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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Used copy withdrawn from library circulation. In general good condition but may contain markings on the cover, along the page edges and on the title page/endpaper indicating library/withdrawn status. Paperbacks are generally laminated, Hardcovers generally include a protective dust jacket cover.
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The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children) Audio, Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged

3.1 out of 5 stars 1,285 customer reviews
Book 5 of 6 in the Earth's Children Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Jean Auel's fifth novel about Ayla, the Cro-Magnon cavewoman raised by Neanderthals, is the biggest comeback bestseller in Amazon.com history. In The Shelters of Stone, Ayla meets the Zelandonii tribe of Jondalar, the Cro-Magnon hunk she rescued from Baby, her pet lion. Ayla is pregnant. How will Jondalar's mom react? Or his bitchy jilted fiancée? Ayla wows her future in-laws by striking fire from flint and taming a wild wolf. But most regard her Neanderthal adoptive Clan as subhuman "flatheads." Clan larynxes can't quite manage language, and Ayla must convince the Zelandonii that Clan sign language isn't just arm-flapping. Zelandonii and Clan are skirmishing, and those who interbreed are deemed "abominations." What would Jondalar's tribe think if they knew Ayla had to abandon her half-breed son in Clan country? The plot is slow to unfold, because Auel's first goal is to pack the tale with period Pleistocene detail, provocative speculation, and bits of romance, sex, tribal politics, soap opera, and homicidal wooly rhino-hunting adventure. It's an enveloping fact-based fantasy, a genre-crossing time trip to the Ice Age. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The tiny minority of authors with the power to sell millions of novels each time out are a diverse bunch, but they share a talent for ushering readers into previously closed worlds, whether they're the top-secret inner sanctums of the American military or the ancient lands of magic. The best of them craft terrific stories that tap into universal topics, primal fears and deep-seated longings. In 1980, Auel became a member of this elite club. Her first novel, Clan of the Cave Bear, the exceptional and absorbing account of a bright Cro-Magnon girl struggling to understand the ways of the Neanderthals who adopted her, became a huge bestseller and launched the Earth's Children series, which has sold 34 million copies to date. In the next three of an intended six volumes, Ayla the Cro-Magnon girl grew up and put a pretty face on our earliest ancestors, as Auel explored the mother of all human themes: adapt or die. After the fourth bestseller, The Plains of Passage, however, 12 years elapsed, and Auel thereby added the protracted anticipation of her fans to her bestselling mix. Here at last, beautiful Ayla and her tall, gorgeous Cro-Magnon lover, Jondalar, arrive in Jondalar's Zelandonii homeland, to live with his clan in vast caves of what today is France. Travelling with a pet wolf and two horses, able to speak the strange language of the "flatheads," Ayla is once again an exotic outsider. Pregnant with Jondalar's child and as zealous in her desire to help as she is resourceful and creative as a medicine woman, Ayla soon wins the respect of the people she wishes to join. Bursting with hard information about ancient days and awash in steamy sex (though lacking the high suspense that marked Ayla's debut), Auel's latest will not only please her legions of fans but will hit the top of the list, pronto.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (April 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587889897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587889899
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 4.4 x 3.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,285 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,024,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By corglacier7 on September 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
First off, I'm very glad that I got this from the library and didn't waste my money.
This book hardly justifies a 12 year wait for some fans. 3 years, in my case. It's boring, repetitive, and doesn't even offer anything significant to justify its incredible length.
What about all the buildup, the incredible conflict we expected? What about Zolena, Jondalar's former lover, being a possible factor between Ayla and Jondalar? Nope, she has to be incredibly fat and thus sexually undesirable, an effectively neutered woman. Jondalar's former fiancee is portrayed as completely rabid and malicious, when she's more than entitled to a little resentment of Ayla and Jondalar. The man *jilted* her, after all. But no, if you dislike Ayla, that makes you rotten to the core.
The Zelandoni prejudice against the people of the Clan that we were all so afraid of? Dealt with in one tiny scene wherein all Zelandoni are ooing and ahhing over Ayla's sign language. Give me a break. That's disgustingly unreal, and a disgrace after all the hype about it for the past three books.
The "villains" are cardboard stereotypes. Those who aren't immediately enthralled by Ayla we *surprisingly* find are bad, evil people. I'm in mind of Frebec from "MH" here...he was a fully developed quasi-villain whose transformation was within the realms of belief. No such luck here. They're totally bad and have the utter gall to try and humiliate or hurt dear Ayla.
Ayla makes no faux pas, saves every situation with perfect panache, enchants everybody despite her having been raised by (and having had sex with) "animal flatheads". (Which everybody conveniently accepts despite long-standing prejudice that's been harped on for the past three books.
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Format: Hardcover
Did I mention repetition?
I came away feeling somewhat lukewarm towards this much-anticipated book. Definitely, there were enjoyable parts to it, even parts that moved me to tears.
However, this book had a much different pace to it than what I've come to expect from this series. For every event, it reviewed experiences from the earlier books in tiresome detail. Later in the book, it even reviewed experiences that happened in the first part of the book.
And, really, how many times did we have to read about the people's first reaction to meeting Wolf, Whinney, and Racer? Yes, the animals were new to the people, but they were not new to the readers. Recounting the same reaction from the dozens of people that met the animals as well as the never-ending recitation of all the formal names and ties of the characters made for tedious reading.
I'll admit to skipping the long narratives to get to the action. In the earlier books I was fascinated at Ms. Auel's extraordinary talent of setting the scene with lots of rich details. In this book, it just seemed to make the story plod, maybe because I had read most of it before.
This book is a definite, if somewhat disappointing, read for those that have been captivated by this series. I find myself eagerly awaiting the next book. I only hope the author once again warms to her subject and the plot instead of relying on page-fillers from past books.
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Format: Hardcover
My mom bought this book to read on a plane trip after reading the previous novels, and since I had also read them, she gave it to me after she was finished. Here for the first time I'm going to break one of my own personal rules and review a book that I didn't finish. I've read many hefty books with higher page counts in my time. Why didn't I finish Shelters of Stone? Because it's so drop dead boring, and because the main character's extreme Mary Sue-ish 'qualities' have really started to grate on my nerves.

I enjoyed Clan of the Cave Bear the best, since then things have been all downhill. With this book, things have fallen very far indeed. As other reviews have mentioned, there's an unbearable amount of repetition, not just of previous volumes, but repetition within the book itself. I'd be fine with it if it only happened once and then was skipped or abridged in later explinations, but no... We have to suffer through the complete retelling of everything every time. How many times can a reader suffer through the discovery of firestones without slitting their wrists with one? Now we know.

I gave up reading about halfway through, because nothing happened. And I mean really, nothing happened. Nada. Zip. They got to Jondalar's home. Everyone is over the fact that Ayla was raised by 'flatheads' in record time, wasting a plot point that had been built up in the last three books and turning it into a barely there afterthought. Anticlimactic is an understatement. Ayla gets introduced, gets tricked into wearing inappropriate clothing and there's a hunt. That's it. It took around 250 pages to get to this point. I've read better books that were over in fewer pages.

Then there's Ayla.
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10 Comments 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
...The Shelters of Stone is not a good book, and it is not a bad book that is fun. It's such an incredible departure from Auel's other books that I question whether she actually wrote it herself. Let me tell you why.
In the previous Earth's Children books, she tended to get somewhat flowery and overblown with descriptions of, say, prehistoric tundra landscapes or intricate cultural customs. But the overblown descriptions were at least engaging. She's never been a master of character development -- the characters have always been very one-sided, with the good people being superhumanly good and the bad people being very, very bad -- but at least she made you care about the characters to some extent. And she's never been particularly excellent at writing dialogue, but at least every once in awhile she'd hit upon something poignant, or funny, or interesting.
None of these things happen in the Shelters of Stone.
The book is a cold, stilted, haphazard, frankly [weak] attempt at continuing the story of Ayla, who loyal readers have known and loved and been following for over 20 years now. The characters are cut from cardboard and stuck in at random intervals where it seems convenient, not to move the story along. Not that there's much of a story -- frankly, about 3/4 of the book is exposition from the previous 4 books. Very little actually happens in Shelters of Stone that you haven't seen happen in the previous books. Ayla and Jondalar meet the Zelandonii, and then every time they meet someone new there's the endless round of introductions, they have to explain Ayla's background, how she got the animals, the spear-throwers, the firestones, etc. etc. ad nauseum.
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