This sprawling novel follows the fortunes and losses of five families from the Stone Age through the present time. Each of the families can be identified through genetic characteristics handed down through the ages, not simply physical characteristics, but attitudes and morals, too. There is plenty of action to keep readers motivated to finish the book. Rutherford has a style and energy all his own that should appeal to young readers of historical fiction. This book will be a hit with young adults who have the time and attention for longer works. Highly recommended.