Ayla and Jondalar have reached his home at last : the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii, the old stone age settlement in the region known today as south-west France. Ayla has much to learn from the Zelandonii as well as much to teach them. Jondalar's family greet him warmly, but they are initially wary of the beautiful young woman he has brought back, with her strange accent and her tame wolf and horses. She is delighted when she meets Zelandoni, the spiritual leader of her people, a fellow healer with whom she can share her medicinal skills. After the rigours and dangers that have characterised her extraordinary life, Ayla yearns for peace and tranquility ; to be Jondalar's mate and to have children. But her unique spiritual gifts cannot be ignored, and even as she gives birth to their eagerly-awaited child, she is coming to accent that she has a greater role to play in the destiny of the Zelandonii.