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Deep Past

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  161 ratings  ·  48 reviews
If nature could invent intelligence of our scale in a blink of geologic time, who’s to say it hasn’t been done before…

A routine dig in Kazakhstan takes a radical turn for thirty-two-year-old anthropologist Claire Knowland when a stranger turns up at the site with a bizarre find from a remote section of the desolate Kazakh Steppe. Her initial skepticism of this mysterio
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by RosettaBooks
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Average rating 3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  161 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Very disappointed in this book. I was hoping to win it (Goodreads giveaway) and I did. I was thrilled to get it! But...

I thought it to be a kind of science/thriller against a backdrop of paleontology, and based on some of the ideas Mr. Linden has proposed elsewhere. (That perhaps, in our Earth's long history, there have been other highly-intelligent species, but which have come and gone.) But it reads more like a political/spy thriller with pages which go on endlessly about corrupt officials and
Nicole Buettner
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it
The plot and science were pretty cool but this guy does not know how to write female characters.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, 2019, syfy-hard
I very much like hard syfy speculative fiction. There are lots of good ideas here, like, "Over tens of millions of years, a lot of things can come and go and leave no trace." And I loved this: "-when you push the boundaries of conventional wisdom in any scientific field, you'd better be bulletproof." Or this: "...for all the pointless hurt of life and the knowledge that the brief flirtations with infinity that we grasped for when we were young can never be recaptured." Discussions of brain size ...more
Jennifer Bouchillon
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
2 1/2 stars. Here’s my brief take on this book:

Some of this was so interesting and I enjoyed learning a bit about some subjects I don’t know anything about. I liked the liberties the author took with a few real scientific discoveries.

However, I love dialogue and felt it was really was weak in this book.

Also, didn’t care for the main character whatsoever. She felt like a caricature of a woman, maybe a bad stereotype of what a smart woman is. Here is a lady who was at the top of her class in sch
Mar 17, 2019 added it
I received a copy of this via a Goodreads giveaway. Am DNF'ing this for the time being. Hoping to return to it once my reading pile has cleared out a bit. While the premise seemed promising, it's been a tough book to get into because the narrative is a bit dry. Hoping it'll pick up once I'm able to come back to it. ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
3 stars. I found this to be an interesting read from a speculative science perspective. Author Linden called on his own studies with animal intelligence and its possible adaptation to climate upheavals to craft a novel I'd best describe as a blend of "what if" paleontology with political (both academic and international) themes. I wasn't as crazy about the cast of characters, finding the MC female scientist a bit too much of the "emotional female" trope and several of the minor characters often ...more
Lauren Hopkins
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Half of this book is about geopolitics and half is about comparative evolution.
Me: *oiling up my body* "Well, I've never wanted to fuck a book before but..."
Mal Warwick
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Most hard science fiction is about space travel, first contact, robotics, the multiverse, or some other topic that's familiar to fans schooled in science. But here's one that's about paleontology, and what a revelation it is! Eugene Linden, who previously wrote more than a dozen nonfiction books about science, technology, and the environment, turns his attention to fiction in Deep Past. This tensely plotted and thoroughly enjoyable novel poses questions most scientists are loath to ask. For inst ...more
Cobwebby Reading Reindeer Remember Ukraine 🇺🇦
When, early in the first few pages, I read that something has been uncovered in a forlorn, isolated, region of the world (specifically, the Kazahk Steppes), immediately I knew I was embarking on a suspense-laden thrill ride. What was revealed? Why shouldn't it have been discovered? What does this mean for humanity and the world at large?

All these burning questions ignited my intrigue, and this thoughtful (and thought-provoking), literate exposition in a thriller maintained my close attention thr
Kaiju Reviews
DNF after only 38 pages. That may seem unfair, but it isn't. While the plot may turn into something interesting, the writing can't get me there. The characters are bumbling idiots with science degrees tacked to their names. Sure, they can spout off some scientific exposition, but then they turn and have a conversation so dumb even a teenager would scoff at. Let's face it, there are too many books out there to read a bad one. And this is sure to be a bad one. Only beginner readers or paleontology ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I received the past as an advanced readers copy from Goodreads. This book is basically fiction with so much information about elephants that is true. I love this book the mystery, The information about elephants, the love story, and the insight into how Russia and all the adjacent countries are working together. I’m thinking that if you like fiction with a lot of nonfiction mix then you will really enjoy this book. Clare, Sergi, Rob, and Katie make you really like them in and be into the story.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller
Great plot, subject and setting. But I did not like the characters and how they were portrayed. Claire the lead character was very unprofessional and shallow for a scientist. Also the narration not the character dialog seemed to drive most of this book. It felt like more of an archeological paper than a book of fiction. This made reading “Deep Past” a roller coaster read. Fascinating subject and I loved the elephants but I just could not connect with this book. Thank you to Rosetta Books and Goo ...more
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller, adventure
Deep Past is an interesting blend of archaeological adventure story and thriller. Stuck at a dig that 's not necessarily her area of interest (or expertise), Claire jumps at the opportunity to go view some bones that have been found at another location. Realizing that the find may have huge significance, she and her newfound associates must decide how to proceed without attracting the attention of the wrong, corrupt authorities.

There's no deep science here, but there is enough to let the reader
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it was interesting and I appreciate some fantastical notions in my fiction, as long as that's where they stay and not cast about as if they're fact. I feel like that's worth pointing out today, the day after people stormed the capital based on lies and conspiracies.

This is the story about how life may have evolved on our planet before humans, and before hominids were even capable of leaving Africa. Who knows what life might have look
Jan 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Anthropologist Clare Knowland dig is going so well that she admits to her bosses funding the project that it was practically running itself. Oops, as they then ask/demand that she take over another project whose manager is ill. Soon Clare finds herself in Kazakhstan and in the middle of a territorial scrimmage between governments and corrupt politicians. Having someone come to her about a possible earthshaking archeological find does not help.
A fast paced story with interesting characters. Also
Suzi McGhie
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Five million year old elephant bones are found on a mineral mining project in Kazakhstan. The find indicates that ancient elephants were highly intelligent and would change our current understanding of evolution. Much chaos ensues . . . political, scientific, corporate, and personal. There are scientific parts to this book but also much governmental and corporate power conflicts. Oh, and some romance thrown in, too. Overall, I did like the book and characters and would recommend.
Helen Thompson
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: won
I won this book in Goodreads giveaway. I am giving it 3 stars. A mystery thriller that keeps you wondering. The plot seemed a little far fetched but I found the science interesting.Linden does a good job of integrating intriguing speculative science into a page-turning plot. My only problem is with the description of items and events. It was hard to visualize what the array and steppes looked like. he should have done better job of showing the reader rather than telling. Make it vivid.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Claire Knowland an anthropologist doing a dig in Kazakhstan becomes involved in a significant find regarding her previous study of elephants. She and her team become involved with a mining operation and some of the mining key management and scientists. Ultimately their is civil unrest and a takeover by Russia of Kazakhstan. Their is significant findings regarding 5 million year old elephant inhabitants of the area.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Four stars just for the fact that it's about an alternate past where another intelligent species existed millions of years ago that hadn't been discovered yet. The idea that there have been intelligent species on Earth before us is fascinating. The book could have been executed better, and I agree with some others that I would have liked more science and less political intrigue, but still a cool idea. ...more
Tom Mahan
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A surprisingly good read! I almost put this book back, after reading the poor average rating, but the premise of the story had drawn me in. It is the story of a great archeological find in remote Kazakhstan, and all the political, cultural, and institutional hurdles that must be overcome to bring the find to the light of day. It also shows how hard it is to get published in the scientific field. All that, and the book is a very good thriller to boot! Check it out.
May 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The science parts (ie, about elephants and their evolution) were really good, and if the book had focused on that, I might have given 4 or 5 stars. However, this whole unrelated international intrigue (which was not very intriguing) plot was added around the interesting plot. The pace of the story was quite slow through most of the book. The characters were not particularly interesting either. All in all, a disappointing read.
Oct 30, 2021 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Deep Past. As mentioned by another reviewer, I wasn't a fan of the political intrigue but it was a relevant part of the story and it wasn't too involved for me. I always like to read about theoretically intelligent "deep past" beings. This was different in that the intelligent beings were not human ancestors, they were elephant related. That's not a spoiler as it comes up at the beginning of the book. ...more
Exapno Mapcase
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is a Goodreads First Reads review.

This really isn’t a thrill a minute action novel, but it has a lot going for it. You’ve got international intrigue, sabotage, infighting, and to top it all off paleontology. Thanks to a scientific base to the work the characters are doing this all feels certainly real.
Jane Meneely
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to give this 3.5 stars...

Good premise, characters were interesting, little thriller action going on. There was a LOT of technical/scientific information throughout that was pretty interesting but still a bit hard to digest. I’d recommend it, but it’s not a book I would typically pick up.

I received this as an ARC from Goodreads.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What if.... This is the premise upon which the novel revolves. A startling scientific discovery turns a hum-drum archaeological dig into a thought-provoking mystery. This book will definitely make you ponder the place of humans on this planet. I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaway program.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Deep Past" is a captivating look at a plausible "what if" Eugene Linden's background makes him well qualified to write about the effects of climate change on development, and that he was able to craft it as a fascinating piece of fiction makes it all the more accessible. A thought-provoking and fun novel. ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Didn't care for the love story and there were like 2 sentences that kinda struck me as offensive to women, other than that it was fantastic though. The science, the mystery, and the political intrigue were all fascinating and very well done. I didn't want the story to end there. I'm ready to see what happens next with Claire, the rest of the team, and Bart! ...more
Pat Doucett
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm sorry to say I couldn't get past page 50 cause the book just didn't grab my interest. I tried to hang in there but to no avail. I appreciate the publisher, author and Goodreads sending me a free copy but there are too many other wonderful books just waiting for me to read and you wanted my honest opinion. ...more
Ghost of a Rose
3.5 stars, rounded to 4. The science (and the science fiction) is fascinating. But way too much of the book - most of it - isn't about science, but instead is about political, academic, and bureaucratic maneuvering and struggles for power. Things that don't interest me in the least and made it a slog for me to get through the book. ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaway-wins
Very interesting premise. Unfortunately, due to the narrative style of the prose - even with sex, kidnappings, explosions, and gun shots - I found this book a slog to get through. Also, the characters were all a little quirky …. why is everyone blushing all the time? And why oh why would Katie walk into her female boss's room, take off her clothes and start dancing? Just so random. ...more
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I've spent my entire writing career exploring various aspects of one question: Why is it that after hundreds of thousands of years one relatively small subset of our species has reached a point where its fears, appetites, and spending habits control the destiny of every culture, every major ecosystem, and virtually every creature on earth? What happened that enabled us to seize control in a blink ...more

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