Book with a cave painting and the words 'eyes of the leopard ' written on the cover

Folk U – Escape to the (far) past through Brian Hayden’s new book ‘Eyes of the Leopard’

Fantasy met archeology on this Folk U as Professor Dr. Brian Hayden joined host Manda Aufochs Gillespie for the virtual book launch of his newest book Friday, Nov 26 on CKTZ 89.5 FM.

Dr. Hayden best known for his work as an archeologist: he taught at Simon Fraser University for 40 years and is now a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, fellow of the Royal Society of Canada: and, of course, a professor here at the esteemed Folk University. His archeological and ethnoarchaeological research has taken him to Australia, Southeast Asia, France, Guatemala, Mexico, Ontario, British Columbia, and now takes him 20,000 years in the past as he debuts his first adventure novel.

In the Eyes of the Leopard, Hayden tells the story of a boy living in the Old Stone Age of France, 20,000 years ago – the age when caves were painted and people hunted mammoths, wooly rhinoceroses, cave bears, and cave lions. Based on Brian’s lifetime experience working with and studying about hunting and gathering societies, long before there was any farming, the book recreates the many facets of what life, culture, and society was like 20,000 years ago in Southwestern France. The stone technology, the hunts, the feasts, the ritual life, and family life are all vividly portrayed. There are many similarities with contemporary societies in terms of personal conflicts, peer groups, inequalities, thefts, false claims and accusations, bullying, and manipulative ambitious individuals; but there are many differences as well in terms of ritual life, shamans, family life, life with peers, and of course, foods, hunting, and technology. The enduring aspects turn on individual curiosity and abilities to overcome adversity with persistence, goodness of heart, and an innovative mind. Eternal questions also feature in the story: do spirits really exist?

The story brings to life a critical moment in the foundation of modern types of society – a view that is controversial for some. Much inspiration for the story was derived from the traditional cultures of the British Columbia Plateau where Brian has carried out research as an archaeologist and anthropologist for 35 years.

Links of Interest:

Folk U Radio is taking old school viral every Friday at 1 and Mondays at 6:30 @CKTZ89.5FM or livestreamed at Find repeats anytime at

Top photo credits: Cover of Brian Hayden’s novel, ‘The Eyes of the Leopard’