Monday, May 17, 2010

Faces by Martina Cole *

A science fiction meme posits that Neandertals were not brutish cave people, but gentler folk driven to extinction by aggressive, violent homo sapiens sapiens. Now that scientists have discovered Neandertal DNA in modern humans, we can wonder the meaning and implications of this ancient interbreeding.

I imagine Faces by Martina Cole shows us those unfortunate (for the rest of us) humans who did not benefit from the infusion of Neandertal compassion and empathy. The novel is peopled exclusively by brutish, violent, self-obsessed, rationalizing characters. If you enjoy violent murders, unfeeling brutality, and simplistic excuses for mayhem, this is your book.

I think of this story as a chronicle of the race that drove the gentle Neandertals to extinction without the benefit of interbreeding - a cautionary tale from the past.

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