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The triumphant finale of the hugely successful Earth's Children(R) series
Jean M. Auel is one of the world`s most esteemed and beloved authors. Her extensive factual research has earned her the respect of renowned scientists, archaeologists and anthropologists around the globe, culminating in her being made an Officer of the Order of Arts & Letters by the French Minister of Culture and Communication in 2008.
Auel's prehistoric series debuted to rave reviews and a movie deal in 1980 with The Clan of the Cave Bear. Nine years after The Shelters of Stone, the final book will be released accompanied by a massive promotional blitz (including academic and library marketing). Ayla is the mate of Jondalar, the mother of Jonayla, their infant daughter, and an acolyte of the First of the Zelandonii, the spiritual leaders of the caves of her husband's people. But all is not well with Ayla. She is separated from her husband and daughter while training for her new position, which takes a terrible physical toll on her health, and her innovative ideas and unusual history create conflict among the people. Long, well-researched, sometimes repetitive descriptions of cave paintings, food gathering, hunting, family relationships, and religion will appeal to those with an interest in prehistory. Others may wish there was a bit more story and a bit less anthropology. VERDICT Though one must occasionally suspend disbelief that one young woman, no matter how intelligent, can really be responsible for introducing concepts such as animal husbandry, sign language, and the role of men in sexuality and conception, the book is compelling and will be in high demand by Auel's fans.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
She does have a most extraordinary talent for recreating lost worlds * Kate Saunders, Books Quarterly * Incredibly poignant and relevant to today * Sun 4 stars * She deftly creates a whole world, giving a sense of the origins of class, ethnic and cultural differences that alternately divide and fascinate us today. Among modern epic spinners, Auel has few peers. * Kirkus Reviews * Jean Auel's amazing, ground-breaking series reaches a stunning conclusion. . . . . If you ever wondered what it was like for the first reasoning humans, this is the perfect way to learn. It's as though Auel has opened up a time portal, travelled with and lived with actual human beings as they begin their journey towards the people we are today. Moving and majestic, this story sweeps all before it and encompasses everything we know about our ancestors as they trek through central Europe and set up home in the caves there. All life is here in all its glory, the loves, the jealousy, the rivalry, the medicines . . . A compelling historical drama with every modern trait of the human being, but set in the days when the world was young. Magnificent, and a privilege to be able to read it. You must read this. * Books Monthly *
Thirty thousand years in the making and 31 years in the writing, Auel's overlong and underplotted sixth and final volume in the Earth's Children series (The Clan of the Cave Bear; etc.) finds Cro-Magnon Ayla; her mate, Jondalar; and their infant daughter, Jonayla, settling in with the clan of the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonaii. Animal whisperer and medicine woman Ayla is an acolyte in training to become a full-fledged Zelandoni (shaman) of the clan, but all is not rosy in this Ice Age setting; there are wild animals to face and earthquakes to survive, as well as a hunter named Balderan, who has targeted Ayla for death, and a potential cave-wrecker named Marona. While gazing on an elaborate cave painting (presumably, the Lascaux caverns in France), Ayla has an epiphany and invents the concept of art appreciation, and after she overdoses on a hallucinogenic root, Ayla and Jondalar come to understand how much they mean to one another, thus giving birth to another concept-monogamy. Otherwise, not much of dramatic interest happens, and Ayla, for all her superwomanish ways, remains unfortunately flat. Nevertheless, readers who enjoyed the previous volumes will relish the opportunity to re-enter pre-history one last time. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.