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The Land of Painted Caves

The Land of Painted Caves

Book rating: 03 Paperback

By (author) Jean M. Auel

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  • Publisher: Hodder Paperback
  • Format: Paperback | 800 pages
  • Dimensions: 116mm x 177mm x 51mm | 414g
  • Publication date: 22 November 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1444720570
  • ISBN 13: 9781444720570
  • Sales rank: 12,448

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

Customer reviews

By Marianne Vincent 17 Dec 2012 3

The Land of Painted Caves is the sixth novel in the Earth's Children series by American author Jean M. Auel. The events of this novel span about six years, and cover Ayla's vocation as Acolyte of the First Among Those Who Serve The Great Earth Mother, including her Donier tour of the Painted Caves and her subsequent calling as a Zelandoni. Whilst some novels in this series contain slabs of text from previous novels (which can be more or less helpful, depending on how recent one's reading of the previous novel has been), this novel's repetition takes a different form. Each visit on the Donier tour follows (with minor variations) the formula of: Ayla, Jondalar and Jonayla arrive on Whinney, Racer and Grey, dragging the travois with the First riding; Ayla amazes the locals with her control of the horses and Wolf; Ayla surprises the locals with her healing prowess, her sign language, her fire-making abilities; Jondalar demonstrates his spear thrower; they are shown cave paintings; rinse and repeat. Whilst a visit to a painted cave is, no doubt, fascinating in person, it takes a better author than Auel to write descriptions that don't become tedious or repetitive. The 27-page description of the Great Earth Mother's Most Sacred Site will test even the most devoted Auel fan's endurance. The other repetition is at the end of the novel where the misunderstanding between Ayla and Jondalar is resolved in almost exactly the same manner as in The Mammoth Hunters. That said, Auel's meticulous research is apparent in every paragraph. It is no wonder this runs to almost 800pages as she manages to incorporate an incredible amount of information about literally every aspect of life during the Upper Paleolithic Era, and does so skilfully, so that only occasionally does the dialogue feel like a lecture. I was interested to learn about the meaning of fringes, and to discover that white-water rafting was done a lot earlier that I'd ever dreamed. The novel ends with the population on the cusp of a major change in thinking about the role of men and women: while the way is open for another novel, at 10-12 years per novel, Auel would be 86 by the time it was published, so it is no surprise that this novel has been publicised as the last of the series. Long but interesting.

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