An epic novel of love, knowledge, jealousy, and hard choices. Ayla, the independent heroine of the Earth's Children (TM) series, sets out from the valley on Whinney, the horse she tamed. With her is Jondalar, the tall handsome, yellow-haired man she nursed back to health and came to love. Together they meet Mamutoi--the Mammoth Hunters--people like Ayla. But to Ayla, who was raised by the Clan of the Cave Bear, they are the "Others." She approaches them with a mixture of fear and curiosity. It is the Mamutoi master carver of ivory--dark skinned Ranec, flirtatious, artistic, magnetic--who Ayla finds herself drawn to the most. Because of her uncanny control over animals, her healing skills, and the magic firestone she discovers, Ayla is adopted into the Mammoth Hearth by Mamut, the ancient shaman of the Great Earth Mother. Ayla finds herself torn between her strong feelings for Ranec and her powerful love for the wildly jealous and unsure Jondalar. It is not until after the great mammoth hunt, when Ayla's life is threatened, that a fateful decision is made.