Daughter of Kura

A Novel

Daughter of Kura

IN THE WILDS of southeastern Africa more than half a million years ago sits the village of Kura, a matriarchal society of Homo erectus. Snap—a young, passionate woman—is destined to lead her people, and this year she must select a mate for the first time. As the Bonding ceremony approaches, Snap’s future remains unknown. Will she choose someone different each year, or will she find one mate she wants to pick over and over again, like her mother, Whistle, the next leader of Kura? But when Whistle’s mate doesn’t return, Whistle chooses a stranger with ideas more dangerous than the lions that kill with a single slash.

Snap challenges the stranger’s growing power one too many times and is brutally cast out to survive on her own or perish. Abandoned and alone, she risks her life—and the future of her people—to stand up against an unthinkable evil. Unknown to her, the same danger threatens other villages as well. Soon, Snap and a new band of outcasts will face a force more terrifying—and deadly—than any of prehistoric Africa’s natural threats.

Both imaginative and believable, Daughter of Kura brings to life an ancient and untamed world. Austin has created an unforgettable heroine who comes of age in a thrilling tale of courage, loyalty, and passion.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439112700 | 
  • July 2010
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Reading Group Guide

Daughter of Kura
Debra Austin

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1.      What are the traditional roles of women in this imagined culture? What is expected of them as daughters, sisters, mates, and mothers? What is expected of the men? How do you feel about these expectations? How are the cultural roles of the sexes in Snap’s world affected by their ignorance of the role of males in reproduction? Compare Bapoto’s plans for changing the traditional role of men in this imagined culture with the actual changes that have occurred in modern women’s roles in the last forty years.

2.      On page 5, Snap observes that the stories her people tell are always about change, yet their purpose is the opposite: to preserve tradition, pass on memories, and explain how things happen. Is Snap a traditionalist or a revolutionary? Does she change in the course of the novel? Explain how this apparent contradiction works for the people of Kura. Share a few examples of such stories and traditions from your own life.
3.      While life for the characters of Daughter of Kura is one of extreme danger and hardship, there is joy in their lives as well. Where do Chirp, Whistle, and Snap find happiness? Compare and contrast these sources of joy with the ways in which modern women of different cultures find happiness.

4.   &nbs see more

About the Author

Debra Austin
Photo Credit: Jessica Verma

Debra Austin

Debra Austin is a former obstetrician who closed her practice to pursue writing full time. In addition to obtaining a degree in physics, she has cultivated a rich, extensive self-taught education in paleo-anthropology. She lives in California with her family.