Jean Auel
The Plains of Passage
1990
Cruelly cast out by the ancient Clan that adopted her as a child, Ayla now travels alone in a land of glacial cold and terrifying beasts. She is searching for the Others, a race as tall, blond, and blue-eyed as she. But Ayla finds only a hidden valley, where a herd of hardy steppe horses roams. Here, she is granted a unique kinship with animals, enabling her to learn the secrets of fire and raw survival — but still, her need for human companionship and love remains unfulfilled. Then fate brings her a stranger, handsome Jondolar, and Ayla is torn between fear and hope — and carried to an awakening of desire that would shape the future of mankind.

from the dustjacket of the Crown first edition:

The dawn of man began with desire...

In this new novel in the celebrated Earth's Children™ saga, Ayla, the unforgettable heroine of the best-selling The Clan of the Cave Bear, sets out on her own odyssey of discovery away from the nurturing adoptive family and friends of the Clan. She is in search of others like herself and in search of love. Driven by her intelligence, her curiosity, and her destiny, she explores where the Clan never dared to travel and encounters a hostile world of awesome mystery, glacial cold, terrifying beasts, and intense loneliness in which survival itself is a constant battle.

Sharing a hidden valley with a herd of steppe horses, Ayla finds a unique friendship with animals as vulnerable as herself and ingeniously discovers the complex skills needed to survive — skills no Clan member was ever able to master. But none of her experiences prepares her for the emotional turmoil she feels when she rescues a young man — the first of the Others she has seen — from almost certain death. Torn between her desire for human companionship and her fear of the unknown Others, she struggles against her deep attraction to the handsome Jondalar. It is Jondalar who teaches her the meaning of true friendship and love.

Once again, Jean M. Auel uses her powerful storytelling talents and her thorough understanding of human nature to take us on an amazing journey into the primordial past, recreating the prehistoric world as it truly might have been in this compelling and timeless new epic of the dawn of civilization.


JEAN M. AUEL is now a firmly established literary presence whose first novel, The Clan of the Cave Bear, was heralded by the New York Times Book Review as "exciting, imaginative, and intuitively solid." She continues her prodigious research, begun in 1977, for her remarkable Earth's Children™ series. Adding to her firsthand knowledge of flint knapping, the construction of snow caves, tanning hides, and gathering and preparing wild foods and medicinal plants and herbs, Mrs. Auel has recently returned from Europe where she explored prehistoric sites in preparation for subsequent novels in the series. She is now at work on her third novel in Oregon, where she lives with her husband.