOKS "This book takes you on an emotional roller coaster....a perfect sequel....I love finding hidden gems!"
PINEAPPLES & PYJAMAS "...very relevant in today's society and family."
READAHOLIC "...a powerful and emotional story...."
LITERARY R&R "...wonderfully written and will keep the reader intrigued until the last page."
LOVES TO READ "...even more enjoyable than the first book....some pretty intense subject matter....one of the most beautiful and touching endings...."
EVERYTHING TO DO WITH BOOKS "I sat down to read the first couple of pages and ended up reading on and on....I felt myself being transported into Zan-Gah's world...."
GIVING READING A CHANCE "You can really relate with all the characters and long after you are done reading this book they remain with you....perfect ending."
A MOMENT WITH MYSTEE "...a must have on any young adult reader's book shelf."
SPELLBOUND BY BOOKS "...a great follow up to the first book...."
LOST FOR WORDS "...it captured my attention right away from the start....stunning and evocative....Action abounds...."
ESCAPE THROUGH THE PAGES "A very well written book with great insight into the characters and community in general. ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is the perfect companion to the first novel."
I SWIM FOR OCEANS "...eloquent....a beautifully written book, and one I definitely enjoyed."
DforDARLA'S DEFINITE READS: "...you're just going to have to read the book because Dael is just a storm of emotions."
BUTTERFLY FEET WALKING ON AIR "I would definitely say read this novel! It really was an ah-mazing sequel...."
MY OWN LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD "My rating: 5 of 5 stars."
BOOKS BY THEIR STORY "This is a book that everyone should read!"
THE BOOKWORM CHRONICLES "...even more gripping than the previous installment ZAN-GAH: A PREHISTORIC ADVENTURE....I highly recommend this book...."
"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 13
ST. LOUIS JEWISH LIGHT "[The author's] ability to create a detailed prehistoric world peopled with mythic characters invites comparison to the best in the fields of fable, fantasy and science fiction."—Robert A. Cohn
NOMOTC NOTEBOOK "Action and adventure fill the pages....suspense and action all along the journey....This is another guaranteed good and exciting read for young teens and adventure lovers!"—Debbie Ciardi, National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs
"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 have 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 (retired)
"I read ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY in one fell swoop and enjoyed the whole thing."—Kaye S., geologist
"I really enjoyed it and didn't want to put it down. I read it in a day."—Scott S., tattoo artist
"I thoroughly enjoyed the book and hope you are working on a third."—Joyce G., retired
"Strictly in terms of his writing, phraseology, timing, cadence, rhythm, dialogue (especially dialogue), exposition, and narrative voice...Shickman is an unsurpassed master. I can honestly think of no other writer, famous or not, who supersedes him. Indeed I can think of nothing else I have ever read that compares."—Reuben H., vendor
Amazing Comments on DAEL AND THE PAINTED PEOPLE:
SUKO'S NOTEBOOK "Wow! It will be difficult to convey even one tenth of my enthusiasm for this book--or this series."
THE HAUNTING OF ORCHID FORSYTHIA "...an incredibly interesting plot and characters.... I just could not put it down...."
KNITS, READS AND REVIEWS "I recommend reading each of these 3 wonderfully amazing books!"
MINDING SPOT "...another remarkable read....Allan Shickman's books are consistently engaging and surprising...."
WHERE THE WOLVES READ "I absolutely loved this book....5 howls."
TO READ OR NOT TO READ "...an emotionally charged adventure that is overwhelmingly brilliant."
CONFUZZLED BOOKS "Thoroughly enjoyable and powerful writing....I have never seen or read anything else like it."
LOR MANDELA "This is the type of book that I would not be surprised to find on a multitude of junior-high/middle school suggested reading lists....I was mesmerized."
BETWEEN THE PAGES "Shickman takes the reader on a journey that will shock and amaze you."
MISSY'S READS & REVIEWS "...emotionally gripping....Shickman's writing gets better with every book, sucking you in...."
BLOGCRITICS BOOKS "...an intensely satisfying story...amazing...."
THE MUSINGS OF A BOOK ADDICT "...wonderful and believable. I have loved this series."
FICTITIOUS MUSINGS "...a powerful story of life and love....Shickman has continued to astonish...."
CAFE OF ANSWERS "It made my heart soar....I loved this books so much....spectacular...."
ONCE UPON A TWILIGHT "This book is meant for young kids, but to tell you the truth, I couldn't put it down. It kept me wanting more the whole time and that's exactly what I got....wonderfully written....inspiring."
BUTTERFLY FEET "The plot was superb....really great!"
GEEK ON THE BRINK "Shickman obviously knows how to bring a story to life, but he also knows how to end it."