'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 13 May 2024

Review: The Cave

This brilliant piece of writing by Victor Kelleher is breathtaking from beginning to end.

A coming-of-age novel, it is filled with adventure, personal growth, courage, survival, strength, and renewal.

Set in paleolithic times of spears and newly discovered fire, it is the age of Beast.

Irian and his father are left to keep vigil at the mouth of the cave where all their clan have taken refuge. They fall asleep, and the fire burns out. The carnage left by the attack by the beast in the darkness, is unspeakable.

Irian’s family is lost. He is spared due to his squirreling into a space between two rocks. When he awakes from the shock, he has lost the ability to speak.

He comes across Ulana also of his clan, badly wounded and helps her as best he can. Both broken in body and spirit, they escape together from that place of terror.

They encounter Tryg, a wanderer of a great age, but filled with knowledge and life skills, who attends to Ulana’s wounds. Irian believes she has been sent by the Sky Spirit to guide them as she introduces them to fire. It is by embracing this belief that they stay together to comfort and care for each other.

With the help of their grumpy elderly companion, the young innocents mature quickly, learning life skills, and how to survive by using their intuition and logic. They are strengthened by the wisdom shared by those they encounter.

But Irian’s terror remains, so does his speechlessness. But he looks forward to the future and a long life.

Poetic prose presents dazzling images of nature, the rugged and wild places the characters traverse. They must make difficult decisions and are enriched by the kindness and hospitality shown by the isolated people they meet, learn the importance of sharing what they have, and to always honour friendships.

Don’t miss this outstanding novel that will leave you as enriched in knowledge as were the characters of the story from their journey.

Title: The Cave
Author: Victor Kelleher
Publisher: Christmas Press, $19.99
Publication Date: 1 April 2024
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780645378863
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction