Shaman, by Kim Stanley RobinsonRead about the other entries on the list.
Timeframe: 32,000 years ago.
Another writer best known for his science fiction, Kim Stanley Robinson set this novel among the early modern humans of Europe (in what is today southern France, to be specific, with references to cave art that Werner Herzog fans might be well familiar with). It’s the story of Loon, a young man who survives an early test of manhood, as well as a violent encounter with the “Old Ones” (humans that we would call Neanderthals), both events setting him on a path to becoming the shaman-in-training for his tribe, even as he skirts the rules and conventions by taking on a family in defiance of his master, Thorn. The book doesn’t suffer for having an author whose work is typically about looking ahead; Loon is himself deeply focused on the future, even if the future looks very different from the perspective of ice age-era France.