The story of Ayla begins when, as a five-year-old orphan, she is adopted by the Clan, a group of Neanderthals. Initially she inspires surprise, then wariness and finally acceptance by the Clan. She is cared for by its medicine woman, Iza, and its wise holy man, Creb. But she makes an implacable enemy of the group's future leader, Broud. He will do all he can to destroy her - but Ayla is a survivor.
Jean Auel's imaginative reconstruction of pre-historic life, rich in detail of language, culture, myth and ritual, has become a set text in schools and colleges around the world.