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Publisher's Summary

A remarkable epic of one woman's odyssey - filled with mystery and magic.

Here is the saga of a people who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear; how they lived; the animals they hunted; the great totems they revered. But mostly it is the story of Ayla, the girl they found and raised, who was not like them.

To the Clan, her fair looks make her different - ugly. And she has odd ways: she laughs, she cries, she has the ability to speak. But even more, she struggles to be true to herself and, with her advanced intelligence, is curious about the world around her.

Although Ayla is clearly a member of the Others, she is nurtured by her adoptive parents, befriended by members of the Clan, and gradually accepted into the family circle. But there are those who would cast her out for her strange, threatening ways.

So the conflict between the ancient Clan, bound by heredity to its traditions, and the girl in its midst, of a newer breed destined to alter the face of earth, could never be resolved. And it is this same struggle that leads Ayla to venture where no Clan woman has ever dared. Driven by destiny and a will to survive, Ayla breaks the forbidden taboo.

Listen to more in the Earth's Children series.
©2004 Jean M. Auel (P)2004 Brilliance Audio

Critic Reviews

"Imaginative, exciting." ( The New York Times Book Review)"Jean Auel has performed a minor miracle." ( San Francisco Chronicle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • cindy
  • ramona, CA, United States
  • 11-22-09

huge, epic and educational

the best value on this website. The reading is fabulous, the story long and engaging and most importantly, EDUCATIONAL!!! Yes, there are things here that will make you think "no way."....but then that fleeting moment is gone, caught up in some twist of the plot or some insight that the author has made about culture at the time, and off you go again. Highest recommendation. Now, if I could only locate the rest of this series on this website! [=

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dan
  • Grande Cache, Alberta, Canada
  • 02-13-11


This book is one of those that once you start reading you don't want to put down. Chapter after chapter has new and interesting things happening between the people and culture of the clan and the Girl Ayla from the others. Highly recommended reading.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Terri
  • Wasilla, AK, United States
  • 06-13-08

Clan of the Cave Bear

Jean Auel interacts early mankind with one of our own. The Pleistocene Ice Age is a grueling world to live in and all must learn to work together to survive.

A most superb tale of the different daily physical and mental roles between man and woman, their thought process and survival. How medicines were made, foods stored, tools and clothing designed all provided by nature. A hard life with joy and sorrow.

The book continuously picks up momentum and keeps one reading. Not simply a survival story as we know survivalist in our day in time but the story of lives. Humanity working together finding out the consequences of not working well together.

A myriad of logical emotion and strength. Although the narrator moves a bit quick for me it is an excellent listen. I will listen to it again.

41 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The best of the books so far

Where does The Clan of the Cave Bear rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have listened to the first 4 books in this series, and the first book is definitely the best.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Worth an annual read

I love this book. This is my third time through it, once reading and twice listening. Sandra Burr reads a little fast at times and some of the "voices" are not quite right, but this is still a very enjoyable edition of this most wonderful story. Sadly, Audible is missing the MIDDLE book of the five-book series. This one ranks right up there with the Outlander Series for me.

36 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Best series I've read so far.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Clan of the Cave Bear to be better than the print version?

Yes, because Sandra Burr is a great narrator. She brought Ayla to life and really made the story captivating.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ayla, because she is a survivor.

Have you listened to any of Sandra Burr’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not yet, but would not hesitate to pick up another audio book narrated by her.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I am PC gamer and instead of listening to the game, I listen to the audio book.

Any additional comments?

If you have not read/listen to this series, do yourself a favor and pick it up. I was hesitant about listening to tales of cave men and historical stuff so for the longest time I avoided the series. It was not until a coworker who press me into giving it a try that I was so happy I did. The story telling that the author weaved was absolutely entertaining. She made me care for Ayla and cheer for her. The only regret I have so far is that I waited so long to listen to this series.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sharon
  • Coal City, IL, USA
  • 09-11-08

Clan of the Cave Bear

This is, by far, one of my favorite series. It begins with "Clan of the Cave Bear." Jean Auel brings us a detailed and wonderful saga, a poignant story that goes right to the heart. Like Beth, for me, it ranks up there with the "Outlander" Series by Diana Gabaldon. I do wish Audible would get the third book, "The Mammoth Hunters." It's weird to have a missing book, especially smack dab in the middle of the series.

Although the story is fantastic, I wish the narrator put a bit mroe emotion into the reading. At times, it was a bit stagnant. All in all, I enjoyed it very much and I'd certainly listen to it again.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


I believe this is my third time to read or listen to this. I know I read it in the eighties and I believe this is my second time to listen. Ayla is a strong female character in a world dominated by men. A world where a woman can not speak to a man without permission. Auel researches her books more then the average writer. Her books are normally published years apart, because of the amount of research she does. To some, the detail of the medicines, herbs and rituals may be overly taxing. The first time I read it, I thought what a great book, but so much survival detail. At an older age, I find myself appreciating the work that went into making this series as accurate as possible. The story of Ayla is the main reason for listening. She will tug at your heart strings, sometimes breaking them. I am sure this is not the last time I will listen.

Almost every book in this series is a five star listen for me. This book and the follow up Valley of Horses are my favorites. This is a classic. This could fit in lots of genre's and it is a classic in all of them. The ending is controversial for this book. I recommended the book to my mom and she loved it until the ending and then she refused to read any more in the series. It made her that mad. This book causes that much emotion. It is not a text book.

I thought the narrator was okay. Not great, but also not distracting.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Better after 30-some years!

I read The Clan of Cave Bear when it first came out a very long time ago. I loved it and read it again a few years later. As each new book in the series became available, I bought and devoured them. None were as good as the original, but I relished the detail provided in each on natural history and different cultural practices. Of course, all of it is a fantasy. How realistic is it to attribute the domestication of animals and the inventions of so many technologies to one prehistoric young woman? But the books were all fun to read, and I enjoyed them on that level.

Having discovered that the final book in the Earth's Children series will be coming out at the end of March, I decided to listen to the original story of Ayla and the Neanderthals on my iPod, especially in light of new DNA evidence pointing to our genetic connection with them. I absolutely loved listening to the audiobook version of my old favorite! I went about my business, earphones on, for three days until I had finished it. Then I downloaded The Valley of Horses and continued Ayla's saga. My goal is to complete all books in this series before The Land of the Painted Caves is released. Hopefully audible will have it available.

The Clan of the Cave Bear is definitely the best of the series in terms of plot and character development. I recommend this audiobook highly and I'm looking forward to listening to Painted Caves! Ayla seems like an old friend and I have missed her between books.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Linda
  • Detroit, MI, United States
  • 04-30-09


Wonderful story. I stumbled across this series when audible was offering a special on the first book in a select set of series. Thought I would give it a try since I had seen and loved the movie Clan Of The Cave Bear. Firstly ... I was surprised to find that it was a series. I fell in love with the "real Alya"! No comparison between the movie and the sieries. I immediately HAD TO HAVE all 5 books. So much was changed and even more was left out that I am still amazed. Well written and while the reader is on shaky ground with the first book ... she improves dramitaclly as she continues the series, finds her footing with it, and develops and makes distinct each character by book 5 ... adding to the charm of this wonderful story. So much so that I can not imagine anyone else reading it. I can't wait for the 6th book. Thank you audible for re-opening my love of the Clan and my interest in pre-history. Well worth listning to!

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-23-12

Love, love, love

And love this story. Bet series ever. You have got to read it, it will make you mad and sad, happy, excited, shocked.

  • Overall
  • Claire
  • 02-28-09

Needs Pruning!

I enjoyed some parts of this book very much. There is lots of interest, action and plot movement, the beginning is good, and the end is excellent. However I was very irritated by the amount of repetition and reiteration. I don?t normally buy abridged books as I love detail and description, but I did feel that this is one book that would benefit from sharper editing.

  • Overall
  • Toni
  • 02-02-09

fascinating and imaginative story

This story was an insightful and imaginative look into a shared history.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful