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The Clan of the Cave Bear

(Earth's Children #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  251,943 ratings  ·  7,387 reviews
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.

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Kindle Edition, 516 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by Bantam (first published 1980)
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Malone I read this when I was 11. The sex scenes didn't corrupt me. I'd be horrified at my mother if she had kept it from me until I was 17 just because of s…moreI read this when I was 11. The sex scenes didn't corrupt me. I'd be horrified at my mother if she had kept it from me until I was 17 just because of sex, because this is still one of my favourite books of all time.

It is definitely appropriate for a teen.(less)
Tigress Goodreads is not a site for reading books. It's just for reviewing and keeping track of books you've read/want to read, and connecting with other read…moreGoodreads is not a site for reading books. It's just for reviewing and keeping track of books you've read/want to read, and connecting with other readers. You still have to get books from the library, bookstore, Amazon, etc.(less)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  251,943 ratings  ·  7,387 reviews

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Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pub-1980
Ms Auel, there are some things I’d like to talk to you about. Be warned I’m quite angry because I keep reading your books for some bizarre reason and I cringe and tear my hair out in despair. See, you had a good story there – a little Cro-Magnon orphan girl found and raised by Neanderthals. I didn’t even care she turned out to be the smartest, most beautiful, ingenious little thing and the villain in the story was almost grotesque and cartoonish in his evildoing. I knew no real harm would ever c ...more
Aug 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thing that strikes me most about her work is that every time there's a new discovery about how paleolithic people lived, it goes along with her stories. Things they said were silly back when she wrote it (Neanderthals with instruments, Neanderthals living with homo sapiens sapiens, and the like) keep proving true.

She presents interesting ideas of cognition, culture and how societies develop. The first two books are her best I think. The rest remain interesting if you can deal with the const
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
3 stars

It’s official, my tastes are slowly changing in books. I didn’t love this book as much as I did. And I find at times I love a particular book in a series and I’ll just keep that physical book and trade in the rest. What’s the point of keeping things you just don’t love any more.

I have the beautiful mass market paperbacks of these books. I loved the second book at the time but we shall see and I want to finish them out. I have this first book on kindle and audible as well. I might just g
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children #1), Jean M. Auel

The Clan of the Cave Bear is an epic work of prehistoric fiction by Jean M. Auel about prehistoric times. A five-year-old girl, Ayla, 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 i
Julie G
I could easily sit between a red-faced evolutionist and a screaming creationist, both arguing around me, and quite contentedly finish any book I was reading.

I'm no Louis Leakey, people.

I'm no Tammy Faye Baker, either.

I am, in fact, an anthropological airhead, and arguing with me about creationism or evolution is like trying to convince me to become interested in my car's transmission. Whatever the hell that is.

Ain't going to happen, folks.

I figure. . . if I don't personally have the ability to
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I once read an article from National Geographic in which the author had spent some time living with a Stone Age tribe in Africa. The people were a studied anachronism, living in modern times, but within a carefully maintained atavistic society of hunting and gathering. Most endearing of this study was the author’s observations about the interactive dialogue amongst the members of the tribe. One wife would say to her husband, “another woman has three beads, I only have two, I wish I had a husband ...more
Charlotte May
This was a great pick! I thoroughly enjoyed this read!
Set during prehistoric times, Ayla’s Home and her family are lost to a devastating earthquake. Homeless and alone she wanders the land, barely surviving, until she is found by Iza - a member of The Clan.
Ayla struggles to fit in and to be accepted by The Clan, its customs foreign to her. Their treatment of women being the main hurdle - all women are below men in status, expected to cook for the men, never to ignore a direct order from a man
Note, March 25, 2014: I edited this review slightly just now, to delete one accidental dittography. Hmmm, I thought I'd proofread this.... :-)

Auel's Earth's Children series (this opening volume was followed by, so far, four sequels) garners mixed --and mostly negative-- reviews here on Goodreads. Though none of them have reviewed it, a dozen of my Goodreads friends have given it ratings, ranging from one star to five. Obviously, my own reaction falls at the favorable end of the spectrum.

Ayla, of
Henry Avila
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Circa 30,000 years ago in the lands surrounding the broad Black Sea , in future Europe, a cataclysmic event occurred, not very unusual there, but still to the superstitious Ice Age people , a devastating occurrence. A family of Cro -Magnons, the first modern humans, our direct ancestors, were wiped out, near a small river, all except a little girl named Ayla , just five, she liked to sneak away and jump joyously into the stream, at dawn, a swimmer before the child could walk. The shaking soil an ...more
Holmes! Holmes
Aug 16, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I *really* wanted to dig this book. I have a burgeoning obsession with prehistory, evolution, and the antecedents of man, and a tale of Cro Magnons and Neanderthals is exactly what I'd love to read.

Sadly, this book does not contain that tale.

Instead, it's a goopy mess of inane metaphysics, prurience for prurience's sake, and a none-too-subtle dollop of racism, as the blonde-haired and light-skinned heroine shows the more primitive (and darker-skinned) Neanderthals how to do--well, just about eve
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book when I was a teen. Indirectly, it lead to my pursuit of a BA in Anthropology. Perhaps it is that Anthropology degree that has rendered the book unreadable for me 25 years later.
Jan 20, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Where do I even start? In a tale that defies biology, geology, common sense and all belief, Jean M. Auel introduces us to a particularly disturbing self-insert in the form of Ayla, a Cro-Magnon girl who is raised by a tribe of doltish Neanderthals.

Not only is Ayla strong, beautiful (though she considers herself ugly and believes that nobody could ever love her) and talented, she's also a virtual genius. Over the course of the series she invents or discovers (view spoiler)
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: topshelf
This book and the series that follows is endearing, troublesome, and whole-heartedly compassionate. This is the book my grandmother read to me as a little girl during the middle of a tornado, while we waited out the storm by candlelight. This is the book that started me reading... really reading.
I learned that I can love my quiet time, and apparently I love stories on the ancient human race... our beginnings. The ways of survival, ways of development, natural medicine, culture and anthropology.
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mixed
I have hardly ever read a novel that was both so entertaining and so educational

Schools could skip a longer part of history by just giving this novel to the pupils. Described by the view of a young girl, the progress of the development of culture is shown uniquely.
The average Stone Age fantasy novel may include war, monsters, an epic love story, etc.
In this case, the slow telling shows the functioning of a forming society, it´s mechanisms and the rise of intelligence that leads to complex socie
A disappointment. The concept is interesting, especially in light of recent archaeological evidence suggesting that Neandertals and Cro-Magnons (anatomically modern humans) may have interbred. However, the execution is extremely poor. The pacing is uneven, the prose is so flowery it hurts, and the characters are flat. Some other things that bothered me:
--The author has the tendency to "info-dump", frequently disrupting the flow of the story to deliver lengthy descriptions of plants, rocks, char
Lee  (the Book Butcher)
First review of the year! Very interesting and entertaining, not sure how accurate but i feel like a learned alot. Who really knows what neanderthal were like? but I'm sure it's well researched and included all the knowledge available in the 1980's. The Clan of the cave bear main flaw is predictability.

Ayla is a modern human left orphaned by an earthquake. She is on the verge of death when she is adopted by a neanderthal clan (the clan of the cave bear.) She is really lucky because the woman wh
Dirk Grobbelaar
Suddenly, with a magician's flourish, he produced a skull. He held it high over his head with his strong left arm and turned slowly around in a complete circle so each man could see the large, distinctive, high-domed shape. The men stared at the cave bear's skull glowing whitely in the flickering light of the torches.

Contemporary anthropology can be pretty confusing, and science may have disproved some of what’s on display here, but this novel does feel like it was well researched at any rate, s
Kitty G Books
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
You know what...this has been on my 'to-read' list for years... years and years and years, and yet I only just got to it...
It was worth the wait!

This is the story of a young child called Ayla who is born over 35,000 years ago during Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon times. Ayla is a Cro-Magnon who is adopted by a group of Neanderthal people when they find her stranded and abandoned after heavy snowfall and a great Earthquake. Ayla has managed to get to a Cave where she was chased by (but evaded) a
Re-read July 2020. Still a 5 star read, this series will never get old.

I read this for the first time years ago and although there's absolutely zero romance at all, not even a hero (that comes in the next book .... Jondalar, be still my beating heart!), sometimes the story is just that good romance doesn't need to feature, this is one of those.

I adored this book, and still do after re-reads. A truly amazing, captivating and fascinating series that will stay at the very top of my all time favour
Crystal Starr Light
"[Ayla] was a woman, and she had more courage than you...more determination, more self-control"

Ayla is a five year old child when an earthquake forces her to flee her destroyed home and her dead parents. Iza, the medicine woman of the Clan of the Cave Bear, stumbles upon her and takes her under her wing, but Broud, the proud son of the clan leader, Brun, takes an immediate disliking to the young non-Clan girl. Ayla grows up among the clan and struggles to find her place.

I've heard so much about
Doc Opp
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a fantastic book. I read it in 7th grade, and was absolutely obsessed with it (which is nothing less than stunning, because at that age most books that lacked dragons weren't worth my time...). In a way its perfect for around that age, because its all about struggling for acceptance and trying to learn the social norms of a society. But really, everybody has dealt with those issues, and will be able to empathize with the characters. And the setting is so unique, the writing so vibrant, ...more
This book was powerful for me. It brought to life a world disappeared by more than 10,000 years. Ayla is such an inspiration and strong woman. I love her dedication to life and to her tribe and to herself. I love that she became a medicine woman. This book is one of a kind.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*** 3.65 ***
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was long and maybe just a little too descriptive at times... but incredibly creative. I couldn't put it down. Also, I listened to the audiobook. Narrator was okay, but read a bit fast and with without enough inflection at times... this got better as the story progressed. All in all a fabulous read. Looking forward to book two. ...more
Jan 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Girl power in the age of Neanderthals
I had not expected it at all, but I enjoyed reading this, because as a story this is quite strong. Auel has made a tremendous creative effort to reconstruct the Neanderthals' world, based on what was known at the time of publication in 1980, and she has woven an original and dramatic storyline around it, including many own interpretations anf fantasy elements, of course. With main character Ayla, the Sapiens girl who was found by the Neanderthal tribe and gro
Joe Valdez
I came to The Clan of the Cave Bear at the Mission Viejo Library when the novel I'd wanted next -- The Witching Hour by Anne Rice -- was out. Wandering the hardcover fiction, a row of books at eye level with thick, colorful spines and the same author snared my attention. Published in 1980, this bestseller launched five sequels, a maligned film adaptation in 1986 and became an industry onto Jean M. Auel, whose published fiction has been dedicated solely to this Ice Age series.

Set in the late Plei
Amy Norris
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great re-read. I definitely got A WHOLE LOT more out of this than I did when I was about 9 years old. I will be keeping my rating at a high 4!

The amount of research it must have taken to complete this book is impressive. Although at times long-winded, Auel's descriptions of the prehistoric setting really transports the reader right back into that time period. And what we don't know from history, she manages to expertly fill in the gaps with her imagination, creating a fascinating mytholog
Jun 01, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I checked out this audiobook because I knew it was a bestseller a few decades ago, and I figured that since it was a bestseller, it must be good. Oh, how wrong we can be at times.

I hate to slam books because I know authors put a lot of work into them, but I have to do it this time. This book was bad for so many reasons. First, there was a lot of repetition and needless detail. A couple hundred pages could have been cut from the manuscript without changing the story at all. How many times did we
Mar 30, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stunning story of survival and family in the last great Ice Age.

A returning favourite of mine, I found out about this series from my mom and we still come back to it almost every summer and re-read it together. This time I couldn't resist and I bought the boxed set and read them by myself as I haven't read these in years.

Strong and stunning, Ayla had to learn how to adapt to Clan ways and become a real Clan woman. As the ways of the Others (with which she grew up with) seem to correspond well
Frankly, Auel gets points simply for tackling this period, as I have not found any other books set around this era. Very little is known about human culture in this period apart from a basic overview, let alone Neanderthal culture. Particularly aspirations, values, and spiritual belief systems are the hardest to deduce from the material archaeological record. Auel avoids the problem of getting into the complex details of culture by making the novel more about character relationships than an exot ...more
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Neanderthal genes 1 8 Feb 05, 2022 10:17AM  
What do you imagine happened to Durc after Ayla left? 81 1305 Jan 06, 2022 04:02PM  
The Katie McGrath...: The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel, March 2019 2 37 May 22, 2021 03:01PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Fix book info 2 7 Feb 09, 2021 07:57AM  
YA historical fiction novels 1 13 Jun 13, 2020 10:21AM  

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Jean M. Auel, née Jean Marie Untinen is an American author best known for her Earth's Children books, a series of historical fiction novels set in prehistoric Europe that explores interactions of Cro-Magnon people with Neanderthals. As of 2010 her books have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, in many translations.

Auel attended University of Portland, and earned an MBA in 1976. She receiv

Other books in the series

Earth's Children (6 books)
  • The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children, #2)
  • The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children #3)
  • The Plains of Passage (Earth's Children #4)
  • The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children #5)
  • The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children #6)

Related Articles

Prehistoric fiction fans have waited three decades for The Land of Painted Caves, the conclusion to the epic Earth Children series set 25,000 years...
67 likes · 52 comments
“But when did you see her, talk to me? When did you see her go into the cave? Why did you threaten to strike a spirit? You still don't understand, do you? You acknowledged her, Broud, she has beaten you. You did everything you could to her, you even cursed her. She's dead, and still she won. She was a woman, and she had more courage than you, Broud, more determination, more self-control. She was more man than you are. Ayla should have been the son of my mate.” 42 likes
“The earth we leave is beautiful and rich; it gave us all we needed for all the generations we have lived. How will you leave it when it is your turn? What can you do?” 23 likes
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