Neanderthals (who disappeared from the world 40,000 years ago) get a new lease on life in this impressive, engrossing debut novel. While visiting his Indian homeland, Yute Nahadeh (who forsook Alaska to become a world-class paleoanthropologist) unearths from an ice cave a perfectly preserved young woman of great antiquity. Yute smuggles his find back to a Seattle lab and discovers that she was pregnant at her death. Eager to study what he's convinced will be a Neanderthal offspring, the young scientist pays a runaway Indian girl to take the embryo to term. After the birth of a healthy baby girl, however, the surrogate mother refuses to let Yute have her. In consequence, the child grows up as Ember Ozette in a remote fishing village on the Washington State coast. Endowed with a glowing golden skin, speech impediments, a strapping physique, and far greater strength than contemporaries of either sex, Ember appreciates early on that she's very different from other kids. In the meantime, Yute, who has been observing his protâ€šgâ€š from afar, makes contact with Ember and, in desperation, kidnaps her. Unwilling to serve as a living lab specimen, Ember escapes his clutches and heads north to her ancestral home in Alaska. Once there, she learns that a gold-mining enterprise is going to destroy a subterranean burial ground housing her people. Desperate to preserve her heritage, Ember takes on the villainous exploiters. In the ensuing donnybrook, Yute redeems himself by saving Ember's life (at the cost of his own) and a cavern full of so-called Heart-Talkers who can be cloned. At the close, Ember, who has given birth to a son, settles into a remote Alaskan valley that promises to prove a happy hunting ground for the prehistoric humans whose revival she presages. An effective blend of scientific fact and shamanistic fancy, one that weaves a genuinely magic spell.