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The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children, Book Six Mass Market Paperback – November 22, 2011

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The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children, Book Six + The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children, Book 5) + The Plains of Passage
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

What began 30 years ago with Auel�s best-seller The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980), namely the phenomenally popular Ice Age�era Earth�s Children series, comes to an end in the sixth installment. Now a wife and mother, Ayla lives among the Zelandoni, the people of her mate, Jondalar, but she hasn�t forgotten the ways of the people who raised her. Ayla is training to become a spiritual leader, and her devotion to this calling takes its toll on her union with Jondalar. On their journeys, Ayla and her friends contend with earthquakes, a band of marauding rapists, and even an outbreak of prehistoric chicken pox. When Ayla and Jondalar get wistful for the days when they were alone with their animals, readers might find themselves feeling similarly. As was the case with The Shelters of Stone (2002), there�s not a lot of urgency in this final volume, but the millions of readers who have been with Ayla from the start will want to once again lose themselves in the rich prehistoric world Auel conjures and see how this internationally beloved series concludes. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Auel�s novels have been record-breaking mega-best-sellers, with 45 million copies worldwide, ensuring that readers will clamor for the series finale. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Earth's Children (Book 6)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Mass Paperback Edition edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553289438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553289435
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,258 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,850 of 1,903 people found the following review helpful By B. Junkin-Mills VINE VOICE on March 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am almost 50 years old, and I was in high school when the first Earth's Children book (Clan of the Cave Bear) came out. I LOVED it. I was so excited for the second book (Valley of the Horses)which came out while I was in college... and it was even better. One of my favorite books ever. The third book (Mammoth Hunters) came out a few years later and I did love it... though I thought the whole love triangle was really contrived. 5 long years went by til we got the 4th installment (Plains of Passage), I was going nuts waiting for it... and I was disappointed. It was very, very repetitive, and over-long, and detailed to the point of tedium. But there was still a plot, and some conflict inherent in a long journey, and some exciting moments. I didn't hate it. TWELVE years went by til book 5 (Shelters of Stone), and it was so boring that I never re-read it (I have re-read the first 3 probably a dozen times in the past 30 years)and honestly I barely remember what happened. So I was thrilled to see this 6th and final book, but I was also worried.

Sadly, I was right to be worried. This is so disappointing. I barely care about Ayla or Jondalar anymore. I feel like Jean Auel painted herself into a corner by making both of them so perfect and so good at everything and so in love.... there's no conflict unless it's forced and contrived. 'Cave Bear' had all the conflict of the Cro-Magnon girl living with the Neanderthal clan... very organic conflict. 'Horses' had the fabulous juxtaposition of the two difficult scary journeys and then Ayla and Jondalar meeting and discovering each other. Again, very organic. 'Mammoth' had some natural conflict - Ayla meeting her first group of people and admitting her background, but some forced conflict (love triangle) thrown in.
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752 of 770 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ms Auel,

I get it. You didn't really want to write about Ayla and Jondalar anymore. 31 years is a long time, and all you
really wanted to do was enjoy your golden years, touring Europe and looking at ancient caves. That's fair. But I've got to ask. If you wanted to write about old painted caves, why not just write a book about them? Your book can have a cover with a picture of a cave painting and a tagline "by the author of Clan of the Cave Bear"; I've a feeling that would help it sell. But don't take the material for that book, insert some occasional dialogue, and call it the finale to your celebrated Earth's Children series.

My expectations of The Land of Painted Caves were not especially high, thanks to the sharp downturn in the quality of the series after The Mammoth Hunters, yet somehow it still managed to disappoint me. Should you decide to call Painted Caves a frame job and write a new final book, here's my advice:

- Your book is some 700 pages long. I mean, OK, it makes it easier to fantasise about using it to bludgeon the characters to death for criminal idiocy once we reach Part 3, but your book only has maybe 100 pages worth of actual plot, so I'm kind of left wondering if you actually had an editor for this thing, and if so, whether they're now spending their unemployment check on hard liquor to help drown the shame.

- I imagine there are very few people reading this who haven't read your earlier books. You really, really don't need to recap EVERYTHING that happened in them. Did the notes you had out to remind yourself of stuff somehow get mixed into the manuscript?
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303 of 310 people found the following review helpful By marcinetta on April 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Hoo boy.

To be honest, I didn't expect a next book in this series. I had thought that Jean Auel "walked the next world." But no, she's alive and kicking and has recently expelled the latest, and purportedly last, book in her Earth's Children series, The Land of Painted Caves.

As many have said before me, this book is almost mystifyingly bad. It is as if Jean Auel had deliberately set out to dismiss every plot point of potential interest. Characterization, if I may use the term here, is slim to none. Worse, she seems to introduce potential sources of tension or plot interest only to resolve them in the least interesting manner possible. Then, when she does opt to introduce plot points, they are poorly thought out, often unresolved and largely out of character. Finally, she fails to bring any resolution to most of the burning questions present throughout the series.

From here on, I will discuss the plot of the book, though as others have pointed out, the word "spoiler" seems silly in this context.

First third: Ayla trains as a Zelandoni and nurses her daughter, Jonayla. A lot. Special treat: Wolf takes a dump in the cave.

Second third: Ayla tours all the painted caves. Weirdly, the origins of the paintings are still left vague. I think it would have been funnier if someone had been like, "Oh yeah, those aurochs were painted by my hearthmate Ladida. Pretty good, right?" Jonayla starts speaking and riding horses. Of course, she's the cutest little girl ever!

Third third: Plot! We find out that Jondalar has been boning mean girl Marona (I keep wanting to write Marthona, but that's his mom, gross) because his "needs are too strong" and he got lonely while Ayla was touring all those caves.
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