Peter Dickinson
The Kin
1998
from the dustjacket:

It is Africa, 200,000 years ago.

The Kins have been driven from the lands where they have lived for many, many generations. They are the first modern human beings, brave and clever. Now they must set out on a dangerous journey in search of new Good Places.

Peter Dickinson's brilliant novel, told in four parts, is the story of a group of children from the Moonhawk Kin. Suth, Noli, Ko and Mana face natural disasters and fierce enemies - volcanic eruption, earthquake, floods, huge crocodiles, man-eating lions, and murderous strangers. THE KIN includes within its scope many big ideas too. The beginning of language, the development of skills, the passing-on of knowledge, the organisation of society. And the very biggest ideas of all. The nature of love and war and our search for a god.

'THE KIN is a thrilling piece of work. Almost alone among children's writers he has an appetite for large ideas and the power and skill to bring them to life ... Dickinson is a writer of great vision.'

PHILIP PULLMAN

Amazon.co.uk Review: In this ambitious quartet of novels for older children the award-winning author Peter Dickinson takes us back two hundred thousand years to witness the birth of the human race in Africa. The Kins are the first modern human beings and this epic tale starts with their forced exodus from their traditional homelands. Dickinson introduces us to Suth, Noli, Ko and Mana, all children of the Moonhawk Kin. As they roam the vast plains and valleys in search of new "Good Places" where they can peacefully live, so the children confront natural disaster, cruel hardships and brutal enemies, as well as their own developing hopes and fears. Dickinson intersperses his narrative with a series of magical interludes that are the mythical stories the Kin have made up to explain their world to themselves. But it is when the children take centre stage that these stories really come alive. Whether they are eating roasted leg of fox, travelling through the unknowable wilderness or exhibiting acts of essential human kindness in an entirely believable ancient landscape, once again Dickinson's cast of characters is capable of grabbing the reader's imagination and tweaking the heartstrings. -- Nick Wroe


PETER DICKINSON was born in Africa, within earshot of the Victoria Falls. When he was seven, his family moved to England, where he later graduated from Cambridge. For seventeen years he worked on the staff of the magazine Punch before starting his career as a writer - which he knew he was meant for since he was five years old. His first book was published in 1968, and since then he has written more than fifty novels for adults and young readers.

Among his award-winning children's books are CITY OF GOLD (Carnegie Medal), TULKU (Carnegie Medal and Whitbread Children's Book of the Year), AK (Whitbread Children's Book of the Year) and THE BLUE HAWK (Guardian Children's Fiction Award). The idea for THE KIN developed out of his earlier novel about prehistoric people, A BONE FROM A DRY SEA, published in 1992. He lives in Hampshire.