J.H. Rosny
The Quest for Fire: a novel of prehistoric times
1967
from the dustjacket:

Through the terrible night the band of Oulhamrs fled. What had befallen them, wounded and exhausted, made all effort seem useless: the Fire was dead.

"What will become of the Oulhamrs without Fire?" Faouhm, their chief, cried to his band. "How shall they live on the savanna and in the forest? Who will defend them against shadows and winter blasts? They will have to eat raw meat and bitter plants, never to warm their limbs, and their spearheads will remain soft. The lion, the saber-toothed tiger, the bear, the giant hyena will eat them alive during the night. Who will recapture Fire?"

Then Naoh, son of the Leopard, rose...

This is the story of Naoh's terrifying journey through vast, unknown expanses to recover the life-giving flame. It is a compelling story of prehistoric struggle and man's first agonizing steps toward civilization.


J. H. Rosny (Joseph-Henri Boex) was born in Brussels in 1856. As a child he wrote a great number of poems, stories, and plays, but his mother — who envisioned him as an office manager, not a writer — pushed him toward a business career. The stifling office proved a burden for the young man, and after several years he left for England where he became a journalist.

In 1886 he settled in Paris and finally concentrated on writing novels, first in collaboration with his younger brother, then alone:

M. Rosny, who during his lifetime had been president of the Academie Goncourt, left a vast body of work, but is probably best known for his portrayals of prehistoric life — innovations in their time. THE QUEST FOR FIRE, considered by many the finest of these remarkable novels, has sold over one and a half million copies in France since its publication there in 1911, and has been translated into eleven languages. This edition marks its first appearance in English.

Also available in Gibraltar Library Binding