Cape Girardeau Barnes & Noble features St. Louis writer at book signing

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dreams, ideas, art history, the American West. It all inspired and encouraged St. Louis native Allan Richard Shickman to write his first novel.

"Zan-Gah, a Prehistoric Adventure" hit the shelves this year. The primary audience is around age 11, but Shickman said adults can read and enjoy the book.

"It's a human story about a young fellow who has to deal with a harsh world," Shickman said.

Shickman will be at Barnes & Noble in Cape Girardeau tomorrow for a reading and signing of his book.

Zan is a young boy who leaves his tribe in search of his brother. Before he finds him, he encounters and befriends a few enemy tribes, and he is captured and enslaved by one particularly diabolical tribe.

It's all an adventure, and it doesn't end when Zan finds his long-lost brother.

"Really a great deal of the challenge to my main character is the challenge to stay alive," Shickman said.

The novel is set in a prehistoric desert. Though the imagery and scenery is colorful and detailed, the exact time, place and people involved in the novel are all vague.

"I deliberately avoided that," Shickman said. "I wanted everybody to feel included that reads my book."

He denies any anthropological or archaeological accuracy and stressed the importance of the human journey in the book.

I've tried to write a book that is moral and meaningful," he said. "I believe kids should read things that are moving. I like to be moved when I read."

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