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    The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children (Numbered Paperback)) (Paperback) By (author) Jean M. Auel

    05

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    DescriptionAyla and Jondalar have reached home: 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 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 tranquillity; 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 accept that she has a greater role to play in the destiny of the Zelandonii.


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    Consistently Brilliant5

    Rebecca Bateson Auel has combined research and imagination so well in this series of books that you can't tell where one ends and the other starts. In particular I love the underlying belief system (earth-Goddess worship) of the characters and their relationship to the world they live in. It's natural, believable and I find myself wondering how Auel can know so much about them and their religion. Then I give myself a shake and remind myself that it's fiction.

    The book is by no means perfect, mind you. The character of Ayla is clearly a fictional representation - here's a woman who's stunning, brilliant and so gifted that she borders on Goddess-like. Somehow by book five this is starting to grate on me a little, as is her relationship with Jondalar which still seems somehow awkward and forced at times. I'm also not a fan of the little recaps Auel is so fond of inserting at regular intervals - I understand that she's catching newcomers up but those of us who have read the other four books are probably getting a bit tired of it.

    Criticisms aside, the Shelters of Stone is the fifth book in the Earth's Children series and yet it fits so neatly in with the others that you're probably better off thinking of it as the fifth part of one book. Despite the huge gap between publishing Auel has managed to maintain a phenomenal consistency. A worthy addition to the series, The Shelters of Stone is highly recommended. by Rebecca Bateson

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