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The Land of Painted Caves: A Novel

The Land of Painted Caves: A Novel

Book rating: 01 Hardback Earth's Children

By (author) Jean M. Auel

List price $31.32

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  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 672 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 240mm x 55mm | 998g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0340824255
  • ISBN 13: 9780340824252
  • Illustrations note: 2 maps
  • Sales rank: 2,813

Product description

THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES concludes the story of Ayla, her mate Jondalar, and their little daughter, Jonayla, taking readers on a journey of discovery and adventure as Ayla struggles to find a balance between her duties as a new mother and her training to become a Zelandoni - one of the Ninth Cave community's spiritual leaders and healers. Once again, Jean Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived thousands of years ago, rendering the terrain, dwelling places, longings, beliefs, creativity and daily lives of Ice Age Europeans as real to the reader as today's news.

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Author information

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 and Letters by the French Minister of Culture and Communication in 2008.

Customer reviews

By marleen molloy 22 Aug 2012 4

unlike all the other people who gave reviews, i actually really enjoyed the parts in the book describing the caves. i did not find them boring at all, but then again i read a very wide variety of books, including non-fiction, historical, medical and religious/ancient history books, so that may have had something to do with that....
i did find that on the whole Ayla's, Jondolar's and Jonayla's story were told in a very hurried and wishy washy way (in fact Jonayla was barely mentioned at all which i was sorely disappointed in after all Ayla's longing for another Child after having to leave behind her son). this book does sort of give us an ending to the series but at the same time it is left wide open for continuation...
if you have read all the other books i truly think you should read this final book. i enjoyed it a quite a lot and hope you will too
i gave this book 4 stars because i did in fact enjoy the cave paintings, her whole journey in the book and how Ayla's character was portrayed. not boring, but it did seem a bit hurried.

By Vincent McMahon 24 Jan 2012 1

I have read the whole series and thought both the Clan of the Cave Bears and The Valley of the Horses were extremely interesting books with well developed plots. The books since that time have, in my view, become progressively weaker and repetitive and, sadly, the Land of the Painted Caves has hit rock bottom. It seems to have served as a thinly-veiled platform for demonstrating the author's knowledge of the period, using the intellectual capital of previous books in place of a plot. Even Jondalar's betrayal was a virtual re-run of an earlier story and was a weak artifice to add some interest to the book.

I found it an excruciating read and like some other readers, I ended up skipping through the book as the visits to the caves were virtually a repeated cycle of descriptions and reactions. It becomes increasingly difficult to accept that Ayla's relationship with animals is so unique and unusual in a society of hunter/gatherer's that it inspires awe wherever she goes. Unfortunately her character as a guileless innocent, which suited her so well in earlier books, let's her down as she is aged.

Oh well - my first review and not a good one. Hopefully the series is either stopped or returns in a way that invokes the reader's interest.

By Lee-Anne McKinnon 08 Oct 2011 1

Oops forgot to change the rating on my last post. Definitely not a 5!! Sorry folks.
******************

I totally agree with what most other reviewers have written. This is by far the worst book in the series, and I would probably say, the worst book I have read in many years!

It was so tedious and boring that I did contemplate giving up but kept reading in the hope that some of the unfinished story lines of the past book(s) were closed. Alas, I was disappointed.

What was she thinking when she wrote this book? It seems so self-serving. This is how much I know about painted caves, look at all the research I've done, blah, blah. It's all good and well, but I was well over it by the end. I even commented to a friend, that I was 600 pages into it and still felt that nothing had happened!

My recommendation: Don't read the damn thing!

By Michaela Patel 30 Aug 2011 1

I've just finished ploughing through this book, willing myself to finish it, hoping for a good ending. It was a chore. I feel as though the editor, if there was one, didn't dare suggest any changes or serious cuts to the esteemed author. So much unnecessary repetition! I really enjoyed the previous books in the series, especially the early ones which I read 20 years ago, and reread over the past year. But I really felt as if the author had run out of inspiration. There was no real plot. The painted caves which are incredible (according to National Geographic articles I've read) sounded dull and boring. The descriptions were remote and technical and did not give much sense of wonder or personal experience for Ayla and her companions.

For a final book in a series, there are so many loose ends left hanging, and a few more created. Characters such as Brukeval and Madroman conveniently run away; visions of Durc and others are left unexplained. All the action in the story was concentrated in the final 100 pages or so. I'm sure the rest of the book could, and indeed should, have been culled significantly. 661 pages could easily have become about 400 with a strong editor.

If you haven't read the series yet, stop with the 6th book - Shelters of Stone. You don't need to read the final one.

By Leah 27 Apr 2011 2

Like many readers, this series is one of my favourites (and I only have two). I anticipated the arrival of this book so much and I do feel let down though I wouldn't go to the extremes of some reviewers I've seen (not on this site).

Firstly, as everyone is pointing out, it's repetitive and oftentimes, tedious. I found myself skimming over the cave visits, introductions (there's only so much you can take of Wolf sniffing one's hand or people wondering about the 'foreign women with animals and strange accent') and eventually skipping the Mothers Song and references to past books as I already know the series so well. I understand that the author writes these past references to benefit new readers who didn't read the earlier ones, like she does with all her books. Though I felt LOPC's past references seemed longer but I could be wrong. It could be that the tedium was getting to me.

I too felt that this book was written by a different person. In the first 5 books, it's almost a day-by-day story of Ayla's life, but in this one, we skip years ahead at some points. The first 5 books drew me in to the point where I feel like I know Ayla and Jondalar personally. This book didn't have the same feeling - their relationship almost seemed non-existent, nothing like the loving couple who I admired so much previously. Their love gets lost in this book and we don't see it emerge again until the end by which time you've had that feeling of deja vu (MH) and over the same story occurring once again (jealousy, Clan roots ceremony, Jondalar's love saving Ayla's life).

I had looked forward to Ayla getting closure regarding Durc, and perhaps the Clan being more involved - at the end of SoS, Joharran and the Zelandonii are all considering trading or meeting with them at least but this leads to nothing in the last book. I also would've preferred a Madroman/Brukeval showdown of some sort instead of them both just running off never to be heard of again - at least the gang that was rounded up showed more guts and tried to fight!

I must also admit that Jondalar being with Marona upset me hugely! Of all people for Jondalar to do it with? After she humiliated the love of his life (whom he feels too strongly about for his own good apparently) and who is just such an unlikeable character!! I was gutted and angry. But for Ayla to counteract with Laramar, someone she despises greatly because he doesn't care for his kids - it's all very out of character and odd. Especially given she'd just found out the essence of man is what makes a baby, then she hits the sack with Laramar?

I would've liked Jonayla to play a bigger part...she always seems to be with her dad or, at the summer camp, at Levela's.

I know there's many other issues but I'll leave at this for now. I'm sure other's can come up the rest.

Let's hope we see a 7th book with all these issues addressed! Though I won't blame people for being skeptical about buying/reading the 7th book (if there is one) after the letdown of this long awaited book.

Review quote

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 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 Incredibly poignant and relevant to today Sun 4 stars She does have a most extraordinary talent for recreating lost worlds Kate Saunders, Books Quarterly