The Last Neanderthal is the newly released third book from Claire Cameron. Each book from Cameron has been completely different from the last. This latest springs from Cameron's fascination with Neanderthals.
Research has shown that some modern humans have inherited 1- 4% of their DNA from Neanderthals, indicating that 'rather than a more evolved version of Neanderthals, we are close cousins."
The Last Neanderthal is Cameron's imagining of that time - the end of the Neanderthals and the beginning of humans.
Cameron's story is told through the eyes of Girl and her family far in the past. In the present it is Rose's voice. She is the archaeologist who has just uncovered the skeletons of a human and a Neanderthal buried together - facing each other.
Girl's voice was first and I was so drawn to her. Cameron imbues Girl and her family with, well - humanity. They care and respect each other. But the drive is to survive - to find enough to eat, to procreate and to see another season. I became so invested in this family, notably Girl, Runt and Big Mother. The reader knows what happens to the Neanderthals, but it is Cameron's imagining of Girl's thoughts, feeling and actions that brings the book to life. I enjoyed the description of their language, customs and culture. (And found myself reading more about Neanderthals on the web)
In present day, Rose's discovery of the skeletons is the pinnacle of her career and her research. But it coincides with major changes in her personal life and creates upheaval at home and at work. As Rose's life moves forward the similarities with the past become evident. Girl and Rose are not that different, despite the time separating them. "I know that if I had ever been fortunate enough to meet her, I would look into her eyes and know her. And maybe she could know me. We were so much the same."
The book ends on a great note, but I didn't want it to - I wanted more of Girl's story. The Last Neanderthal is another great read from Cameron - one that will make you feel, make you think and make you wonder.......
Read an excerpt of The Last Neanderthal. You can connect with Claire Cameron on her website, follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.