Doctors Julian Reed and Barbara Sullivan are star academics who fall in love with each other and come up with the idea of cloning a Neanderthal from ancient DNA. Despite the express directive of University administrators not to do this, they follow through on the audacious idea. The result is William: the first Neanderthal to walk the earth for some 35,000 years. William tries his best to fit into the world, but his distinctive physical features and his unique way of thinking set him apart and provoke fear in those he encounters. William's story is powerful and unique, but his struggle to find love and assert his own identity in a hostile world is universal and timeless.