In the award-winning Promised Valley series of four novels by Ron Fritsch, published from 2010 to 2013, prehistoric farmers inhabit a fertile river valley they believe their gods promised them in return for their good behavior and obedience. Their enemies, hunters roaming the mostly barren hills beyond the mountains enclosing the valley, believe their gods promised it to them. Those conflicting beliefs have led to periodic wars—notable, like those of modern times, for their brutality.
On the other hand, both the farmers and the hunters are pleased that persons who enjoy intimacy with others of the same gender live among them. Since they don’t have children of their own, they can contribute their time and efforts to the betterment of their people in other ways. They care for orphans and abandoned children. They remember and retell the stories handed down to them by their ancestors. They hear disputes in place of the king. They lead armies into battle.
The individuals who live, struggle, revel, die, and survive in the Promised Valley novels confront fundamental questions. How factual are those ancestral stories? Why do the gods in those stories, who appear to be the same deities for both peoples, insist upon warfare between them? Or is it true, as some suspect, those gods only existed in the imagination of the ancestors who first told the stories?
Could civilization and history, with their countless heaven-sanctioned wars and genocides, have begun differently?
The four novels in the series are Promised Valley Rebellion, Promised Valley War, Promised Valley Conspiracy and Promised Valley Peace.
Audiobook and ebook editions of the novels are for sale on Google Play Books for $2.99 each. The novels are available in both ebook ($2.99) and paperback ($10.99) editions at Amazon. The ebook editions are also available for $2.99 at many other online bookstores.