The Last Neanderthal

Claire Cameron (The Bear) explores the lives of a modern-day archeologist and the skeleton she discovers in the compelling novel The Last Neanderthal.

Rose Gale is an ambitious archeologist obsessed with her latest find in a cave in France: the remains of a female Neanderthal buried intimately with a male Homo sapiens. The artifacts Rose uncovers, as well as the burial of the two species together, cast doubt on long-held theories about Neanderthals and modern humans. In a race against time, she works to unearth more evidence despite her advancing pregnancy.

About 45,000 years earlier, a Neanderthal family is living in that same region of France. Big Mother, the matriarch, is becoming frail as her oldest remaining daughter, Girl, comes of age. Cameron puts the reader in the mind of Girl to experience the world as she does: the comfort of family, the excitement of the summer fish run and the serious dangers inherent in her daily life.

The Last Neanderthal is emotionally engaging and, as it alternates millennia, echoes of the past arise in Rose's modern life. She and Girl are both pregnant and experiencing great changes in their lives. As Rose continues to excavate the skeleton, readers learn more about Girl's life in this immersive story that unites the two women across time. Cameron infuses the interrelated stories with warmth, enhanced by vivid details about Neanderthal experiences. --Suzan L. Jackson, freelance writer and author of Book by Book blog

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