1980; Crown Publishers, New York; hardbound in myrtle green and tan boards with green lettering on spine; quite good conditon; unmarked pages; dust jacket good with only minor bumping.
The Clan of the Cave Bear is an epic historical novel by Jean M. Auel about prehistoric times. It is the first book in the Earth's Children book series which speculates on the possibilities of interactions between Neanderthal and modern Cro-Magnon humans.
A five-year-old girl, whom readers come to understand is Cro-Magnon, is orphaned and left homeless by an earthquake that destroys her family's camp. She wanders aimlessly, naked and unable to feed herself, for several days. Having been attacked and nearly killed by a cave lion and suffering from starvation, exhaustion, and infection of her wounds, she collapses, on the verge of death.
The narrative switches to a group of people who call themselves "The Clan" and whom we come to understand are Neanderthal, whose cave was destroyed in the earthquake and who are searching for a new home. The medicine woman of the group, Iza, discovers the girl and asks permission from Brun, the head of the Clan, to help the ailing child, despite the child being clearly a member of "the Others," the distrusted antagonists of the Clan.
The child is adopted by Iza and her brother Creb. Creb is this group's "Mog-ur" or shaman, despite being deformed as a result of the difficult birth resulting from his abnormally large head and the later loss of an arm and eye after being attacked by a cave bear. The clan call her Ayla, the closest they can come to saying her "strange" name...