Monday, June 22, 2009


Neanderthal by John Darnton
St. Martin's Press, 1997
mass market paperback, 397 pages
ISBN-13: 9780312963002

Not since Jurassic Park has a novel so enthralled readers everywhere. Now, enter the world of Neanderthal...
The expedition of the century...uncovers the find of the millennium...Neanderthal.
In the remote mountains of central Asia, an eminent Harvard archeologist discovers something extraordinary. He sends a cryptic message to two colleagues. But then, he disappears.
Matt Mattison and Susan Arnot-- once lovers, now academic rivals-- are going where few humans have ever walked, looking for a relic band of creatures that have existed for over 40,000 years, that possess powers man can only imagine, and that are about to change the face of civilization forever.
My thoughts:

Neanderthals are still alive and living in the mountains of Tadjikistan. Matt Morrison and Susan Arnot set forth on an expedition to find their mentor who has disappeared on a previous expedition. The scientific information on Neanderthals is dated, but it doesn't have to prevent you from enjoying the book because it's fiction... unless you are an anthropologist or archeologist. Then you might have trouble with the science. Please be warned that this is not comparable to Jurassic Park. It's not that good. What it is, however, is a good vacation read, fast paced and entertaining. You can skim over the clumsy sex scenes that add nothing to the plot. Actually, you can quickly skim over several parts, including evolution discussions, and just follow the action. Recommended


Akbar Atilla rested his AK-47 against a tree trunk and moved away from the campfire in search of a place to relieve himself. opening

Suddenly, at thirty-eight, Matt had become conscious of time. He chided himself for hypocrisy in romance; all the games, the stabs at mystery, the flirtatious routines he had perfected over the years like a politician's hollow patter now struck him as vapid. Only once had he been able to strip away all that pretense, years ago. And that he had messed up. pg. 8

Susan Arnot's class on prehistoric man was one of the most popular at the University of Wisconsin, even though she was known as a tough grader. There was always an extra thrill in taking a course from someone who was well known in the field, especially someone controversial, whose theories had shaken up the establishment. And of course she was something of a campus sex symbol. pg. 9

Dr. Kellicut has been abroad in Tajikistan on an exciting project that we are sponsoring. The project is of the utmost importance to the scientific community and to the field of paleontology and prehistoric research in particular. He has not been heard from in several months, aside form a message that he sent to you through us and which we are holding for you. The message is in the nature of a summons, which we are convinced you will want to respond to favorably once you know the facts. I am afraid I must add that we have grounds to believe that Dr. Kellicut's life is in danger. pg. 18

Matt still had not recovered from the shock of seeing the skull. He still couldn't bring himself to believe it was twenty-five years old; that was something simply too incredible....that a Neanderthal could survive into the twentieth century... pg. 42

I also read about 10 pages of Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley and gave up.

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