Book Review: The Clan of the Cave Bear. Book One of the Earth's Children Series by Jean M. Auel.

2년 전

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.

This is aided by the extensive research that Auel did into the archaeological and natural history of the regions she has written about. Everything from the weather, lay of the land, plants, animals, life styles of our ancient ancestors is as accurate to that time line as historians, archaeologists and scientists have been able to confirm using what discoveries they've made. It has of course been fleshed out and had artistic license added to it but nothing in these books is outside the realms of the possible, and that frankly is lovely.

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 is Aylas story of being a strange little girl, born of the 'others', a new young race who are a threat to the ancient clan by simply being more adaptable. It is the story of her learning the clans ways whilst also trying to stay true to herself. It is a story of estrangement and acceptance and of being the odd one out. It covers her years from age five to age fourteen-ish and during this time she becomes a woman of the clan, a medicine woman and a mother of a 'deformed' half-cast son, and a highly respected woman of the clan despite being the victim of hate and despisal from the son of the clan chief.


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.

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Dear Ursa,
I have read almost all the books, if not all, of the series.
Just like you, I enjoyed very much all of them. I used to think the same, that the story could perfectly well fit in reality.
Nevertheless, it is well known today that Neanderthal was more adapted to a cold climate and had less melanine to block sunlight. So they were lighter than Cro Magnon, which Mrs. Auel describes as blond people. I think that the idea should be reconsidered because Cro Magnon lineage was descendent directly from Africa and their skin color should be, by the moment they interbred with Neanderthal in the Fertile, much darker than that of Neanderthal.
I make this comments because occidental scientist used (I say used although many of them still think the same way) that Neanderthal were inferior race and have the idea that the blond people race survived while the inferiors Neanderthal couldn't make it. Now we know that Eurasian and American aborigin have at least 2% of Neanderthal blood or genes in their genome. I'm so in love with Neanderthal that I like to defend them. If you could read you would understand what I mean.
Unfortunately, archeological information at the time Mrs. Auel wrote some of her books was not as rich as today and genetic studies as genome sequencing were in process. By that time she really exhausted all sources of information and did a beautifull and exciting writing.
Yours truly,