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The prehistoric setting for this YA debut is original and intriguing. It contains some action and adventure, but the main focus of the story is finding wives for the main character Kol and his younger brothers. Their father is the High Elder of their small clan, and they need to connect with nearby clans to find matches for the boys to ensure the longevity of the clan and the continuity of their family’s leadership.

Julie Eshbaugh

4.0 stars on Amazon
3.72 stars on Goodreads
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The Ivory and Bone Series
#1 Ivory and Bone
#2 Obsidian and Stars
#3 Untitled


I give it 3.75 stars overall.
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Point of View
Much of this book is written in second person from Kol’s point of view (addressing Mya).

This book is set in a cold northern area in prehistoric times.

***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****

What happened in Ivory and Bone?

Kol is in a cave with Mya. He’s worried about her injury. He tries to keep her awake while he builds a fire. She asks him to tell her about the best day of his life. He begins…

Kol’s brother Pek finds him in a meadow because a canoe has arrived at their village. Their parents approach with a group of three: the chief of a clan and his two sisters. Kol’s mom goes back to the tribe to cook dinner while the others go huntin. Kol leads the way until they find the mammoths. Then his dad runs the herd to them. Kol runs the fastest he’s ever ran to impress Mya. He misses with his spear throw and is suddenly being chased by a saber-toothed cat.

Kol escapes onto a mountain trail. He thinks he’s lost the cat but then hears something approaching. He raises his spear but then sees it’s Mya. She throws her spear over Kol’s head, at the cat waiting to pounce on him. It’s a killing blow that saves Kol’s life. She seems upset. Pek and Mya’s sister Seeri brought down a mammoth at the same time. Pek tells Kol he thinks these girls will change their lives forever.

Kol hurries back to the village to get the butchers. As they, Kol approaches the sisters as they visit quietly nearby. They hush whatever they’re talking about. Seeri leaves. Mya tucks a necklace with a pendant under her parka. Kol apologizes to Mya for raising his spear at her earlier but assures her he would’ve never thrown it before seeing his target clearly. She asks if he knows what happened to cause the feud between their clans five years ago. He doesn’t know specifics. She won’t share them.

Kol’s dad asks him and Pek to help build a hut for their guests because they may be frequent visitors. After they finish, their mother tells them it’s time for the feast. She asks Kol to speak to Mya at dinner. She thinks they would make a good match.

The clan opens the feast singing a traditional song and dancing simple steps to move around in a circle. Seeri joins in; Mya doesn’t. She leaves when the second song starts. Kol’s mother notices Mya isn’t there and sends a plate of food for her with Kol. She accepts the food but remains inside and drops the drape as soon as Kol passes it to her. Back at the feast, Kol worries about the dark expression he saw in Mya’s eyes.

Mya’s absence makes Kol’s mother nervous, which in turn makes Kol nervous. He asks her what happened between their clans five years ago. She tells him one of their men accidentally killed one of the Mya’s clan’s women on a hunt. In retaliation, one of that clan’s men killed the man who threw the spear. Kol realizes that Mya must’ve been afraid history was going to repeat itself earlier today. He has to see her again. She is impatient when Kol arrives again. He tells her he understands and apologizes again. Kol hands Mya a small pouch of honey. She won’t accept the gift. Kol sees Pek, Seeri, and Chev coming. He grabs the honey and retreats after hearing Mya tell her brother and sister what just happened.

Pek shakes Kol awake early the next morning. The trio is leaving. Their mother wants them to wrap half the mammoth meat to send with them. She is visibly disappointed. Chev and his sisters appear. They hear a story about a girl who was in love with Pek. He wasn’t impressed, and she returned to her mother’s native clan. Mya wants to know what clan it was, but her brother stops her. Kol knows they have secrets.

Kol takes the first load to their boat. Mya follows him out. They argue a little about the best way for a relationship to start. Kol mentions how their clans will be tied now because of Pek and Seeri. Mya says that won’t happen because Seeri is promised to a boy in their clan.

Roon arrives saying he heard something outside his tent overnight. He searched for the source and found a clan moving in from the northwest. He spoke to a brother and sister from this group and discovered they have girls of marrying age.

Chev says it’s time to go. Kol thinks they’re leaving because of Seeri’s attraction to Pek. This trip must’ve been to find a mate for Mya. Now they’re leaving disappointed. Chev asks Roon about the people he met. Pek all but asks to come visit them soon. Chev says ‘someday.’ As they leave, Kol sees another kayak far out on the horizon. Long, loose hair is whipping in the wind, as Mya’s often does. Then the image disappears.

Pek and Kol go hunting for seals because Seeri likes seal blankets. Kol tells Pek about her betrothal. He already knew. He still has hope since she’s not married yet. Kol kills a seal. Pek wants one more and asks Kol to go out and scare the other herd toward him. Kol does. Pek’s boat flips as they approach him. Kol swims over to rescue him. Pek wants to go after one more seal. But they’re soaked and cold and need to go to their hut to get warm.

Pek loads a kayak with gifts for the Olen clan: seal pelts for Seeri, the saber tooth pelt for Mya, and other valuable things. After he’s gone, Roon wants to go visit the other clan on the western shore. Their father says ‘no.’ He wants to see how the relationship with the Olen clan stands before trying to establish a relationship with a different clan.

A week passes. Pek isn’t back. They’re worried, so Kol goes after him. He has to walk because the clan needs the only other large kayak for fishing. It will be a full day’s walk. Kol feels like he’s being stalked and spots a cat almost identical to the other. He kills it but gets clawed on his back. He reaches the Olen camp just before nightfall. He goes back for the cat and then heads to toward camp. Somebody is following him. It’s Pek. He goes to get someone to help drag the cat.

Kol’s wounds are cleaned at the Olen camp. He’s given Mya’s tent to sleep in. Chev sends for their family. When Kol wakes in the middle of the night, Mya is there watching him. She goes to get the healers, as they asked her to. They’re happy about the progress of his healing. Chev thanks him for killing the cat because it had been terrorizing their people. He talks with Pek and discovers convincing Chev he’s the one for Seeri isn’t going well. When Kol wakes again, he hears his family arriving. He grabs a parka from the end of the bed. It’s made from the cat Mya killed.

Chev tells Kol’s parents about his injuries. They’re relieved to see he’s doing okay. Kol discovers Mya made the parka from the cat pelt because she couldn’t accept the gift. He’s angry. At dinner, Kol’s parents learn that Seeri is betrothed to another and feel betrayed. There is talk about the traits of a good husband and wife. Kol and Mya clash over this.

Roon wants to look at the boats on the shore. Kesh goes with him. Leah says Roon took off with Lees, another little sister of Mya’s. Kol and Mya are worried and find their siblings. They’re out in a canoe. Lees falls out. Kol and Mya each hop in a kayak and paddle out to Lees. Roon manages to pull Lees back into the canoe. Kol pulls them back to shore. Mya was already rowing that way and grabs Lees and drags her away without a word of thanks.

Kol has a restless night’s sleep because of pain in his back and nightmares. His family rises early to go home. Mya sends Lees to Kol to apologize and give him a kiss on the cheek from her. They make the journey home in canoes and Pek’s kayak. At one point, Kol thinks he sees three boats on the horizon. He wonders who they are–people or spirits–before they disappear. There is an unfamiliar boat (and thus strangers) in their camp when they arrive home.

They discover Shava, the girl Pek rejected years ago, and her clan Bosha are their visitors. There are a couple other girls from the Bosha clan there, including Lo, the High Elder’s daughter.

Kol sits with Lo at dinner. His mother prompts them to search for honey together. Shava wants to join them. Their mother forces Pek to go. The four of them leave early the next morning. Kol knows his mom is trying to pair her sons off and asks Pek if he will give Shava another chance. Pek says he can’t since he’s in love with Seeri. They walk to the meadow in awkward silence. When they all finally speak, Pek is rude to Shava and lets her know there’s another girl in his life. Lo tries to talk to Pek, who’s being moody. Kol teaches Shava about searching for bees and honey. She begins to like Kol instead.

When they return to camp, Mya and Seeri are there. Chev has brought them and the other High Elders of their clan to apologize for his actions. They have brought a feast to serve tonight. Lo wants to go home. Kol talks her in to letting Shava stay and then returning with her father for the feast that night. Kol walks her back to her camp. He asks if she knows Mya and Seeri because they were rude to her. Lo was a part of their clan five years ago. Their two clans were joined back then. Mya’s father was High Elder. He was trusted until just before the split occurred. It started when Mya’s dad turned from the divine ways. They were supposed to hunt herd animals for survival. He was turning to fishing and gathering.

On a gathering mission one day, Lo was separated from the group and lost all night long. She was half frozen but alive the next morning. Mya’s family, especially her father, blamed the incident on Lo. He died the following winter. Lo thinks he wasted away because of his regret over the incident. Lo’s dad wanted to take over clan leadership. Chev believed it was his job. The clan split. Chev took his followers south, as his father had planned to. Lo’s father kept his followers in the same place to try to reclaim their divine right as mammoth hunters.

When they get to Lo’s camp, Shava is rowing to shore to get her mom. Kol makes Lo promise to come to the feast tonight before he leaves.

Kol waits until Lo should have arrived before going to the feast. He bumps into Shava and her mom. Her mom goes in search of Pek. Shava stays right by Kol’s side. Mya hears them talking and overhears Kol mention the history between her clan and Lo’s. She comes over to clarify.

Kol tries to get away from Shava by going to talk to Kesh. She accompanies him and stays with Kesh to learn to play the flute. Kol escapes the feast and heads to his family’s hut. Mya is there leaving a gift of honey on his bed. They share it. Kol asks why their family came to his clan after their prior conflict. Mya says to find a husband for her. He asks why Seeri was betrothed before Mya. Mya was betrothed for years but her intended died. Kol asks how. Mya says she has to show him.

Mya leads Kol up to his meadow near three big boulders and tells the story. Her clan found his five years ago as they were traveling south, in desperate need of food and shelter. They went on a hunt together their first morning. A man from Kol’s clan (Tram’s father) throws a spear at a direwolf and kills Mya’s mother instead. Chev kills the man, grabs his mother’s body, gathers his clan, and takes off in their kayaks. Tram’s mother throws spear at them as they’re leaving and hits Mya’s betrothed. He dies in the boat. Kol mentions how Mya’s betrothed wouldn’t have died if he had stayed with Lo’s father. He tells her the story Lo relayed to him about their clan’s split. Mya says it’s not the full truth. She won’t tell him what’s missing. Kol returns the honey. Mya leaves.

Kol returns to the feast to see Kesh and Roon showing off for their girls. Shava stops him and tells him to wish Pek the best since Chev announced he’s ending Seeri’s betrothal. When Kol gets to the hut, Pek and Seeri are in an embrace. Seeri leaves embarrassed. Pek tells Kol he won’t be able to marry Seeri until Kol is betrothed. Kol says he’ll do his best.

The next morning, Kol hears his mother wake his father to say Shava’s mom wants to discuss a betrothal to Kol now that Pek is off the table. Kol gets up to tell then he’s not interested. Kesh runs out mad. Kol follows him. Kesh goes to find Shava and proposes to her. She says yes. The clan celebrates the betrothal.

When Chev arrives, Shava tells him danger is facing his clan. Kol’s father pulls a small group into the kitchen to listen. Shava says there is a plot to kill Chev.

Shava says Lo’s father is dead, she’s the High Elder now, and she is the one plotting to kill Chev. Kol asks how this can be when Lo left him to go see her father yesterday. Shava says it’s a lie. Kol peppers Shava with questions. Lo came to these shores on purpose because she knew Chev was here. She has been brainwashing people in her clan, especially the younger ones who never knew Chev. She even has the Elders of her clan duped. She is sending them on a scouting trip they believe is inspired by the divine. The two loyal to Lo are the only ones who will stay behind. The others will be out of her way so she can enact her plan.

Chev discovers ten of his old tribe members have died. He asks to hear the story of Lo’s father’s death. Shava and her mother tell it as storytellers. Their clan was starving. Lo dove in icy waters to swim toward a mammoth she saw. Lo’s father rescued her and then died while the clan was trying to save her life. After his death, Lo dove into the icy water again and found a dead, frozen mammoth. The meat saved their clan.

Chev and Mya argue after the story is over. They feel grief at the suffering their defectors went through, but Mya thinks it’s all their fault. Shava says Lo has been spying and has seen the prosperity of Chev’s clan. She says it should be theirs.

Mya leaves. Kol follows to ask if she believes Shava’s story. She does. Kol is unsure. Mya says to go ask Lo himself. Kol goes to Lo’s camp. It seems empty. Then Lo appears. They go into her tent to talk. Kol tells her what he’s heard from Shava. Lo says it’s true but believes her father was the rightful clan leader chosen by the divine. She wants to recapture the other half of the clan. Kol hears people outside the tent and sees them push off in kayaks. They are headed for his settlement to battle with Chev.

Kol realizes Lo is waiting for his affirmation of his plan. He realizes Maya was right about her all along. Kol runs to the beach. His kayak is gone. He takes off through the woods, the only other way home. His village is on fire. A storm is brewing but will not arrive soon enough to douse the flames. Roon asks Kol to come to the beach to help with his plan. They haul a kayak full of seawater and wet pelts to the village.

When they get it up to the huts, everyone sees the plan and pitches in. The flames are out eventually. There is damage, but the camp is not destroyed. Kol’s mother comes to tend to Roon’s wounds. Kol hears Pek and Kesh are worse at the beach. He races that way. Six people are lying on the sand with bad burns, including his brothers. Pek calls him over and asks Kol to go save Seeri, Maya, and their family.

Kol wants to stay to help the injured. Pek screams at him to go. He’s the only one who can warn Chev’s clan. He takes off on the dangerous mission in a kayak in a storm. No one but Pek knows he’s going. It’s a treacherous journey. He capsizes and loses his paddle but rights himself and recovers it. He is soaked and freezing. He realizes he’s paddling to Mya because he can’t imagine a future without her.

The rain changes to ice and snow. He passes Lo’s clan. They have pulled off on the shore during the icy blast. Kol is elated he’ll reach Mya before they do. The storm gets caught behind mountains and breaks for a while. The sun breaks through. Kol can see with the sunlight. He’s getting close. The storm builds behind him again. His strength is waning. He has to fight to stay conscious. He sees movement on the shore’s cliffs. It’s Mya.

Mya calls to Kol. He can’t hear what she’s saying. His body and mind have given out. He can’t paddle and can’t remember what his mission is. He drops the paddle and watches it float away. The burning blisters on his hands remind him of his burning village. He hates the paddle but reaches for it when it floats back to him. He suddenly has a straight shot at Mya on the shore. He paddles hard. He’s done when he’s almost there, then he feels her grasp him. He’s made it.

Somehow she helps him out of the boat, up the shore, and into a cave. He’s sore and knows he’s fallen on the walk up. Now he’s come to and is in the shelter of the cave. Mya is tending to him. She had taken his clothes off and wrapped him in mammoth pelts. He’s only half conscious but warns Mya about Lo. Mya says she has to do something to keep him alive. She slips in under the pelts and lays next to him, skin to skin, to warm him up.

Mya is watching out of the cave to make sure Lo’s clan doesn’t pass. Now that it’s morning she’s headed off to warn her clan. Kol insists on coming, too. It’s pouring again. It’s a treacherous journey. They make it to camp and warn Chev that Lo’s clan is coming. Chev makes a plan. Kol joins the group headed to the beach to defend the tribe. Chev yells to ask what they want and is struck in the shoulder by a spear. Mya wants to strike back but Chev doesn’t want her to because these are their former clansmen. Kol wants to follow her but knows he must get Chev to the healers first. Before he can get Chev up, Orn, the boy who threw the spear, appears and clocks Kol in the temple with a big club.

Kol and Orn fight. Orn falls over the edge of the cliff. Kol tries to grab his leg to save him but can’t. Kol’s glad Chev’s still alive. He wonders why the help Mya promised hasn’t come. He needs to get Chev to the healers soon. They start toward camp.

When they get there, they hear footsteps approaching. It’s Yano. He hugs Chev. The four head into the camp. Kol asks if Lo’s clan has left. Yano says they have withdrawn to the beach. The clan’s meeting place transformed is to an area for the injured. Kol finds Seeri and Lees but no Mya. He sees a broken spear on the path leading from her hut and follows the trail. Then he sees Mya’s ivory pendant necklace on the ground.

Kol ascends into the canyon the trail leads to, wondering if this is the way Mya went. After a treacherous, icy climb, he spots her lying on a rock just above the water. He drops into the ravine, wades through the water, and calls her name. Mya doesn’t stir. He sees blood on her parka. He touches her, surprised when she startles. She immediately asks where Lo is.

Mya says Lo found her in her hut. They fought. She gashed Lo’s cheek. Lo said one of them will die. Lo chased her into this canyon. They fought again and both fell. Kol doesn’t see Lo but knows she could be hiding. He wants to get back to the cave Mya took him to. She’s drowsy and says she can’t move. Kol picks her up. He carries her up the path toward the cave. He sees boats in the distance and wonders if Lo is on one of them. They make it to the cave.

The scene from the prologue unfolds again. He tells Mya about his most wondrous day, the day he first saw her. He tells her everything since they first met. He tells the story all the way until he carried her into the cave minutes ago. She listens attentively the whole time. They sit quietly. The rain outside has stopped. Mya looks at the fire and remembers the fire at Kol’s camp. She asks about his clan and hers.

Kol moves to sit by Mya and hesitantly takes her hand. He kisses her. She pulls away after a while and tells him she wants to kiss him. But it made her forget everything else going on and she has to focus right now. Kol wishes Mya could forget the past but knows he can’t ask that from her.

They leave the cave to hike back to her camp. They come face to face with Lo. She says she knows she’s failed. She opens her parka to reveal a large wound. Lo apologizes for lying about the night she became lost as a child. Mya accepts the apology and moves to help Lo. They slip and tumble into the ravine. Kol dives into the water after them. He sees them downstream, Mya clutching a rock with one hand and Lo’s hood with another. Her grip fades. She loses Lo. Kol swims as fast as he can to try to save Lo for Mya. He can tell by how she’s floating that her spirit is gone. They float downstream until Lo’s body catches on a rock. Mya is on a rock by the water.

Kol leaves Mya’s camp early the next morning before anyone is up. Mya retreated into her tent the night before, even taking her meal in there. She said nothing and sent nothing to Kol. Her last words were to explain how a cut that he didn’t remember had occurred when he was trying to save Lo. He wonders if she’s mad he wasn’t able to save her.

How did Ivory and Bone end?

Kol’s parents are very relieved to see him home safe. They send him to see his injured brothers. They are both sleeping. Home feels different now. Kol suddenly feels trapped. He escapes to the meadow and falls asleep in the grass. He awakes in the early evening and is shocked to see the camp looks back to normal. The new pelts are in the style of Mya’s clan. Kol sees three canoes on the shore. There are two dead bodies in the boats, Lo’s and Orn’s, making their final journey home. Kol hears Chev’s voice. When he reaches the beach, he sees Mya.

Kol tells them it’s unwise to deliver these bodies to Lo’s clan. He’s afraid they will be violent. They see a kayak approaching with someone from Lo’s clan inside. It’s Dora, Orn’s mother. Chev goes out to embrace her. She retrieves pelts from her kayak, the reason for her visit. She is an elder, one of those who had left the camp only to return and find what their clan had done in their absence. The pelts are a peace offering. She asks to speak to anyone injured in the fire. Kol takes her to Pek and Kesh. She explains how Lo and Orn duped the clan, including the High Elders. She apologizes again. Dora leaves to paddle home. Chev’s group follows her to deliver the bodies.

Kol and his family journey to the Bosha clan for Lo’s and Orn’s funerals. Chev and Mya are there. When it’s over, Kol escapes to the meadow because he doesn’t want to talk to anyone.  Mya appears. They kiss. She’s wearing her ivory pendant again. She ripped it off and left it on the rock so Kol would know where she went. She trusted he would find her. The necklace was her mother’s and is important to her just like the oversized parka of her mother’s she wears. Kol knows his future will be good with her in it, even if there are hard times ahead.

There you go! That’s what happened in Ivory and Bone, the first book in this series. Obsidian and Stars, book 2, is set to be released June 13, 2017!

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