The Earth Children Series
by Jean M. Auel
This is a six-book fact-fiction/alternate history adult book series. This is a series based in the regions around the north and west of the black sea during the ice ages when neanderthals, mammoths and cavelions roamed the earth. It is a fictional plotline but written in such a way that it is plausible. It COULD have happened. Highly unlikely, but not outside the realms of possibility.
The Clan of the Cave Bear
This is set pretty much entirely in ancient Crimea, Ukraine. It's the large peninsula of land jutting into the north side of the black sea. We are introduces to Ayla, a 5 year old girl homo sapien playing in a river when a massive earth quake occurs that kills her family and leaves her stranded in the wilderness on her own. Helpless.
She follows a river for days, not dying of dehydration but slowly losing to starvation. She gets mauled by a cavelion and only survives by dint of fitting into a narrow crevise where the giant lion could not fit and out-waiting it. Driven out of hiding by thirst she collapses by the riverside. She is then discovered by a clan of neanderthals who had lost their cave and home in the earth quake and are searching out a new one.
This book contains heavy misogyny, sex scenes, rape, mentions of what would now be considered child molestation, physical violence, domestic abuse, child abuse, animal abuse, ritualistic drug use & ritualistic cannibalism. I first read it in it's entirety when I was twelve years old, I didn't feel scarred by it but I can understand that some might.
This book is HEAVY on the descriptions. There are entire pages (yes plural) dedicated to describing the weather, plant, and animal life in the regions. I first attempted to read this book when I was eight years old but got bored before I finished chapter three because it is very flavor heavy. At an older age I appreciate the amount of thought and detail that went into creating this. Even down to descriptions of how they make the tools, cook their food and what medicines they would have/may have used.
Science and archaeology helped flesh out the world but most of the world of this book occured within the lifestyle of the neandethals or cro magnons and their culture. The culture is all assumed but it is written so vividly rich that I can totally believe that it might have been a real religion. Could very well have been a real spiritual belief by someone somewhere.
I give this book 10/10
However I understand that the large amount of description and contravercial topics/beliefs in this book may estrange some readers but I love every page.