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The Mammoth Hunters: Earth's Children, Book Three Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1986
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From Publishers Weekly
The authenticity of background detail, the lilting prose rhythms and the appealing conceptual audacity that won many fans for The Clan of the Cave Bear and The Valley of the Horses continue to work their spell in this third installment of Auel's projected six-volume Earth's Children saga set in Ice Age Europe. The heroine, 18-year-old Ayla, cursed and pronounced dead by the "flathead" clan that reared her, now takes her chances with the mammoth-hunting Mamutoi, attended by her faithful lover, Jondalar. Gradually overcoming the prejudice aroused by her flathead connection, Ayla wins acceptance into the new clan through her powers as a healer, her shamanistic potential, her skill with spear and slingshot and her way with animals (she rides a horse, domesticates a wolf cub, both "firsts," it would seem, and even rides a lion). She also wins the heart of a bone-carving artist of "sparkling wit" (not much in evidence), which forces her to make a painful choice between the curiously complaisant Jondalar, her first instructor in love's delights, and this more charismatic fellow. The story is lyric rather than dramatic, and Ayla and her lovers are projections of a romantic rather than a historical imagination, but readers caught up in the charm of Auel's story probably won't care. 750,000 first printing; $300,000 ad/promo; paperback rights to Bantam; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club dual main selections; author tour. Foreign rights: Jean Naggar. December 6
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Ayla, the prehistoric heroine of Auel's immensely popular series, meets a new clan, the mammoth hunters, in this eagerly awaited third installment to the saga. During her sojourn with this clan, Ayla and her lover, Jondalar, encounter a variety of crises triggered by Ayla's past and her involvement with another man. Auel has created an amazing and fascinating world. Every aspect of society and culture is accounted for; no detail is too small to be included. To enjoy this novel the reader must accept the author's concepts and cultural descriptions. Despite the sometimes too-modern dialogue and the often fatuous sex, this is a solid tale that will be particularly enjoyed by those who've been following Ayla's fortunes. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club dual main selections. Lydia Burruel, Mesa P.L., Ariz.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the first two books, "The Clan of the Cave Bear" and "The Valley of Horses", the huge amount of detail about the climates, landscapes, and plantlife never really bothered me too much, but in this book (and the last book, "Plains of Passage") I found it dwelt on the most trivial little things for ages! Most of the new characters are fairly likable, though none of them truly stand out, except maybe Rydag. Sometimes the author Ms. Auel seems more interested in Ayla's animal friends than in the people. A very large portion of this book is dedicated to the "love triangle" between Ayla, Jondalar, and Ranec, and this is frustrating for a number of reasons. First, it isn't really a love triangle at all; it is a "misunderstanding" between Ayla and Jondalar which causes Ranec to think that Ayla is available. Second, Ranec is an annoying and slightly creepy character, so I was never really interested in what the heck happened to him. Third, it takes over three hundred pages to resolve this issue!! Literally, three hundred pages of Ayla and Jondalar staring longingly at each other when the other one isn't looking, saying awkward things to each other, getting angry with each other, and so on. That doesn't mean that all three hundred pages are monotonous or boring. There are some very sad and touching scenes that will stay with you: Jondalar crying and clutching the wolf puppy at night while Ayla is sleeping with Ranec; Ayla sobbing to Mamut (the old MogUr-like character), asking him why Jondalar doesn't love her anymore; Jondalar losing control of himself when he's alone with Ayla and taking her by force (though she allows it); Ayla panicking and confessing her feelings when Jondalar leaves without her. These, and a few other scenes, are very endearing, though you may want to scream at Jondalar once in a while for not seeing what's so plainly obvious to everyone else. It never really leaves the reader's mind that all this drama and heartache could have been resolved in about two minutes if the two people just spoke to each other.
On a side note, there seems to be a lot of people taking issue with the sex scenes in this series and I find it very odd. There is also violence, death, and (in the first book) a brutal rape scene, but no-one seems too concerned about these things. I'd call that a serious misplacement of values. Ayla and Jondalar are both adults and in love, so what's the problem? If you're squeamish about the sex scenes, then just skip them! The explicit descriptions are pretty entertaining, if you ask me! Ms. Auel uses hilarious adjectives for the sex scenes (eg. "Jondalar's large throbbing manhood", "Ayla's pink place of pleasure", ect.) that had me laughing out loud at some points!! In the fourth book, Ayla and Jondalar even "invent" the 69 position!
In conclusion, I'll say that this book (and the fourth) is worth reading if you have already read the first two and really enjoyed them. As a stand-alone novel, it doesn't quite work. It's entertaining at times, but nowhere near as brilliant as the first, or as fun as the second.
I think I liked this one the best so far. I wanted to thump Jondalar more often than not. Communicate, was the word I shouted to the book, communicate! But then I guess that would have left a very short book.
I have already ordered the Audible version of the next book and download the Kindle version. I have no idea why I had never read all these before. Jean M. Auel is quite the story teller! Oh, yeah, the books are all so heavy that my hands would have ached trying to read them.
Sandra Burr's narration was more flawless than in the previous books.
Well, I can hardly wait to get started on the next one.
Don't give up on this great series. Finally, I always believed that this novel and "Clan" should be taught in high school. That's the liberal mind in me. Bear in mind however, that most high school district school boards would be aghast to allow the openness of how life was back then for the major characters with or without the sex scenes. But it should be read, at least this book and "Clan." It's okay with three stars, but could have been better with quality editing.