This came out probably in the mid-90's although I may be wrong. Here's the plot summary, albeit extremely hazy:

  • Set on a planet colonized by modern humans
  • Planet's continents are seeded with genetic clones/recreations from Earth's past and each continent contains only flora and fauna from a specific epoch
  • Ocean going carnivorous dinosaurs (Plesiosaurs?) prevent species from crossing oceans
  • Story is set on one continent that is home to modern humans, Neanderthals, and other archaic humans and other hominids.
  • Protagonist is a Neanderthal who's in love with a promiscuous human girl who works at a trading center or shop or bar
  • Goes on a quest to stop an invasion by a horde of archaic humans
  • Aided by two brothers who are not modern humans or Neanderthals but ride mammoths
  • He succeeds

I know. Plot is a little bizarre but it's a real book. Thanks!

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    Holy crap , I came here to find the title of the same book and all I remembered was the living skin around one of the characters. Thanks! – NickNo Apr 14 '14 at 6:45

The Serpent Catch series has two books called Serpent Catch and Path of the Hero by Dave Wolverton.

Long ago Earth's paleobiologists established the planet Anee as a vast storehouse of extinct species, each continent home to life forms of a different era. For a thousand years the starfarers' great sea serpents formed a wall of teeth and flesh that protected Smilodon Bay from the ravaging dinosaurs that swam across the ocean from Hotland. Now the serpents are gone and Anee is being ravaged by tyranny, war and slavery.

Tull, son to a human father and a Neanderthal mother, feels doomed to toil his life away as a common field hand, but his mission becomes clear when he takes action to save his homeland. Tull must seek a distant river in the slave nation of Craal, where young serpents can be found. Legend has it that Adjonai, the Neanderthal god of terror, is king of Craal. Yet only by facing this dark enemy can Tull hope to bring home his serpent catch alive.

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  • Wow - this is the right answer. Can't believe someone else read it. Thanks so much! – Chris Adorna Nov 20 '13 at 5:00
  • Correct! Spend 6 years trying to remember the title off and on. Elite book. – NickNo Apr 14 '14 at 6:46

Almost sounds like Larry Niven's Ringworld but not quite.

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    How about providing some type of explanation on why you think it could be Ringworld. Not everyone has read it you know. – Stan Nov 8 '13 at 1:55

A World Named Cleopatra comes to mind: Science Fiction Anthology created by Poul Anderson. Four short stories describe life on Cleopatra, an exotic world being colonized by humans. But, Cleopatra is already populated... with creatures in the equivalent of the Earth's Mesozoic era, the age of Dinosaurs! Includes an introduction by Poul Anderson and: 1. The Serpent in Eden by Poul Anderson; 2. Faber-Master by Michael Orgill; 3. Among the Mountains by Jack Dann; and 4. Wayside World by George Zebrowski.

I do not remember enough about it to help you know the storyline though.

Another possibility is a short story called "Neanderthal Planet" by Brian Aldiss:


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