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'This was a different voice; not the voice of the people. It was the voice of other'.

The Inheritors

Golding considered this his finest novel and it is a beautifully realised tale about the last days of the Neanderthal people and our fear of the ‘other’ and the unfamiliar. The action is revealed through the eyes of the Neanderthals whose peaceful world is threatened by the emergence of Homo sapiens.

The struggle between the simple Neanderthals and the malevolent modern humans ends in helpless despair, although there is perhaps some hope for the continued presence of Neanderthals in our modern world. Featuring similar themes to Lord of the Flies, although with very different content, this is a book about the breakdown of a civilisation and uncompromising savagery.

‘Powerful and provocative … Each time I revisit The Inheritors I find something new’. – Penelope Lively.

Golding discusses the conflict between the Neanderthals and the New People.

Listen to William Golding's interview comments on The Inheritors

View Judy Golding introducing The Inheritors

Timeline

Savernake Forest

The landscape in The Inheritors was inspired by Golding’s visits to Savernake Forest, Wiltshire.

Explore & Search

The little Oa

The little Oa is a tree root carried by Liku in The Inheritors. It is ‘fantastically … twisted and bulged and smoothed away by age […]

News & Articles

Thomas Keneally and The Inheritors

The Australian author Thomas Keneally has named William Golding’s The Inheritors as one of the most ‘underrated books’ in an interview with The Guardian. Keneally won the […]