Björn Kurtén
Dance of the Tiger
1980 (1978)
from the dustjacket:

A breakthrough in historical fiction, Dance of the Tiger plunges us into life 35,000 years ago, when two completely different species of human beings existed.

This is the story of Tiger, son of the Chief of a peaceful village of Homo sapiens hunters, and his passion to avenge his people. The only survivor of a savage attack against his tribe, Tiger roams the landscapes of Ice Age Europe, hunting mammoth and saber-tooth tiger, struggling for survival in a world of constant danger, always searching for Shelk, the brutal warrior who killed his father.

Completely alone and badly wounded, Tiger is rescued by a Neandertal clan — the alien creatures he had heard about but never seen. On the clan's island, far in the north, Tiger learns the Neandertal language, falls in love with Veyde, their proud and beautiful leader, and discovers the deeply human side of a people he had despised as barbaric.

Tiger finally faces Shelk in a dramatic confrontation which calls up all the cunning of the animal for whom he was named. And in a totally ingenious twist, we discover what may be the solution to prehistory's most puzzling mystery: the disappearance of the Neandertals from the face of the earth.

back flap:

One of the world's leading scholars of Ice Age fauna, Björn Kuretén fuses extraordinary knowledge and imagination in this vivid evocation of our deepest past. Drawing on the most recent anthropological revelations, he combines human drama with scientific theory too clever to reveal.

Björn Kuretén was born in Finland in 1924. A professor at the University of Helsinki and one of Europe's leading paleontologists, he has worked extensively in Europe, Africa, and North America. Professor Kuretén has published several novels in Swedish and numerous books in English on mammals and the ice ages, among them The Cave Bear Story, Not From the Apes, and The Ice Age. He is a fellow of the Explorers Club and has held a lectureship in zoology at Harvard University.

Jacket illustration and design by Wendell Minor