Waking The Ancients, by Gail Wanman Holstein, A Novel of the Mogollon Rim
Thundercloud Books presents Waking The Ancients
By Gail Wanman Holstein

Waking The Ancients, by Gail Wanman Holstein
A Thriller for Intelligent Adventurers

Discussion questions for Waking the Ancients:

Waking the Ancients: A Novel of the Mogollon Rim follows a small band of modern-day seekers who turn their backs on civilization to hide out in a cliff dwelling in the Arizona wilderness. From their experiences arise questions about the practicality and moral implications of such an outrageous experiment.

1. Many people yearn to live a simpler, less materialistic life. Do you think anyone would really go so far as to sever all relationships and disappear into the woods?

2. Today’s people, particularly in the United States, have lived their lives with relative comfort and convenience. Few have ever had to hunt for food or build permanent shelters. Do you think modern people are capable of living as people did a thousand years ago?

3. Beyond survival skills, all members of the group would have to share a vision of the life they are trying to create. What other personal qualities would be needed? How important is a strong leader to the group’s vision?

4. At the beginning, Howlin’ Jim is the undisputed leader. Where does his power come from? How does Branson contribute to elevating Jim’s status? What is BJ’s role? Geoffrey’s?

5. Even Leah, who is emphatically against the new society, has a part in allowing her family to be sucked into this bizarre setup. Why do you think she initially turns over her power to Howlin’ Jim? What events in Leah’s life caused her to let Jim take control of her family?

6. How does the group dynamic change, once Leah begins taking charge and Branson becomes more confident of his abilities? How does Jim react when they challenge his authority?

6. Author Gail Wanman Holstein, an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sees metaphors and parallels in her plot: isolation from outside influences, required compliance with a leader’s directives, the leader holding all the knowledge cards, escalating threats and punishments for disobedience, loved ones being held “hostage,” and the heroic effort required to break free. Do you see other similarities?

7. What parallels do you see with the way cults get started? Are cults bad? Good? What functions do cults have in society?

8. Twelve-year-old Geoffrey and eight-year-old Alissa go along with their parents. Do you see them as co-conspirators or as victims?

9. Is Geoffrey old enough to do the right thing, even when his parents are behaving badly? How much responsibility can we expect from a twelve year old?

10. Through Branson has disowned his father, Geoffrey Ellis Senior dedicates his life to saving Branson and his family. Is this a realistic portrayal of parental love?

11. How do you see Leah’s future? What about BJ and the children? How will their ordeal affect their lives?

Remember: Thundercloud Books loves book clubs and offers a 20% discount and reduced shipping costs for orders of five or more books.

Gail Holstein would enjoy hearing from you. Email her at info@ThundercloudBooks.com.

Thundercloud Books
P.O. Box 97
Aspen, CO 81612
(970) 925-1588 phone, (970) 920-9361 fax
Email: info@thundercloudbooks.com
Waking The Ancients, by Gail Wanman Holstein