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on 1 January 2014
This was recommended by a friend as we were discussing how we had both been forced to read 'Lord of the Flies' at school. This book is a better read, in many ways. It deals with a clash of cultures, in essence, and how progress has winners and losers. The focus of the book is a male 'neanderthal', though this is never stated, and his loss of the tribe to the new usurpers, whose speech and tool-making abilities give them the edge when it comes to survival in a world of limited resources.
Many modern parallels, if you think about it. Enjoyed reading it.
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on 22 November 2015
I thought this was a really important novel. It works reasonably well as a story, but seeing the world only through Lok's eyes is a disadvantage. But the essential idea, that early humans, or humanoids, night have been a peaceful community, like bonobo apes, if nasty homo sapiens hadn't come along, is brilliant.
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on 28 July 2015
excellently written
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on 25 November 2014
Amazing book! I see something new in it every time I read it.
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on 31 May 2015
As good as Lord of the Flies in my opinion.. Wrote in a interesting way
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on 13 August 2010
I read this for a second time recently, and the second reading didn't quite live up to the first. I first read it as a sixth-form A level text and remember how vivid the imagery was and recall marvelling at how Golding had written a book about a tribe of pre-language people which felt so visceral and real. On the first reading I remember almost being able to smell the primeval mud and marvelled at the way he described a flight of arrows fired from a competing tribe and other 'new' things, without having a ready-made context or dictionary of language with which to describe them.

As I say the second reading didn't quite deliver that same level of resonance, but perhaps my initial reading had grown nostalgically in my imagination in the intervening years and I'm judging it too harshly. I still think it is a brilliantly crafted novel and one of the most inventive contemporary reads around.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 August 2012
WORDS
This was supposed to be William Golding's favourite book. It describes the arrival of modern humans, their effect on the Neanderthals and how the Neanderthals perceived the new neighbours.

Our understanding of the Neanderthals has improved since this book was first published, but that is not really what this book is about. It is about trying to understand our close relatives and comparing how they see the world with how we see it. The Neanderthals thought they understood the world and we think we know better, but how much do we really understand?

This is an exercise in getting inside the mind of not just a set of characters, but characters who have literally a different mind-set. Unfortunately, I was often as baffled as the Neanderthals. Do not read it too fast. If you read it quickly you will have words but no pictures. If you read it slowly, you will have many pictures.

PICTURES
The people moved along the trail from the winter place in the cave by the beach at the sea to the summer place on the terrace by the river below the overhang. There was Mal who could join a picture to a picture. There was Ha who had many pictures but few words. There was Lok who had many words but few pictures. There was the old woman who carried the fire. There was Fa, Nil, the new one, Liku who was little, and Oa.

Ha, Nil and the new one went to the forest for wood for the fire. They separated. When Ha did not return Nil followed the Ha scent to the cliff where the Ha scent stopped but where there was the scent of another, not of the people. Ha was gone. Mal was old and died. The people buried Mal on the terrace by the overhang. Lok searched for Ha. On the island in the river, where the people could not go, Lok saw smoke from a fire. These were new people. Lok saw the new people sitting on logs, digging the river. Where does such a log grow? This was a new thing. The new people had bone-faces and were thin like hunger. The new people killed the old woman. The new people killed Nil. The new people killed the fire by the overhang. They took Liku and the new one.

Lok and Fa watched the new people from the trees. The new people did not put their nose to the ground to smell the scent. They could remove their skin and had caves of twigs. They did not gesture much and did not dance their meaning. Lok and Fa tried to rescue the others, but could not. Fa said: "I will take fire when it falls from the sky or wakes among the heather." Lok said: "Now I am Mal. It is heavy to be Mal." Fa said: "It is heavy to be the woman. There will be fire again and I shall have children." Now Lok and Fa were the people.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 October 2009
I have never been a huge fan of William Golding, to be honest, and I never managed to finish Lord of the Flies.
Being older and wiser I decided to try again, as so much has been written and broadcast about Golding, I thought it was worth another reading.
The inheritors is, from one point of view, a very simple story. It tells of a small Neanderthal family group, who make their way back to their normal Summer hunting and living area after the winter has passed. At first all seems as it should, but then people start to disappear, movements and fires are seen where there should be none, and finally - well I'll leave that for you to enjoy for yourself.
Basically, it tells of the destruction of the Neanderthal people by us, that is to say Homo Sapiens. The language is difficult, but for me that enhances rather than detracts from the experience, as I feel I am actually having to work through the story inside the head of a different thinking human being.
We'll never know, of course, how accurate this is, but it is a very captivating book, and one which has made me thing seriously about having another crack at Lord of the Flies.
One of the most telling sentences in the book is spoken by Lok, a Neanderthal, who looks at the way these new people ravage and consume the earth for their own ends, without a thought to the consequences, and says, simply "they are like a winter".
Brilliant stuff and highly recommended.
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on 31 January 2013
I first read this book aged about 15 and am now (ahem) quite a bit older. I've read a very tattered copy of this book several times over the years and have now bought a version for my kindle. Every time I read 'The Inheritors', I find it difficult to put the book down and integrate with my modern life.

I love the way the the nature of the main characters is revealed to the reader as these characters are also discovering new people. You yearn for Lok and his family group to be more cautious, more savvy, but only Fa can piece together enough 'pictures' in her mind to possibly salvage the most desperate situation.

Despite being written over 55 years ago, 'The Inheritors' is a book bringing pre-history to life in a way that, I understand, is still consistent with modern thinking on neanderthals. The author successfully demonstrates how similar the neanderthals are to modern man. Once again, after reading this book, I wonder how much they might have developed if individuals with the relative genius of Fa had existed. You've got to love a good story that makes you reflect on the big stuff in life!
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on 2 May 2013
It arrived in plenty of time and all was as expected
that's all I have to say on the matter
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