The Clan Of The Cave Bear: Earth's Children, Book One by Jean M. AuelThe Clan Of The Cave Bear: Earth's Children, Book One by Jean M. Auel

The Clan Of The Cave Bear: Earth's Children, Book One

byJean M. Auel

Mass Market Paperback | November 1, 1984

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This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves The Clan of the Cave Bear.

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly--she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.
Jean M. Auel is an international phenomenon. Her Earth's Children® series has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide and includes The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters, The Plains of Passage, The Shelters of Stone, and The Land of Painted Caves. Her extensive research has earned her the respect of arc...
Title:The Clan Of The Cave Bear: Earth's Children, Book OneFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:544 pages, 6.85 × 4.19 × 1.46 inPublished:November 1, 1984Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553250426

ISBN - 13:9780553250428

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really great prehistoric fiction! The quasi magic is a little much, but this book is wonderful. Thoroughly researched, and with compelling characters.
Date published: 2017-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love this series this book was suggested to me, and I loved it! I was hooked on it from the very beginning. I then went on to read all the others.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Novel Absolutely fantastic novel. Such a beautiful story.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Slow but good This was a very slow book and I'm normally not a fan of excruciatingly slow narrative, but with my adept skills at skipping long useless paragraphs, I really enjoyed the plot that was there. It was a fascinating concept and I liked the characters and their interactions with Ayla even if it did make me sad often. I went on to read the rest of the series and liked them less as they on but still wanting to know what Ayla would do next often kept me going.
Date published: 2017-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Series! I read the whole series 5 or 6 years ago and loved it. I am now ready to start reading them all again. Loved it!
Date published: 2017-06-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hard to get into I found this book a bit long winded and hard to get into....while the concept was interesting I thought that the book was much longer than it needed to be
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok This is a good series, but it is a bit winded. A good read if you're looking to enter a world far before our own.
Date published: 2017-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Reccommend! The Earth's Children series is fantastic! It's easy to get caught up in the epic saga that is Ayla's journey to find her people.
Date published: 2017-03-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Really Good Read it for the first time in high school. It was really good to read a book with a female lead
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing book I have really liked this book and probably one of the better books that I have read.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book ever This was probably one of the most resonant books I have ever read. It doesn't matter that it took place in prehistoric times, I related to the characters 100%. I understood the depth of emotions and reasoning that each character went through in each situation. Even characters that were impossible to like (Broud) had a motive that compelled them and you could understand(if not agree with) their actions. I have read and re-read this book so many times the cover fell off. Each time I read it I find a new aspect that I enjoy, from the unusual family dynamics, to the creation of tools and the love of healing or medicinal lore.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Didn't grab me Tried a few times to get into the book, had to give up though
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Didn't grab me Difficult for me to get into and after a few tries, had to give up
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome book Very interesting and enjoyable. Brings the reader into a whole new world of adventure.
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Clan of the Cave Bear I found this book to be okay.. it was a quick read for me and interesting reading about cave people and their lives, however I found a lot of it boring and highly unlikely. Ayla trains the first horse ever to ride in a matter of months? Yeah, okay. I do have all the other books in the series, which I'm sure I'll read in due course but that being said I would not put this in my top 5 series.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! I was drawn into the story immediately and couldn't put it down. I am gifting this to 3 different people this Christmas to hopefully get them hooked too! Great adventure/survival story.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love love love I am Immesnely in love with this book. I don't usually read these types of books so I'm a little surprised how much I actually enjoyed it. I read it in less than a month and read the second one in that timeframe as well. I just started the third in the series. The book is highly detailed and the plot kept my interest till the end. Very well written books. So good that the dork in me bought all these books, because one, I wanted them displayed on my bookcase and two, so I can read over and over again. That and I have to be honest, I hate library books and only resort to them when it's absolutely necessary.
Date published: 2016-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The clan of the cave bear This is the third time i have read this book and i love it just as much as the first time. Well witten, detailed-without going overboard,and mesmerising. A classic that needs to be in everyones collection.
Date published: 2015-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My review Excellent read. Highly detailed. Great plot. Couldn't put it down. Ayla is a force to be reckoned with.
Date published: 2015-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clan of the Cave Bear I loved this book! Ayla, a young girl separated from her parents by a tragedy. She grows up in a clan of people who are very different than she and to survive she must adapt. This is her story.
Date published: 2015-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent and informative read. This is my third read of this book and enjoy it more each time I read it. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Date published: 2015-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Clan of the Cave Bear The Earth's Children colection is my favorite
Date published: 2014-08-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Clan of the Cave Bear Excellent, near classic pre-historical novel. Enduring, endearing characters move through majestic landscapes, physical and emotional.
Date published: 2014-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Super reading , on to the next book in the series
Date published: 2014-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clan of the Cave Bear I read this series 30 years ago. It truly stands the test of time. Well written excellent characters and great plot that pulls you in from the first page. Warning once you start this journey you will want to take it all the way to the end, of all 6 books. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the ride:-)
Date published: 2014-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clan of the Cave Bear I was immensely impressed with Jean Auels research skills for this book. She goes into such detail about herbs, plant life, animals and customs for the time period of which she writes. Absolutely thought provoking! I love the characters and the way they are developed in this book. It inspired me to read all books in this Earth Children's series. I had heard much surrounding this book before I finally got around to reading it and then I couldn't put it down. If you are interested in history, human development, life in the wild and the mysteries around where we came from as a species, you will love this book.
Date published: 2014-01-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Clan of the Cave Bear Stark imagery, palpable atmospheres and purposeful theories on the remarkable (to the modern human) lives of prehistoric peoples; the research conducted to create this book is impressive and adds to a colourful journey of a girl who leads the audience through primeval Europe. Sad, fascinating and full of interesting nuggets for those who like fantasy, adventure and history in equal doses it's a worthy read. A few lagging chapters on everyday activities that may turn off shorter attention spans, and maybe a much-too-extraordinary scenario or two, it's a a smooth read that garners respect for the author.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Clan of the Cave Bear This is a story of prehistoric times, and in particular of one person, a woman Ayla who becomes seperated from her people when she is a young child and adopted by a clan, in particular, the clan of the cave bear. There is quite a lot of detail in the story, about how people survived in those times and their customs. All the charachters are well developed, and it is an enjoyable read. I would recommend this book.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Clan of the Cave Bear I have read this book, along with the other books in this series many timès now! Each book is as amazing as all of the others. Jean M. Auel is a wonderful writer and I hope she comes out with another book or two to answer all of the unanswered questions in this series!
Date published: 2013-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Journey well undertaken. Auel writes comprehensively and with authority about a vital transitory Age in the telling of humanity's tale. Her attention to detail in developing characters and characteristics of two distinct peoples is remarkable. There are few novelists who build worlds as well as she does, and the depth in which she explores the contrasts between Ayla and the Clan is very well done. If someone were to want to understand the origins of civilization and how permanent societies evolved out of hunter-gatherer tribes or collections of tribes while gaining a deeper understanding of hunter-gatherer societies, reading this series will go a long way towards addressing the questions the era poses.
Date published: 2011-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very enjoyable read I saw the movie so many years ago, and finally read this first novel in Jean Auel's series. I enjoyed it very much. The only criticism would be that Auel tends to stop in the middle of scenes to give a science or history lesson, and while it is interesting she doesn't quite blend it into the story very well and this inhibits the flow of the book a bit. Otherwise great book!
Date published: 2011-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This Is My Favourite Book Earth's Children Series Book #1. Heard really great things about this book and had to read it. I have not been able to find any book by any authour who can even compare. Once you start reading these you'll be hooked. This series is the best books you will EVER read!!
Date published: 2009-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Death by description Really loved it ... but didn't feel guilty about skipping a paragraph here and there. She certainly did her research ... but i think she might be flaunting it a bit.
Date published: 2009-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Masterpiece of Historical Fiction! This novel is wonderfully intense. It will bring you back tens of thousands of years and force you to questions your culture, customs and morals. The Neanderthals are foreign, often alien to us in their nature but they often surprise us by hitting close to home. The writing is superb and the relationships established in this and in subsequent novels will remain with you for years to come. Moreover, it contains (perhaps) the most intensely powerful/emotional episode that I've ever experienced in literature. So be careful, you won't return from this journey as the same person that once glanced over the first page. This novel single-handedly launched my newfound obsession into the realm of historical fiction. Enjoy fellow readers!
Date published: 2009-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ayla the stone-age girl the clan of the Cave Bear is a magnificent story, from the earth's children series. It is written by jean M. Auel. The story begins when a five year old girl named Ayla loses her family and is adopted by Neanderthals. Being with them, Ayla discovers she is different and the story begins. Ayla's glorious adventures take us back to the stone-age time. This story tells how humans react to differences in others. It is one of the most popular sagas in our time. It is a story that goes without a breath taking moment and will leave you breathless. STEFAN
Date published: 2008-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still loving it... Even after reading this book countless times, I still love it. A fan of historical fiction? This is a MUST read. Meet Ayla, who is 'adopted' by "The Clan" - she doesn't fit in with her looks,the fact that she can speak, and for many other reasons. But this book tells an amazing story of how she adapts to a new style of life after losing her family, and follows her life as she grows up. This is the first of (so far) five novels, but I honestly think this is the best. It is not necessary to read on (I was unaware there were others for some time), but I highly recommend it. Ayla's story is far from over at the end of this book. Be sure to read them in order!
Date published: 2008-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Book This is an amazing book. The writing is wonderful, the characters seem so real you feel you know them and you get a real feel for the place and time. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2007-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One Of The Best Seen In Years! Clan Of The Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel is one of the most touching stories i have read in a long time. Orphaned as a young girl, Ayla is adopted by a clan of Neanderthols and has to learn how to be a 'good clan woman' full of trials and tests that she must go through to find herself, Auel weaves a masterful story that brings you to know and care for Ayla like a friend, sister, daughter and the amazing person that she is. This is a must read! Bravo!
Date published: 2006-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Historical Fiction In Clan of the Cave Bear, we meet Ayla, a lost child after her family was killed in an earthquake. She is found by Iza, a Neanderthal, who is a medicine woman and wishes to rescue her. Ayla grows up with the "Clan", and learns to become a proper Clan woman. Meeting challenges along the way, Ayla must strive to accept what is expected of her, while her natural instincts tell her otherwise. This book brings characters that will make you laugh, smile and cry. Ayla is strong and undergoes so many hardships in her life that she is a real inspiration. A 10/10, this book is great if you like history, fiction, and enjoy longer series.
Date published: 2006-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from EXCELLENT! This book was amazing! I love the thought, and research Joan M. Auel put into this book. I decided to pick this book up because of a friend of mine. (we were taking about books at a sleep over-we're both 14) I have never regretted my desicion to read it, and i don't know anybody who hasn't loved the life of Ayla, and the Clan. The ending left me wanting more, and i can't wait to read the next book in the series. ~Enjoy!
Date published: 2004-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Truly Excellent novel This is the first, and I think best, book in the series of six called ‘Earth’s Children’. We meet Ayla the protagonist of the series as a small child, of Cro Magnon heritage, who, when found by a wandering group of Neanderthals is lost and alone after an earthquake. The Clan raise her and Ayla has a good friend in the form of her foster mother, the tribe’s medicine woman, who passes on her skills and knowledge of herbal medicine and medical procedures. This knowledge stands Ayla in good stead later. However, Aul gives Ayla very advanced human traits and she is misunderstood by the tribe and eventually forced to leave.
Date published: 2003-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing! I chose to read this book as part of a world history assignment. I absolutltye love it and recommend it to ANYONE who likes reading even the slightest bit. You will not want to put it down once you start! It is a riviting tale about a girl named Ayla who you will come to identify with and love! READ THIS BOOK! You wont regret it!
Date published: 2002-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clan of the Cavebear I love the books. I read them 3 times and each time I learned something new. I am going to read them again in the near future.
Date published: 2002-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever!! This was the best book I've ever read! It has so much detail and it has a great plot! I couldn't put it down. I am just starting the second book of the series and it is really great too! I don't know what I'm going to do when I finish the series!
Date published: 2001-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favorite book i absolutly loved all of the books in this series! They are the most captivating and intriguing books i've ever read in my life everyone should have the chance to read these book.
Date published: 2001-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Clan of the Cave Bear The Clan of the Cave Bear is the best novel I have read all year. After I read it I was convinced to read the other 3 books about Ayla. The novel included such description that I could actualy feel like I was part of the clan. I have read the novel lots of times and am now about to begin part 2, The Valley of Horses. I cant wait!
Date published: 2000-08-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing I have read so many great reviews for this book I thought I was in for a treat. I even read the book twice to see if I was missing something. The story is slow-paced, with a lot of scenery "filler" to pad the weak plot. The author constantly writes down to the reader - as if the reader were as ignorant as the characters in the book.
Date published: 2000-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clan of The Cave Bear It is truly an amazing book. I am so glad that I was blessed to be able to read it. Although I am only 12 years old, I fell that I have the maturity to grasp the book's inner details. It is a meticulously crafted book that is skillfully adorned with amazing pictures and ideas. My mother first saw the book in the bookstore. She suggested that I buy. I couldn't put the book down. It was so amazing. The ideas of Ayla. As I was explaining the plot to my mother, she became wary of the text. She was appalled of the circumstances surrounding the birth of Durc. She did not allow me to read the rest of the amazing series. It is only now, several months later after I have matured, that she allows me to read the rest of the series. It is an excellent book. I recommend it.
Date published: 2000-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Knoledge of Beings then and now I loved the detail of the everyday life of the clan. It gave a whole new outlook at what it could have been like for those who live back then. It was interesting how life ivolved from that time period (if it did)and how are own lives could relate to some of the same experiences that happened to the clan. It showed how life also ivolved from many things that were based on the spirit world and how Alya challanged those thinkings to more scientific findings.
Date published: 2000-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST BOOK EVER!!! This was the best book I have ever read. It was filled with amazing detail that made you feel like you were there.The characters wee so well developed that with every conflict, you sympathized with them. Once I started this book I could not put it down. I am not a notoriously fast reader but it took me three days to finish this book. Every chance I had, I would sneak away to read some more. I recommend this book to everyone!!!
Date published: 2000-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! It's been several years since I was first introduced to this book and it remains one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. If you think a book set in the 'caveman days' couldn't possibly be interesting, think again! I've urged all of my friends to read it. Every one who has read it, has recommended "The Clan of the Cave Bear" to someone else. It's that good. ENJOY!
Date published: 1999-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW I loved The Clan of the Cavebear. What amount of research must the author have done to give the reader such a stunning and realistic account of pre-historic life on Earth. Ayla is a fascinating character, a young Cro-Magnon girl raised by Neanderthals in a time when the two races despised each other. She is an evolutionary heroine, her life a symbol of human development against the sad reality of the extinction of a past race. I've never read anything as original as this and definately recommend it. It's well written, alive with detail, rich in characterization and plot and unlike anything you'll ever read. A must read.
Date published: 1999-08-30

Read from the Book

Chapter 1The naked child ran out of the hide-covered lean-to toward the rocky beach at the bend in the small river. It didn't occur to her to look back. Nothing in her experience ever gave her reason to doubt the shelter and those within it would be there when she returned.She splashed into the river and felt rocks and sand shift under her feet as the shore fell off sharply. She dived into the cold water and came up sputtering, then reached out with sure strokes for the steep opposite bank. She had learned to swim before she learned to walk and, at five, was at ease in the water. Swimming was often the only way a river could be crossed.The girl played for a while, swimming back and forth, then let the current float her downstream. Where the river widened and bubbled over rocks, she stood up and waded to shore, then walked back to the beach and began sorting pebbles. She had just put a stone on top of a pile of especially pretty ones when the earth began to tremble.The child looked with surprise as the stone rolled down of its own accord, and stared in wonder at the small pyramid of pebbles shaking and leveling themselves. Only then did she become aware she was shaking too, but she was still more confused than apprehensive. She glanced around, trying to understand why her universe had altered in some inexplicable way. The earth was not supposed to move.The small river, which moments before had flowed smoothly, was roiling with choppy waves that splashed over its banks as the rocking streambed moved at cross purposes to the current, dredging mud up from the bottom. Brush close by the upstream banks quivered, animated by unseen movement at the roots, and downstream, boulders bobbed in unaccustomed agitation. Beyond them, stately conifers of the forest into which the stream flowed lurched grotesquely. A giant pine near the bank, its roots exposed and their hold weakened by the spring runoff, leaned toward the opposite shore. With a crack, it gave way and crashed to the ground, bridging the turbid watercourse, and lay shaking on the unsteady earth.The girl started at the sound of the falling tree. Her stomach churned and tightened into a knot as fear brushed the edge of her mind. She tried to stand but fell back, unbalanced by the sickening swaying. She tried again, managed to pull herself up, and stood unsteadily, afraid to take a step.As she started toward the hide-covered shelter set back from the stream, she felt a low rumble rise to a terrifying roar. A sour stench of wetness and rot issued from a crack opening in the ground, like the reek of morning breath from a yawning earth. She stared uncomprehendingly at dirt and rocks and small trees falling into the widening gap as the cooled shell of the molten planet cracked in the convulsion.The lean-to, perched on the far edge of the abyss, tilted, as half the solid ground beneath it pulled away. The slender ridgepole teetered undecidedly, then collapsed and disappeared into the deep hole, taking its hide cover and all it contained with it. The girl trembled in wide-eyed horror as the foul-breathed gaping maw swallowed everything that had given meaning and security to the five short years of her life."Mother! Motherrr!" she cried as comprehension overwhelmed her. She didn't know if the scream ringing in her ears was her own in the thunderous roar of rending rock. She clambered toward the deep crack, but the earth rose up and threw her down. She clawed at the ground, trying to find a secure hold on the heaving, shifting land.Then the gap closed, the roar ceased, and the shaking earth stilled, but not the child. Lying face down on the soft damp soil churned loose by the paroxysm that convulsed the land, she shook with fear. She had reason to fear.The child was alone in a wilderness of grassy steppes and scattered forests. Glaciers spanned the continent on the north, pushing their cold before them. Untold numbers of grazing animals, and the carnivores that preyed on them, roamed the vast prairies, but people were few. She had nowhere to go and she had no one who would come and look for her. She was alone.The ground quivered again, settling itself, and the girl heard a rumbling from the depths, as though the earth were digesting a meal gulped in a single bite. She jumped up in panic, terrified that it would split again. She looked at the place where the lean-to had been. Raw earth and uprooted shrubs were all that remained. Bursting into tears, she ran back to the stream and crumpled into a sobbing heap near the muddy water.But the damp banks of the stream offered no refuge from the restless planet. Another aftershock, this time more severe, shuddered the ground. She gasped with surprise at the splash of cold water on her naked body. Panic returned; she sprang to her feet. She had to get away from this terrifying place of shaking, devouring earth, but where could she go?There was no place for seeds to sprout on the rocky beach and it was clear of brush, but the upstream banks were choked with shrubs just sending forth new leaves. Some deep instinct told her to stay near water, but the tangled brambles looked impenetrable. Through wet eyes that blurred her vision, she looked the other way at the forest of tall conifers.Thin beams of sunlight filtered through the overlapping branches of dense evergreens crowding close to the stream. The shaded forest was nearly devoid of undergrowth, but many of the trees were no longer upright. A few had fallen to the ground; more leaned at awkward angles, supported by neighbors still firmly anchored. Beyond the jumble of trees, the boreal forest was dark and no more inviting than the brush upstream. She didn't know which way to go, and glanced first one way, then the other with indecision.A tremble beneath her feet while she was looking downstream set her in motion. Casting one last yearning look at the vacant landscape, childishly hopeful that somehow the lean-to would still be there, she ran into the woods.Urged on by occasional grumbling as the earth settled, the child followed the flowing water, stopping only to drink in her hurry to get far away. Conifers that had succumbed to the quaking earth lay prostrate on the ground and she skirted craters left by the circular tangle of shallow roots--moist soil and rocks still clinging to their exposed undersides.She saw less evidence of disturbance toward evening, fewer uprooted trees and dislodged boulders, and the water cleared. She stopped when she could no longer see her way and sank down on the forest floor, exhausted. Exercise had kept her warm while she was moving, but she shivered in the chill night air, burrowed into the thick carpet of fallen needles and curled up in a tight little ball, throwing handfuls over herself for a cover.But as tired as she was, sleep did not come easily to the frightened little girl. While busy making her way around obstacles near the stream, she was able to push her fear to the back of her mind. Now, it overwhelmed her. She lay perfectly still, eyes wide open, watching the darkness thicken and congeal around her. She was afraid to move, almost afraid to breathe.She had never been alone at night before, and there had always been a fire to hold the black unknown at bay. Finally, she could hold back no longer. With a convulsive sob, she cried out her anguish. Her small body shook with sobs and hiccups, and with the release she eased into sleep. A small nocturnal animal nosed her in gentle curiosity, but she wasn't aware of it.She woke up screaming!The planet was still restless, and distant rumbling from deep within brought back her terror in a horrifying nightmare. She jerked up, wanted to run, but her eyes could see no more wide-open than they could behind closed lids. She couldn't remember where she was at first. Her heart pounded; why couldn't she see? Where were the loving arms that had always been there to comfort her when she woke in the night? Slowly the conscious realization of her plight seeped back into her mind and, shivering with fear and cold, she huddled down and burrowed into the needle-carpeted ground again. The first faint streaks of dawn found her asleep.Daylight came slowly to the depths of the forest. When the child awoke it was well into the morning, but in the thick shade it was difficult to tell. She had wandered away from the stream as daylight faded the previous evening, and an edge of panic threatened as she looked around her at nothing but trees.Thirst made her aware of the sound of gurgling water. She followed the sound and felt relieved when she saw the small river again. She was no less lost near the stream than she was in the forest, but it made her feel better to have something to follow, and she could quench her thirst as long as she stayed near it. She had been glad enough for the flowing water the day before, but it did little for her hunger.She knew greens and roots could be eaten, but she didn't know what was edible. The first leaf she tasted was bitter and stung her mouth. She spit it out and rinsed her mouth to remove the taste, but it made her hesitant to try another. She drank more water for the temporary feeling of fullness and started downstream again. The deep woods frightened her now and she stayed close to the stream where the sun was bright. When night fell, she dug a place out of the needled ground and curled up in it again.Her second night alone was no better than her first. Cold terror lay in the pit of her stomach along with her hunger. She had never been so terrified, she had never been so hungry, she had never been so alone. Her sense of loss was so painful, she began to block out the memory of the earthquake and her life before it; and thoughts of the future brought her so close to panic, she fought to push those fears from her mind as well. She didn't want to think about what might happen to her, who would take care of her.She lived only for the moment, getting past the next obstacle, crossing the next tributary, scrambling over the next log. Following the stream became an end in itself, not because it would take her anywhere, but because it was the only thing that gave her any direction, any purpose, any course of action. It was better than doing nothing.After a time, the emptiness in her stomach became a numb ache that deadened her mind. She cried now and then as she plodded on, her tears painting white streaks down her grubby face. Her small naked body was caked with dirt; and hair that had once been nearly white, and as fine and soft as silk, was plastered to her head in a tangle of pine needles, twigs, and mud.Traveling became more difficult when the evergreen forest changed to more open vegetation and the needle-covered forest floor gave way to obstructing brush, herbs, and grasses, the characteristic ground cover beneath small-leafed deciduous trees. When it rained, she huddled in the lee of a fallen log or large boulder or overhanging outcrop, or simply slogged through the mud letting the rain wash over her. At night, she piled dry brittle leaves left over from the previous season's growth into mounds and crawled into them to sleep.The plentiful supply of drinking water kept dehydration from making its dangerous contribution to hypothermia, the lowering of body temperature that brought death from exposure, but she was getting weak. She was beyond hunger; there was only a constant dull pain and an occasional feeling of light-headedness. She tried not to think about it, or about anything except the stream, just following the stream.Sunlight penetrating her nest of leaves woke her. She got up from the snug pocket warmed by her body heat and went to the river for a morning drink, damp leaves still clinging to her. The blue sky and sunshine were welcome after the rain of the day before. Shortly after she started out, the bank on her side of the river gradually began to rise. By the time she decided to stop for another drink, a steep slope separated her from the water. She started down carefully but lost her footing and tumbled all the way to the bottom.She lay in a scraped and bruised heap in the mud near the water, too tired, too weak, too miserable to move. Large tears welled up and streamed down her face, and plaintive wails rent the air. No one heard. Her cries became whimpers begging someone to come and help her. No one came. Her shoulders heaved with sobs as she cried her desperation. She didn't want to get up, she didn't want to go on, but what else could she do? Just stay there crying in the mud?After she stopped crying, she lay near the water's edge. When she noticed a root beneath her jabbing uncomfortably in her side and the taste of dirt in her mouth, she sat up. Then, wearily, she stood up and went to the stream for a drink. She started walking again, doggedly pushing aside branches, crawling over moss-covered logs, splashing in and out of the edge of the river.The stream, already high from earlier spring floods, had swelled to more than double from tributaries. The child heard a roar in the distance long before she saw the waterfall cascading down the high bank at the confluence of a large stream with the small river, a river about to double again. Beyond the waterfall, the swift currents of the combined watercourse bubbled over rocks as it flowed into the grassy plains of the steppes.The thundering cataract rushed over the lip of the high bank in a broad sheet of white water. It splashed into a foaming pool worn out of the rock at the base, creating a constant spray of mist and whirlpools of countercurrents where the rivers met. At some time in the distant past, the river had carved deeper into the hard stone cliff behind the waterfall. The ledge over which the water poured jutted out beyond the wall behind the falling stream, forming a passageway between.The girl edged in close and looked carefully into the damp tunnel, then started behind the moving curtain of water. She clutched at the wet rock to steady herself as the continuous falling, falling, falling of the flowing stream made her dizzy. The roar was deafening, rebounding from the stone wall in back of the tumultuous flow. She looked up fearfully, anxiously aware that the stream was above the dripping rocks over her head, and crept forward slowly.

From Our Editors

Story of the orphaned Ayla's struggle to fit in and survive in the period when Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals existed at the same time on the Earth.

Editorial Reviews

"Imaginative, exciting."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Jean Auel has performed a minor miracle."
--San Francisco Chronicle

From the Trade Paperback edition.