I finished reading this book a few days ago, and find myself constantly bringing it up in conversation with my wife and other people. It's extremely good: paleoanthropologically accurate, but also dead-on in its human psychology. More: it's one of those books that happens to be packaged as science fiction that could be read, and thoroughly enjoyed, by any thoughtful reader. Indeed, I used to say that no SF book would ever have a chance of being an Oprah's Book Club pick, but this one just might. Its soaring humanity, fascinating look at the concept of slavery (through the distorting lens of a group of African-American slaves having actually burried australopithecines who had been forced to work alongside them in the fields), and finely detailed (and completely believable) African-American female protagonist would make it a natural choice for Oprah. But it also should satisfy anyone who IS a science-fiction reader. It certainly satisfied this lifelong fan. I've written my own paleoanthropologically themed SF (HOMINIDS, from Tor Books), and deliberately waited until I'd finished before I started Allen's book, so as not to be influenced by it. Now that I have read it, it impressed the heck out of me. Five stars.