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The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980)
by Jean M. Auel
Female Protagonist (43)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553381679, Paperback)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
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:22 -0400)
Twenty years ago The Clan of the Cave Bear became a blockbuster, launching a bestselling saga. Beginning April 30, 2002, its success will reach all - new heights, with Crown's hardcover publication of the fifth volume in the story, The Shelters of Stone. The new hardcover, paired with Bantam's spring mass market repackaging and repromotion effort, will ensure that a whole new generation is introduced to this incredible epic. Summer delivers trade paperback editions of this contemporary classic, available for the first time ever. That means that all readers - and all booksellers - can get the novels in their format of choice. With momentum for these epics at its highest in over a decade, readers will yearn to discover the magic of Ayla's saga, or to refresh their memory of it. And one woman's odyssey, beginning at the dawn of time, will once again capture the imagination of millions. 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.
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