Is it really so far-fetched that ancient humans, just beginning their development as a social species, just starting to form lasting groups for living, would need to develop mechanisms for maintaining social order?
That's one of the postulates of the early human culture that I've created for the purposes of this novel, anyway. I've touched on this in passing before-the existence of hierarchies, the "ins" and the "outs" that play such a crucial role in societal relationships still today. Humans being humans, whether in prehistory or the present day, they seem to me likely to adopt similar structures to govern how they live together. In that sense I think it makes little difference whether you live then or now, you'll find yourself in basically familiar social territory. The specifics will vary pretty drastically, of course, but the underpinnings will be constant. Many individuals regard themselves as loners, but the reality is as poet John Donne saw it, that "no man is an island," and the interplay of the many people in ongoing contact with one another requires some form of structured regulatory constraint. So I think Hugo's tale is a realistic one.