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3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  1,484 ratings  ·  123 reviews
An exciting novel that will do for pre-historic man what Jurassic Park did for Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 30th 1998 by Random House (first published January 1st 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,270)
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Plot holes, flat characters, cliched twists, poor research, logical flaws, and a horrifyingly unsatisfactory ending that uses Bruce Springsteen to terrorize primitive man. What's not to like?

This is the kind of book that lovers of prehistoric fiction, or lovers of techno-thriller (read: Crichton and imitators) should love. Being both, I must report painfully otherwise. Why? Just plain sloppiness. Understand that I don't have a problem with dumb: give me a simple plot and a juicy payoff and I can...more
4.5 Stars

Many of you know that I am an avid history buff with an affinity for the prehistoric so when I accidentally stumbled upon a link to this book I was so excited to read it I put it on hold at the library right away.

I thought the story was unique and pretty damn near perfect. It's about Matt, Susan and their mentor Kellicut who discover two lost tribes of neanderthals living in a remote part of Asia.

What I really liked about the book was all the adventure that was packed into the 368 pa...more
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Darnton uses his first novel to open up a long disputed issue; the decline of the Neanderthal. While I read the book, I became convinced that Darnton is an archeologist, wanting to implant his own ideas to the reader in a fiction-based setting. I was shocked to see that his CV includes a great deal of media experience, but nothing scholastic related to the subject. Darnton not only takes the reader to the centre of the debate, but also posits numerous theories and backs them up in such a way tha...more
Tamara Rose Blodgett
People from all different walks of life are disappearing in the wildly remote, Pamir Mountains. When a shady American government agency hears local lore that strange, humanoid creatures have been taking people for hundreds of years, they launch an endeavor shrouded in deceit and exploitation.

Commandeering [Harvard] Professor Kellicut ( for the government's nefarious purposes) and given superficial revelations only, Kellicut begins an expedition which he soon discovers that keeping any findings s...more
C.D. Leavitt
This is quite possibly one of the worst books I've ever read. It was so bad that just looking at the cover now made me laugh as I remembered how truly dreadful it was.

Fantastic elements like a hidden, lost world in Asia where psychic Neanderthals continue to live in isolation are one thing. The atrocious writing, utter disregard of even the most cursory of research on what sort of technology Neanderthals had, and the pulpy obsession with sex made it seem like a book from another time. The fact t...more
Patrick Gibson
Feb 08, 2009 Patrick Gibson rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: preposterous action adventure lovers
Neanderthals are out there? Still alive? Hell, I could have told you that! I’ve worked with a few. They are all in middle management! And I think someone actually made a TV movie out of this book. It must have been as bad. The idea is good and the book starts out like any typical anthropological thriller. The characters are made from discarded plastic and once past the mumble-science the story has no where to go except to start killing off either the subjects or protagonists (not a bad idea for...more
Dan Parrott
I ended this book conflicted. On the one hand, I think the "science" part of the book overtook the "fiction" part early on. This made for a story driven by the science, as opposed to a good story. Maybe it's because it just didn't rise to the level of some of the other stand-outs in this genre (think Descent by Jeff Long, anything by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, or Tom Knox's novels), but again those are some pretty heady company. The science didn't get crazy, and the action didn't get stu...more
This was a thriller in the vein of James Rollins, although not quite as well-written (and I totally missed those author notes at the end of the book that Rollins always does, in which he separates fact from fiction for the readers). The premise was really cool: much of the remote regions of the world remain relatively unexplored, and we are continually discovering new species. Would it then be possible that, high in the mountains of Tajikstan (or elsewhere), small bands of Neanderthals could hav...more
Book #31 for 2013

Want to read something that makes Deception Point look like great literature? This is it. It's like the author vaguely remembered something from the Anthropology 101 he took 20-some-odd years ago, thought it might make a neat premise for a story, and then, without doing any further research, whipped out this peurile tale of horny archaeologists and modern-day cavemen. Seriously, I've seen better plotting, character development, and attention to detail in Geico commercials.
Jennifer Kim
Although this book came out more than a decade ago, it's still a fascinating read. Starting from how a group could potentially survive (Yeti, anyone?) to how they would communicate and what kind of social dynamics they would have. Also, the question of what we should do if we encountered a creature like that. Do nothing, right? But what if lives were on the line? This is a book I would read over and over every several years. It's really close to 5 stars, but it just won't measure up to Les Miser...more
When researchers are 'sent for' by a former colleague who is currently looking for existing neanderthals, there's a thrill of discovery that keeps the pages turning. Almost too much like Jurassic Park at times- but still quite a good story. The beginning (the mystery, the wonderment, unanswered questions...) is much better than the end (post-discovery)- but it's a quick read and it's decent. A thought-provoking look into the past...and maybe the future.
Part 1 was interesting. Susan and Matt discover a tribe of Neanderthals in the mountains of Turkmenistan! They aren't extinct after all!! And then this book starts to drag ass like no other book I have ever read. They're captured! Then they escape! Then...they are captured! And then...they escape! And on and on and on. Christ! I definitely do not recommend this book unless your some kind of Anthropology freak (Paige??).
Ivan Stoikov - Allan Bard
Every anthropologist must read this book! Great and scary adventure about our ancient (or actually about the remains of them) cousins - neanderthals. Adventure about the moral in science too, about a "secret" which reveals the real story of the extinction of these brothers of ours... and about the awful side of our nature, the ability to lie and cheat...
I found the book fast paced, well narrated and well edited. It has discussions on politics and religion. Very well handled as they are two different cultures far removed. Very well done. I'm looking forward to reading the other two.

Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert...more
Jul 09, 2014 Donna rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who liked Jurassic Park and want an easy read
I picked this one up on a whim at the library while looking for something else. The cover compared it to Michael Crichton. The plot was not a new one: 2 scientists pulled from their current work by a mysterious benefactor, they were ex-lovers, company with bad intentions, etc. Years ago I read a book, The Relic, that read like a screenplay, and soon after a movie was released. This gave me the same feeling. I might be seeing this on ScyFy in the near future. There were some moments in the book t...more
I liked the idea behind the story; the actual story, not so much. The boik kept bogging itself down. I finally decided that if I want to read about Neanderthals I'll go back to Clan of the Cave Bear.
This book is fabulous! Action packed and mysterious. I've listened to it on CD also, and George Guidall is a master at narrating. Ill listen to anything he narrates,
Darnton's best-selling adventure about scientists who discover a lost race of Neanderthals in Afghanistan is an obvious choice for libraries, so let us only observe that Jay O. Saunders does a good job of narration and move on to other thoughts. The back of the box reads, "Far away, in the mountains of Northern Asia, a guerrilla fighter vanishes, a schoolgirl is murdered, and an eminent Harvard paleontologist disappears." The listener hears about only the last of these three items, but it doesn'...more
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I bought this book in 1996. It was an impulse buy. I was really into novels with a science component. Mostly this consisted of Michael Crichton novels. I spotted this book on the new release shelf and thought it might be good. I took it home and put it on the shelf but never got around to reading it. It came with me through half a dozen moves waiting to be read. I finally decided to read it so I could get rid of it. Not that I knew if it was good or bad but somewhere along the way I just lost in...more
Back in high school, I remember picking this book up and reading it...and then sharing it with a friend. That friend read it and loved it just as much as I did. This may be one of the best books I have ever least back then, lol.

After lending it to my friend, he asked if he could lend it to someone else. They read it. They loved it. So, we were 3 for 3. It was then that we decided to pass this book along from one person to the next to see how far it would travel.

I haven't seen it since...more
When I first saw this in the beginning of my sophomore year in highschool, I was immediately intrigued by the skull and the front and the word Neanderthal on the cover. I had know that a Neanderthal was an early human with super human strength and was about as smart as a human.

I think that this book was made because of the theory that the legendary Bigfoot and Sasquatch are actually Neanderthals who've survived. It is quite incredible that the author had made a backstory and an explanation how...more
Hard to classifiy this book; more science ficion than anything else, but looking at Anthropology and origins of man, not set in the future.
I was an Anthropology minor in college and so liked reading something that took me back to those days.
A B-rate Michael Crichton wannabe thriller. I'm used to Crichton's books being filled with information, but he usually has a way of integrating that information with the action so it doesn't seem boring. John Darnton doesn't have them same skill. The information on the subject, which is critical to the story, is presented as someone asking simple questions, or in another simple, boring manner, and if I wasn't interested in the sheer learning aspect, I'd have been bored.

Events unfold either too f...more
Jerome Kuseh
John Darnton should've written a purely non-fiction book arguing in favour of the existence of Neanderthals. This book makes for terrible reading once they discovered the Neanderthals.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I know too much to enjoy the stereotype Neanderthal in fiction.
Dec 17, 2008 Marina rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody I know
It is probably one of the most disappointing books I've ever read. I wanted to like it after reading John Darnton resume...but I guess being a good journalist doesn't mean being able to write good fiction. There is no interesting plot or characters, one of the main characters (scientist) turned out to be completely wrong about main topic of his whole scientific life and still he didn't even seemed upset about it...Some bloody and gruesome scenes repeated over and over...for some unknown reason.....more
Jim Short
Too many convenient coincidences used in the plot.
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John Darnton has worked for The New York Times for forty years as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent. He is the recipient of two George Polk Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. He is also the author of five novels, including The Darwin Conspiracy and the best seller Neanderthal. He lives in New York.
More about John Darnton...
The Darwin Conspiracy The Experiment Black and White and Dead All Over Mind Catcher Almost a Family: A Memoir

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