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The Clan of the Cave Bear [School & Library Binding]

Jean M. Auel
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1984 0808516701 978-0808516705

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, blonde, 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.

First in the acclaimed Earth’s Children® series

--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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When her parents are killed by an earthquake, 5-year-old Ayla wanders through the forest completely alone. Cold, hungry, and badly injured by a cave lion, the little girl is as good as gone until she is discovered by a group who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. This clan, left homeless by the same disaster, have little interest in the helpless girl who comes from the tribe they refer to as the "Others." Only their medicine woman sees in Ayla a fellow human, worthy of care. She painstakingly nurses her back to health--a decision that will forever alter the physical and emotional structure of the clan. Although this story takes place roughly 35,000 years ago, its cast of characters could easily slide into any modern tale. The members of the Neanderthal clan, ruled by traditions and taboos, find themselves challenged by this outsider, who represents the physically modern Cro-Magnons. And as Ayla begins to grow and mature, her natural tendencies emerge, putting her in the middle of a brutal and dangerous power struggle.

Although Jean Auel obviously takes certain liberties with the actions and motivations of all our ancestors, her extensive research into the Ice Age does shine through--especially in the detailed knowledge of plants and natural remedies used by the medicine woman and passed down to Ayla. Mostly, though, this first in the series of four is a wonderful story of survival. Ayla's personal evolution is a compelling and relevant tale. --Sara Nickerson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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

"Jean Auel has performed a minor miracle."
--San Francisco Chronicle
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ..... April 28 2011
By conpok1
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This novel is priceless, I read it 20 years ago and decided to pick up the series again with the aquisition of the sixth novel...I want to enjoy all the earlier novels again before reading the last installment. You won't be disappointed, this book is so well written you'll marvel and the story telling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clan Of The Cave Bear Aug. 31 2010
By Don B.
I can only say that this is one of the most entertaining series of books from author Jean Auel. I ordered it to have the complete set in both Hard Cover and Paperback sets.I am awaiting release in March 2011 of Jean's final book in this series, which I will be ordering from Amazon in both Hardcover and Paperback editions,later in 2010,and
hopefully the price will decrease slightly, especially in the Paperback selection. I have re read the series multiple times while awaiting new releases.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book was only the beginning for me.... March 17 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I gave birth to my daughter, Summer Rose, when I was 17. Shortly after I noticed such a drastic change in my lifestyle. Throughtout my life the only time I picked up a book was in school when it was assigned. Never had I dreamed of reading for recreational purposes. I thought my own mother was crazy for even willingly picking up a book. However, ever since I was a child my facination with pre-history and native american history has always pulled at my blood and has crept not only in my brain but has made a place in my heart. Becoming a mother myself gave me the leverage I needed to finally pick up a book and see what the written word has provided for individuals such as myself. My first book to read for the reason as just because was The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. Not only did it grasp my attention but it blew me away. Never in my life did I expect to love reading as much as I read this book. I thought the details and research was to my knowledge accurate (but of course I'm no expert!) The story line was believable and very hard to put down. I thought nothing would ever top this until I heard that there was a sequel...
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Clan Of The Cave Bears Review Feb. 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Clan Of The Cave Bears is a story of a young girls journey from a homeless child to a young woman raised by a people different then those biologically related to her. Ayla was five when her people were killed in a devastating earthquake. After wandering alone for weeks she is found unconscious by a medicine woman of a homeless Clan. The leader of this Clan sees her as a pet project for his sister Iza, the medicine woman, and believes she would die even with her help. After being nursed back to help she is raised in the ways of the Clan by Iza and her brother, Creb. After a series of events leads the leader's son to an intense hatred of her, Ayla's life takes a different turn than she imagined. She struggles to cope with her differences between her and the people she loves and for acceptance of the Clan. The book takes you through age five to her early teenage years. Jean M. Auel never fails to show the changes in Ayla's personality and thoughts and she becomes a woman. The people of the Clan change as well: Ayla changed their lives forever giving them a unique status when they join several Clans for the Clan Gathering.
Ayla discovers many different things, that extend well beyond her own inventions and into cultural differences of her foster-people and her. Her difference from the Clan extends well beyond appearance, but that is conquered by her love for her foster parents, Iza and Creb, changing her and their way of thinking forever. As the first in a series of five books this is a wonderful beginning to the life of Ayla, a young girl lost in the woods of her differences to her "family." I found this book wonderful to read and could not wait to read the next in the series after this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative and detailed book Feb. 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love this book! I read it years ago and when I discovered the fifth book is out in paperback, I bought it again since I knew that winter was coming. I needed something to keep me busy in those long winter evenings. This book is the best medicine for us winter-weary folks!
The book starts with Ayla who loses her parents in an earthquake and was found, wandering around delirious with pain from four lion scratches on her legs and delirious from hunger, by Iza, a Medicine woman. In spite of her "otherness" Ayla is adopted into the clan. And that is just the beginning of her tribulations and trimuphs. Ayla is not perfect but she's such a fascinating character to read ~~ I don't care if she's almost perfect. I can escape into her story and be glad of a cozy fire at my feet while the wind is howling outside!
If you're interested in historical fiction with a good story ~~ this book is it. It's engrossing and full of rich details of primitive lifestyle ~~ it makes you wonder if they really are that different from all of us. They live, hunt, eat, love and bear babies and die ~~ like us. Just their tools and surroundings are a lot cruder than our living standards. It's a great book to escape into. Perfect for those long winter nights.
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By Barbara
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I reread this book recently after having read it for the first time 15 years ago and I enjoyed it again. The setting is somewhere in Eastern Europe about 35,000 years ago. The premise is that 2 divergent human species occupy Europe at that time. After a horrible earthquake, the medicine woman of the Clan of the Cave Bear finds an orphaned and injured young girl of the 'Other' type of humans. Ayla is cared for and loved by the aged and scarred priest Creb and his medicine woman sister Iza who act as her parents. But she looks different and her way of thinking is different than the ways of her adoptive people, (presumably Neanderthals, while she herself is Cro-Magnon?) and she struggles for acceptance.
The story covers approximately 9 years of Ayla's life from the age of 5 until the age of 14. Although we are lead to believe that she was born to people that are taller, more agile and more innovative than the Clan people, Ayla is the only person of her kind that we encounter in this story. The traits of Ayla's people are determined based on her fragmented memories and her own emerging talents as she grows. The Clan people are stockier and stronger than Ayla and communicate mostly with sign language while Ayla recalls communicating verbally.
The Clan people rely heavily on inherited memory and have clearly defined gender roles, which Ayla continually grapples with. She cannot restrain her curiosity and she is constantly challenging the rules with her aberrant behavior. Ayla wants to learn to hunt with a sling, but it is forbidden. She learns the art of healing from her new mother, but because she is not a birth daughter, the members of the clan have reservations. She has a grasp of mathematics and the gift of sight that would make her a good priestess, but that path is not open to women.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT!!!!!
One of my all time favorite books. Reread it anytime I have no new book to read. have gone thru2 books which finally fell to pièces..... hope this one lasts also
Published 27 days ago by Sybil Lemyre
5.0 out of 5 stars I cannot believe I only found this books now
Buy it, borrow it, rent it from the library. It is vital that you read this book. I just bought the other five because I know they will be good!
Published 5 months ago by Kristina Whelan
4.0 out of 5 stars Re-reading the series
So I picked this up again recently, haven't read it since high school. Really enjoyed book one. Well written, well researched, great character development. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Paula Teel
5.0 out of 5 stars Alana
Excellent book, hard to put down. Look forward to the rest of the series. Best female author I have ever read.
Published 6 months ago by Alana
4.0 out of 5 stars A work of fiction based on scientific research
I liked the book for its anthropological content. Like a documentary/fictional novel. It proposes the possibility or probability of how Neanderthal humans evolving into cro magnan... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Diane M. Jesmer
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT
I could not put the book down and was hooked from the first page. I have read the entire series and it is the best series I have read.
Published 11 months ago by LadyWendy
5.0 out of 5 stars Clan of the Cave Bear
I loved it, but I haven't gotten my way through it yet, thanks for the offer and thank you for the option to purchase this.


Renee Hicks
Published 13 months ago by RH
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story!
cant wait to read the rest. Just wish they werent $11 each! I think i will go to the library for the remaining 5(?) bbooks ...
Published 17 months ago by Michelle
5.0 out of 5 stars satisfied customer
i recieved my book and was pleasently suprised. from the first i noticed how well packaged it was,very strong heavy protective coverage. Read more
Published 18 months ago by j
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
This is the first book and it got me going, until I had to read all of the books in the series
Published 19 months ago by Donna Jean Jones
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