Once again Jean M. Auel opens the door of a time long past to reveal an age of wonder and danger at the dawn of the modern human race.
Riding Whinney with Jondalar, the man she loves, and followed by the mare's colt, Ayla ventures into the land of the mamutoi-the Mammoth Hunters. She has finally found the Others she has been seeking. Through Ayla must learn their different customs and language, she is adopted because of her remarkable hunting ability, singular healing skills, and uncanny fire-making technique.
She finds woman friends and painful memories of the Clan she left behind, and meets Ranec, the dark-skinned, magnetic master carver of ivory, whom she cannot refuse-inciting Jondalar to a fierce jealousy that he tries to control by avoiding her. Unfamiliar with the ways of the Others, Ayla misunderstands, and thinking Jondalar no longer loves her, she turns more to Ranec.
Throughout the icy winter the tension, but warming weather will bring the great mammoth hunt and the mating rituals of the Summer Meeting, when Ayla must choose to remain with Ranec and the Mamutoi, of to follow Jondalar on a long journey into an unknown future.