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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing
My dad had been trying for almost 10 years to get me to read the Earth's Children series. I finally picked it up at Christmas, and now, 5 months later, I have just started the fourth book - and that's even with my job and my university studies!!
This is an incredible series that grasps you right from the start and sucks you into the prehistoric world, and never lets...
Published on 12 May 2003 by Jeni

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neighbours! Everybody needs cro-magnon neighbours!
Neolithic Europe, Ayla - a young Cro-magnon child is adopted by a tribe of Neanderthals when her true parents die in an earthquake. Clan of the Cave Bear tells the tale of Ayla's early years, her adoption by Iza the clan's medicine woman, her gradual acceptance into the tribe and her conflict with her step-cousin Broud.

This is a bit of an epic; a large book in...
Published 1 month ago by Crookedmouth


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great mixture of fiction and non-fiction, 24 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
Having the Earth's Children series of books recommended by my Dad, who read them when he was young, and being the "youth" that I am, I was skeptical. However I was pleasantly surprised.
If you are not interested in evolution at all, then don't waste you're time, I can tell you now this book isn't for you.
The book is about a girl named Ayla. She is Cro Magnon (also known as Early Modern Human's). Through circumstances (which I shall not spoil for you), she ends up living and being raised by Neanderthals.
Being about 500 pages long, the book is surprisingly fast paced. By page 5 there's been a natural disaster that kills loads of people, which was a pleasant change from books where usually by page 5 they haven't even finished describing the scenery yet. The book also covers several years. I know the book starts when Ayla is 5 but I'm not quite sure how old she is when it finishes. I'd guess 13 based on events. (numbers aren't mentioned much as they weren't considered as important as they are these days, plus Neanderthal's weren't that good at understanding them).
There's a lot of great information in the book, but it's not given in a boring way. For example, they go on a mammoth hunt, and it is explained how each part of the carcass is chosen whether there is any point in taking it back to cave, and what it will be used for. A lot of research has obviously been put into this book as even a map of how the land would have been at the time is included at the front. As Ayla is primarily raised by Iza (the medicine woman) and Creb (the "Mog-Ur" or Magician), there is another load of interesting information about plants, medicines, healing, religion/beliefs, festivals etc. Other aspects are explained well such as Clan position ranking order and how men and women act. There's also birth's and death's within the book, the making of tools, hunting, clan gathering, drugs and even a tiny of Cannibalism. The book has it all.
Don't think of the book as an easy read too much, as there are some animals and plants mentioned that you will not know what they are (unless you've studied this type of history), so you may take a few notes and google them.
As for the ending, it's left in such a way that you know the second book will bring a whole load of new adventures and experiences. I'm eagerly looking forward to reading the second.
I found when reading the book I was constantly making comparisons to modern day life. The medicine seems quite similar to Chinese medicine, it was not uncommon to have more than one "mate", which is still common in a lot of cultures these days, and most incredibly when Ayla makes shoes for the winter with fur, I could just imagine Ugg boots.
The only criticism I have is that the language and sentence structure does seem a bit too sophisticated to what they probably would have used. However, if the language had been simplified, it would have been a lot more annoying to read.
Over all a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prehistoric Page Turner!, 1 Feb. 2011
By 
Martin Belcher (Hampshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
I remember a long time ago seeing my Dad reading this book and I know he loved the whole Earth's Children series by Jean M Auel.

Seeing the sixth and final book in the series being advertised for release in March 2011, it got me interested and I decided to "jump in" and give the first book in the series, Clan of the Cave Bear a go.....

This is the beginning of the story of Ayla, born of the "Others"; a young girl recently orphaned who finds herself alone in a cruel world. She is accidentally discovered by the Clan of the Cave Bear who are on a journey to find a new cave home after their original cave was destroyed in an earthquake.

Medicine woman of the Clan, Iza takes Ayla under her wing and brings her up as her daughter, along with Iza are her physically disabled brother, Creb who is Mogur or Magician of the clan.

Some members of the clan, particularly Broud, son of the clan leader Brun are unhappy that Iza has adopted Ayla into their clan; Ayla is physically different in looks and characteristics to the people of the clan. The book follows Ayla's adventures growing up and some emotional moments and anger as she finds life in the clan restricting and the constant antagonism from Broud. The ending is explosive and makes you immediately want to pick up the next book in the series, The Valley of Horses.

I really enjoyed this book, wonderful descriptions of the landscape; flora and fauna show Auel has done some very thorough research into this prehistoric period of Earth's history. You really do feel you know Ayla, her character comes alive in the book and I really am genuinely hooked and will be avidly reading book 2 to see what happens next. I definitely recommend this book but with a warning that once you start you will be hooked and want to read the whole series!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book series ever written!!!, 20 Oct. 2009
I first read this book over twenty years ago and was instantly hooked! I remember waiting 10 years for the Plains of Passage to be published and being afraid it never would! I bought it the moment it was published, as I did for the Shelters of Stone and I am very excited to have just pre-ordered book 6 - the final book in the series. I've lost count of the number of times I've re-read the series and the number of copies I've had to re-purchase as the old ones fell apart. I've read hundreds and hundreds of books - I'm a real book worm but have always loved this series and always will. It made a big impression on me which has stayed throughout my life and this particular book was one of the few that really got me into reading books, a habit I've kept all my life since and which I believe has helped me become the literary person I am today and even helped me gain the 1st class marks for my essays at uni.

This book is about a young girl raised in the stone age by one of our closest relatives - the Neanderthals (called Clan in the book). Jean has always incorporated as much factual research and current theories of our evolution into her books and despite changes in some of these theories over the years (such as the previous popular belief that neanderthals didn't have the physical apparatus necessary for advanced verbal language), these books are no less educational now. She goes into great detail in describing the flaura and fauna of the glacial European environment and the effects the glaciers had on the lives of the peoples, animals and plants living there at that time that the characters, their environment and their lives are portrayed in amazingly vivid detail. Before reading these books, I never fully comprehended the amazing amount of uses that plants and animals, and their parts, could be put to! I know some people I've lent the books to have struggled to get gripped by the story due to the vast amount of descriptive narrative on the environemnt and the plants and animals in it, but I've alwasy found that fascinating. Now of course, I've read the books so many times that I tend to skip those parts and go straight to the next bit of the story.

These books are well worth reading and I'd recommend them to anyone with an adult reading level and maturity - don't let children or younger teenagers read these books though - there's a graphic rape scene in book 1 (The Clan of the Cave Bear), and very graphic sexual scenes throughout books 2 (The Valley of Horse), 3 (The Mammoth Hunters) & 4 (The Plains of Passage). less so in book 5 (the Shelters of Stone) but still there.

In summary, I'd definately recommend these books to all adult readers and urge you to read them. They're gripping, interesting, educational and ones you'll definately re-read many times if you give them a chance! Well done jean - your books helped to make me the person I am today and have given me so much pleasure throughout my life that I've even decided to name my daughter Ayla, after the main character of the books.The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children)The Mammoth Hunters: Earth's Children 3The Plains of Passage: Earth's Children 4The Shelters of Stone: Earth's Children 5Book 6 - Earth's Children
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking read, 19 Dec. 2008
By 
Clan of the Cave Bear is set in Neanderthal times, and follows the path of Ayla, a little orphaned girl born to Cro-Magnons (fore-runners to modern humans) and adopted into a Neanderthal Clan, the Clan of the Cave Bear. The differences between these two early humans are brought out in some considerable detail, with some very thought provoking ideas on why the two races developed along such different lines, and hinting at possible reasons for the eventual extinction of the Neanderthal race. As Ayla grows up, her Clan struggle to accept the differences between her and them, from simple things like crying (she does, they don't) to more complex issues such as the Clan way of living life by a strict segretation into men and women's domains, with deviation from the traditions potentially punishable by death. Ayla remembers none of her past life, yet instinctively finds herself unable to conform fully to life as a female member of the Clan, which often brings her into conflict with the other members, particularly the future leader, who quickly becomes a strong enemy. Ayla's biggest difference from the Neanderthals is probably her ability to learn new things. Their skills are passed down in memories, stored in their large hind brains, and quite literally as the generations pass, their heads become ever larger to accomodate all this information which is passed on and added to. Ayla on the other hand has to learn everything she needs to know, but this enables her to far surpass some of the abilities of Clan members, again, causing some discomfort, fear and jealousy.

The book not only goes into considerable detail about the Clan's own immediate traits, but also includes fantastic descriptive narrative about the landscape around them, the plants and animals they encounter, enabling the reader to visualise what the earth they walked on must have been like. How much of this information is known fact, and how much is surmised from archeology, I don't know, however it makes fascinating reading nonetheless and gives an insight into the origin of our species, and how we came to be the people we are today.

This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I simply added it to my basket while doing some Christmas shopping. It was hard to put down, and having finished it, I know I am guilty of having done a little skim reading here and there and will be picking it up again soon to read at a gentler pace. I have no doubt there is yet more for me to discover in this book, and I can't wait to see how Ayla fares in the sequel.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 29 May 2006
I first read this book when I was fifteen and although I enjoyed it, it was really wasted on me then, having recently re-read it I have only just grasped the sheer scale of the thing. The clan of the cave bear is the beginning of an epic story set against the breathtaking backdrop of the ice age. It is the story of Ayla, a girl who is taken in and raised by a clan of neanderthals after her family dies in an earthquake. The story follows her through her childhood and all the traumas involved, some of which are about being raised by people who do not really understand her species, some that are particular to prehistoric living and other problems which are common to all human beings. Jean M Auel is an expert on neanderthals and all her hard work studying the subject has really paid off in this book and the sequels, the books probably contain more information about surviving in the wild than most survival guides. They also have a lot of details about prehistoric animals and societies that can only be the product of extensive research and a fantastic imagination. This is the first in a series which follows Ayla on her journey, both literal and metaphorical, as she searches for a place where she belongs. The characters she meets along the way are all beautifully depicted, living, breathing people. A small warning though, if you read this book you will have to go on and read the rest of the series and there are five in all!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite ever books, 4 July 2007
By 
shpadoinkle - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I love this series of books! The story is completely involving, and you really care for the characters. I love all the all the descriptive detail of the prehistoric people's way of life. I never would have thought that long passages about collecting medicinal plants, and preparing food, or making tools would be so interesting!

Because the main character is a young girl, who grows up through the series, I imagine girls and women might possibly be more instantly involved in the story. But particularly in later books, the story centres around male characters aswell, and 'caveman stuff', so I'd recommend these books to men too. Plus there's a surprising amount of explicit sex, in the later books particularly.

Really enjoyable escapist reading, for curious people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you dont think you'll like this read on!! you will!!, 31 May 2011
By 
This review is from: The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
Someone at work mentioned this book, but i didn't think it was for me. They gave me it anyway, and I picked it up one rainy weekend. The first thing to say is that this is not a literary masterpiece, nor is it some highbrow Booker prize contender. It is, however, an extraordinary book that will keep you turning the pages and thinking about the story whenever you are not reading it.
i have never really thought about prehistoric people before reading this book, but it was absolutely fascinating. apparently, the author spent 3 years researching the subject before writing the book, and the detail and information about this people is amazing. What struck me was how like us they were, emotionally and socially and regarding gender roles.
The story centers around a girl who is taken in by a tribe different from her own people, she is feared, loved, raped, despised and ultimately banished, just because she is different. This story is of a prehistoric people, yet rings true of our own times. Also the detail about plants and animals being used as medicine and spiritual aids is so interesting, and obviously well researched.
I would urge anyone to read this book, the story does get a bit "cheesy" at times but the payoff is learning about the lives our ancetors lived, and the rich detail about what our planet looked like thousands of years ago. A fantastic read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant series, 1 April 2005
By A Customer
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As another reviewer has said, there are very few books set in these times, which in itself makes the series worth reading. Jean M Auel writes so well that you really feel for the main characters and just HAVE to read, often into the early hours. An epic, and an empowering read too, as she won't accept that the women can't hunt etc and risks her life in order to fight and to follow her integrity. She is very powerful, as well as very vulnerable, and the way she is with the animals she journeys with and protects is really nice, and not far-fetched in any way. Absolutely brilliant series of books. Can't recommend them highly enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to forget everything else for a week!, 4 Mar. 2004
This book is completely captivating. It takes the reader back to a forgotten era where two human species live side by side.
Once you read it, you cannot forget it. You will not want the book to end, but when it does, there are a further four books it the saga, with the another book still being written.
Jean Auel has been writing this Earth's Children Series for over 25 years, and I for one am glad that she has as it is a world I can lose myself in, over and over again!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review 'Clan of the Cave bear?', 7 Jun. 2009
By 
S. D. Cohen "nudnick" (Jerusalem) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
After nearly 30 years one would have thought that this well-crafted and ingenious book, the first of five, had been more than adequately described, criticised and dealt with. A human Cro-Magnon child, lost after an earthquake destroys her home and parents, is adopted by a small clan of beings who turn out to be non-talking Neanderthals. The story takes us through her acceptance, assimilation into the clan and her rise to prominence thanks to the devotion of her adoptive mother, a senior Medicine Woman. Her entry to adolescence and puberty and her final confrontation with the new order in the clan.The story is factually erudite yet gripping and fast-moving towards an inevitable climax despite describing the heroine's development over 8 years. A thoroughly good read, [and preparation for 'The Valley of the Horses' the second and to my mind, the best book in the series'The Earth's Children.'
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The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children)
The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children) by Jean M. Auel (Paperback - 23 Dec. 2010)
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