The Land of Painted Caves

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Overview

The highly anticipated sixth book of Jean Auel's Earth's Children® series, THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES, is the culmination fans have been waiting for. Continuing the story of Ayla and Jondalar, Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived more than 25,000 years ago. THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES is an exquisite achievement by one of the world's most beloved authors.

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The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children #6)

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Overview

The highly anticipated sixth book of Jean Auel's Earth's Children® series, THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES, is the culmination fans have been waiting for. Continuing the story of Ayla and Jondalar, Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived more than 25,000 years ago. THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES is an exquisite achievement by one of the world's most beloved authors.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780340824269
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2011

Meet the Author

In 1980, Jean M. Auel became a literary legend with The Clan of the Cave Bear, the first book in her Earth’s Children® series. Now a mother, grandmother, and author who has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, Auel is a heroine of history and prehistory alike, changing the world one enthralling page at a time.

Biography

Born in Chicago in 1936, Jean Marie Untinen married Ray Bernard Auel after high school, raised five children, and attended college at night while working for an electronics firm in Portland, Oregon. Shortly after earning her MBA in 1976, she was inspired by a story idea so powerful it effectively consumed her for the next few years. In a single creative burst, she conceived a sweeping epic set in prehistoric Europe and featuring a unique heroine: a young Cro-Magnon woman named Ayla, raised as a misfit in a society of inhospitable Neandertals. Auel quit her job, immersed herself in research, and began writing nearly nonstop.

At first, Auel imagined she had the makings of a single book. But when she completed her first draft (more than 450,000 words!), she realized that the story fell naturally into six parts, each one demanding a novel all its own. She worked feverishly on the first installment, revising parts of it as many as 20 and 30 times. Published in 1980, The Clan of the Cave Bear became an instant bestseller, marking the start of the thrilling, totally original Ice Age saga, Earth's Children.

The series owes much of its appeal to Auel's feminist protagonist Ayla, a preternaturally resourceful woman with all the skills and abilities of men but without their warlike qualities. She is the first to ride a horse, tame a wolf, and make fire from flint; she understands the healing power of herbs; and, as the novels progress, she develops mystical, even shamanic powers. Readers were understandably intrigued.

Although Auel writes speculative fiction, she receives high marks for historical accuracy. In the interest of creating an authentic Ice Age setting, her research has led her in interesting, unpredictable directions. She has read extensively, traveled to archeological sites around the world, and learned through various sources how to knapp flint, tan hides, construct snow caves, and prepare medicinal herbs. What emerges in her writing is a precise evocation of time and place that provides a realistic and enthralling backdrop to Ayla's adventures.

Good To Know

Jean's last name is pronounced like "owl."

Before becoming a bestselling novelist, Jean worked as a clerk, a circuit board designer, a credit manager, and a technical writer.

Jean's extensive research into Ice Age Europe has taken her to prehistoric sites in France, Austria, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine, the Soviet Union, Hungary, and Germany.

When Jean first gazed at the Paleolithic paintings on the walls of Altamira's caves, she was so moved she began to cry.

Jean's advice to aspiring writers of historical fiction: "Write what you love to learn about."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jean Marie Untinen Auel (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Portland, Oregon
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 18, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      M.B.A., University of Portland, 1976
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 1653 )
Rating Distribution

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4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1667 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2011

    Good but Lacks Focus

    I was fortunate enough to luck into an uncorrected proof, and I eagerly started reading. At the time, I didn't realize I could've virtually skimmed the first 300 pages and been none the worse to understand the story. The tale starts with our dear Ayla and Jondalar sharing the lives of the other Zelandonii with their daughter, Jonayla. Since Ayla is in training, the First plans a tour for her. They visit a local painted cave, Ayla and the others admire the artwork. They wonder what the animals, dots and handprints mean. Lather, rinse, repeat. I lost count of the number of caves Ayla and Co. visit during her tour. At many junctures, she asks what the art means. Nobody gives her a coherent answer, not even the artist Jonokol, who stops in one cave to create his own vision on the walls. By this time, I began to skim. The story doesn't really take off again until Part III, by which time Jonayla is six years old. No spoilers -- but had the first 2/3 of the book undergone better editing (maybe a cave or two, but so many? and what was the POINT?), the tale would basically have begun here. Many threads from the prior books would come together, though some did not. I have no issue with this -- it's like life. But the book would have done better at 400 pages than 755. My opinion, and I've loved the previous books. This one would've been really terrific, had it not lost focus on story.

    92 out of 94 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2011

    So disappointed . . .

    I have been an avid fan of this series since I was in high school and I was thrilled when this book came out. Until I got halfway through it and realized it was the most boring, mishmash of stupid plot devices known to man. Was there any purpose to the "Donier Tour"? Did the Mother's song really need to be in the book six times in it's entirety? The only true plot development occurred in the last third of the book and it felt like an afterthought stuck on to appease people. I don't think that this book adequately finished the series and I'm disappointed that this is the way it has ended for the series.

    75 out of 77 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Long and Repetitive

    This book should only be read by Ayla fans. Hallelujah this is billed as the last book of the series.

    The author takes a long and tedious road to tell us about Ayla finally becoming the woman she was meant to be. The story could have been told in 200 pages rather than 700. There is a lot of repetition from the previous books. But there is more than a fair share of repetition of scenes in the latest book. After all, once I've read about the "absorbsent pads" Ayla uses on her new baby, I don't need to read it ten more times.

    Savvy readers will have figured out Ayla's destiny by the time they finally labor their way to the middle of the book. There are the usual love triangles that are just as obvious. In this reader's opinion, this is middle school writing. I'm glad it's the last of the series as I don't think I could bring myself to read another.

    If you have read the other 5 books and have a need to complete the story, then go ahead. Oh...and don't let the thicknness of the book fool you. Most of you will read it quickly because, like me, you will find yourself skimming through page after page of fauna/flora descriptions and mind-numbing repetition of the countless introductions of the "woman who rules horses and the four-legged hunter called Wolf".

    57 out of 58 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hope she got her soul back...

    When I read Clan of the Cave Bear in 1985, I thought it was one of the best books I had ever read-loved it and couldn't wait to read the next one. Valley of Horses, if possible was better. I was were ever to be stranded in the wilderness, I felt I could live off the land, pick berries and dig a pit!! It was a great read. Mammoth Hunters-at first I wasn't too crazy about it-became more of a romance novel, and Plains of Passage...well I know more about grass, soil and mammoth mating practices than I need too. But, still, it was a good book, and was still re-reading all of them, everytime a new one was coming out. Then, came the big one, the anticipated Great Book! What a huge disappointment. 750 pages of...soap opera. And only one year?? THe first time I read it, I actually though that Ms. Auel didn't write the book; it was just too childish and the style was wrong. Then, after re-reading it, came to the conclusion that she had, but was just getting bored with Ayla, and was filling pages to fill a contract. She is contracted for only 6 books, so Painted Caves will be the finale. How can she fit the rest of Ayla's life into just one more book? I'm just thankful that she gave us Ayla as she was in the first 4 books-it will leave me with my own image of how she lived the rest of her life.

    39 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2010

    Hope it's better than last installment

    I will not be rushing to immediately purchase this book. After the total disappointment of Shelters of Stone, I refuse to purchase until I can be sure it's not a repetition of books one through 5 with a bit of something thrown in all wrapped up in 700 plus pages. Like other fans of the Earth Children's series, I waited 12 years for SoS only to find a book that was basically made up of complete pages of the other books. There may have been 250 pages of new text in a 700 plus page book. This time I wait a few months then I'll decide whether or not to download onto my nook.

    37 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    sadly disappointing.

    I was really looking forward to this book I had read the series over again as soon as I found out number 6 was being released. This series has been 30 years in the making and I loved them so much. Maybe that was reason enough not to get too excited about this one, maybe there was no way it could live up to my expectations. This wasn't a bad book and since this was an advance copy maybe the editors will fix some of the things that weren't really right with it and make it more enjoyable. The main thing is that nothing really ever happens. The advance copy was a 757 pages long trade paper and NOTHING all that exciting happened in all those pages. It was too many repeats of things already covered in the other books. The titles repeated again and again, the tea preparations, the Mothers song, another bunch of renegade men for Ayla to deal with. At least Jondalar does something unexpected but it wasn't a good thing and it made me not like him any more and it ruined that for me. The beginning starts out with Ayla still an acolyte, training to be a Zelandoni (a shaman or medicine woman) they go on a tour of sacred cave sites to see the paintings put there by the ancients. They go from cave to cave, page after page and talk about the different paintings and what they think they all mean. This takes up a good half of the book. Very little happens through the whole thing, in places it was like she thought about writing something and you thought ok something is going to happen now but then she would just stop where she was going and start in about tea or introductions, or how "pleasures" really do make babies. I would liked to have seen less repetition and less about her having to make water and using the night basket, her moon cycles, Wolf taking a dump in the caves, and about her holding her daughter up to make water, it was all WAY unnecessary. I would loved to have read more about them trying to start trade meetings with the clan with Ayla using their sign language, finding and raising more horses and showing other people how to train them. I also thought there should have been more about their daughter Jonayla, she's there, but her character just isn't explored enough for you to really get to know her. All in all, if you've read the whole series so far you'll want to read this one just to finish the story but don't be expecting anything much to happen, or for this to be a big wonderful finish. Now I wish she had just finished it with Plains of Passage or Shelter of Stones. If I ever read them again that's where I'm stopping.

    35 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2011

    Snore, snore, snore...oh FINALLY something happens!

    I was hugely disappointed in this book overall. As a huge "Clan Series" fan, I was thrilled to see this book finally hit the shelves, only to be bored to death by the first 400-500 pages or so. The entire first two-thirds of the book can simply be ignored, because the real "meat" doesn't happen until the last few hundred pages (reading it on a Nook makes it difficult to determine the exact page content). While I generally love Auel's descriptive style, I believe the entire donier cave tour (which was fully 2/3s of the book) was simply a waste of her time and mine. Little of it had relevance to who Ayla is or was to become. While the last third of the book was better, there were no surprises, and old story lines seemed to have been re-hashed. That being said, I still loved the story once things began to "happen" again. The ending was ambiguous at best, and left the field wide open for another sequel. I would love to see another book in the series that holds true to the older titles...with things actually happening throughout the story and, finally, an absolute ending. Characters who have been largely ignored or forgotten need a new voice...especially that of Jonayla, who it seems is the new hope of the Zeladonii, though she is largely ignored for the most part. The future of the Cave and its people need a definitive bridge to our current world. And the voice of Ayla needs to find her true power in her new life and span the bridge between her world and ours. One more and much better, please, Ms. Auel!

    25 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    what happened?

    Is this the same person who wrote 'Clan of the Cave Bear?' This author has to be an impostor writing under the name Auel. I say 'has to be' because i find it impossible to believe that Jean Auel would allow such a travesty to happen. If in fact Auel did write this novel, she must have been under duress of some kind. A gun to the head? Debilitating illness? Lobotomy? Financial strain? Did a real life Ayla run off with her man? What happened? Does Jean hate us or what? How many times do we need to hear about what was eaten, how it was eaten, who ate it, where the food came from, and what kind of dish they ate it in? I get that they're big tea drinkers and there's lots and lots of caves, with lots and lots of animals drawn in them. I just don't think 700 pages were needed to establish that. It pains me deeply to say this, but this book rambles like your grandpa talking about the war.

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    Beyond disappointing, I actually got mad reading it...

    My father introduced me to the Earth's Children series when I was in middle school, and I LOVED it: the writing, the characters, the way the book was able to transport me directly into the series. Sadly my father passed away before Shelters of Stone was published, but I remember with great fondness the excitement we both felt when Plains of Passage was issued. So obviously, I have strong sentimental ties to this last book, beyond enjoying a fantastic story. *POTENTIAL SPOILERS* Admittedly, I read it on my Nook, which changes the experience from a traditional book, but even taking that into consideration, there didn't seem to be any flow to the story. It takes place in 3 parts, but the 3 don't tie together well AT ALL. As others have mentioned, the second part of the book is the Donier Tour, and the only point I think Jean was trying to make was how much research she did on the caves in the area. New characters were introduced, and then dropped rather quickly, without the full character development we got in the first few books of the series. It was, "here's a new cave, here's new people, moving on now..." While I found the endless repetition of the previous books boring, I knew enough to skim through those sections. It was the last third of the book that really irritated me (no other word for it). A major character all of a sudden acts in a way that is completely inconsistent with the other books in the series, and it was done abruptly and I felt cheated of the wonderful story/character development that had been going on through out the series. As others have mentioned there were several plotlines that were hinted at, then left hanging at the end. I know Jean said this was the last book in the series, but it seemed like a deliberate attempt to set up another book. If it wasn't, than I think it was a horrible way to end a series that so many people loved for so long. There were many potential storylines that could have been used (interaction with the local Clan, reconnecting with her son/old Clan, etc.), which would have been better than what she actually published. My recommendation, if you have been a fan of the series you may need to read the book to give yourself the conclusion you have been waiting for, but it may leave you sadly disappointed.

    20 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

    Disapointing

    After awaiting the final book in this series for several years to come out I must say it was disappointing. 700+ pages of rehashing old stories from the other books and a tour of the painted caves that really explained nothing. And the only thing learned was knowledge of how children are conceived?

    Auel waited too long to write this book and semed to forget what made these books a good read. Ayla's adventures along with Jondular. What about her son Durc and the Clan? What about the Others and Clan members interaction? THeres was whole lot I think she could have written about to complete the story of Ayla.

    Sorry I was sadly disapointed. :(

    18 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    So dissappointing

    I cannot believe I am going to say this, but I am 300 pages in and don't think I can finish it. It is so boring and repetative.

    I absolutely loved the rest of the series and just find this book so lacking in everything that makes the others so great. It's like another person wrote this one using notecards from the old books.

    If zero stars was an option, I would have chosen that.

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The unfortunate result of wild success

    The problem with the latter volumes of the Earth's Children novels is the same we've seen with other series that start out with a bang and then wander off. Anne Rice's Vampires, Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta mysteries and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander spring to mind. The problem is they may not have started as series. The author, talented as she may be, did not start out to create a multi-volume saga, but one great book. But what happens when the book becomes a phenomenon? Suddenly fans, publishers, booksellers, agents and your mom are pestering you day and night, "WHEN's the next one!!??" The author may wonder, dismayed, "WHAT next one?" Then she goes back to her desk and pulls together those ideas that had to be cut from the first one and writes a second book. A good writer can sustain this for a while, til all the juice has been squeezed from the initial (admittedly great) idea. But by this time the fans are even more numerous, the money even bigger, your mom even prouder, your agent greedier. And they all demand "WHERE'S THE NEXT ONE!!?? The amount of time between books grows longer as the author struggles to meet the expectations of hysterically devoted fans. So cut poor Jean Auel a break. The Land of Painted Caves is probably a book she never intended when she wrote the outstanding Clan of the Cave Bear so many years ago.

    13 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    Disappointing and dull

    After waiting 9 years or so for this final (?) installment in the series, I was sadly disappointed. There were warning signs...some of Auel's previous books were bogged down in needless and repetitive retellings of events that her readers were already totally familiar with (and I'm looking at you, "Plains of Passage"); but Land of Painted Caves takes it down to a whole new level.
    By page 450 or so I actually found myself skimming the pages, skipping past endless descriptions of one cave after another, one plant's medicinal and culinary properties after another, one rendition of The Mother's Song after another and God only knows how many of Ayla's flashbacks to her experience with the Clan Mogurs and their scary ceremony (we get it, she was scared. move on).
    Readers of Auel's books have come to love her strong characters-this book weakens and flattens them into voices for anthropological theories with no real motivations or feelings of their own. The have become Ayn Rand characters, simple vehicles for theories and statements. Ayla's continuing development into modern human's intelligent Eve is the driving plot line and rather than interesting and enlightening it becomes tedious and worn out.
    I have nothing but admiration for Auel's exhaustive research and even her theories, but I was looking forward to a good story about great characters and a strong resolution. Instead, I'm filing this in the "done and over" section and moving on.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Everyone has a different opinion

    I read Clan of the cavebear for the first time when I was about 10 years old. In my honest opinion, it is one of the best series I have ever read in my entire life. I understand and see where other readers are coming from when they say that shelters of stone and maybe even some of the others were kind of repetitious. I do not argue the fact that there was a lot of the same stuff from the first few books, but I sincerely enjoyed all of them, and the repetitious stuff wasnt always used in the same context or situation as the last book. For those of you who caught it, you should be proud, not everyone is sharp enough to see that they've already read it. Personally, i enjoy reading about how she did stuff becuz it makes it more real to me. I enjoy finding out what Ayla is up to, who she meets, what challenges she faces and most of all, I want to find out what happens to her in the future. I realize that many people have different opinions, different tastes and their reaction to this series will be different than everyone elses but I think this book should be given a chance. I cant wait for it to come out.

    8 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2010

    It's been too long a wait!

    I don't care if the descriptions are time consuming to read through i LOVE the story.

    8 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A beautiful series!! With only one flaw...

    I first picked up The Clan of the Cave Bear 23 years ago at 12 years old. I fell in love with the strength of the characters, escpecially Ayla, and the beautiful, meticulous setting of prehistoric time. I've read the books several times during the many intervening years with only the dreadful The Shelters of Stone being the new novel in the 20 years since The Plains of Passage. The first 4 novels are truly works of art that any dedicated reader should have in their library and I sincerely hope that this final novel recaptures that magic. I can't help but wonder if the span of so many years left the author adrift on who her characters were and where their story was heading in The Shelters of Stone. The quick bio of this novel is headed exactly in the obvious direction that the last 100 pages hinted at in the previous novel and that does cause me some concern. I love this series so I'm willing to lay faith in Ms. Auel's capable hands that The Shelters of Stone was an abberation of story-telling that was buried under the astounding and impressive research of the prehistoric world. I will purchase this novel immediately and not wait several months to see how the reviews pan out. I owe this author that much for the beauty and majesty of her first 4 novels of Earth's Children.

    8 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2010

    BEATS the BEST OF THE BEST!!

    I have been waiting patiently for book six and now I can mark on my calendar for the release date. Time to re-read all five books again!! I can never get tired of them!!

    7 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2011

    If you thought Shelters of Stone was bad, you haven't read bad yet.

    This is a two part book. The first two parts are utterly devoid of anything called plot or conflict. Repetitive descriptions of cave after cave and meeting characters you don't care about and are quickly forgotten. Her last book had a cheat sheet in the back to help keep tract of the hundreds of characters with similar names that you were introduced to. Here that is missing. It is incredibly boring.

    In part three the pace picks up but it more like watching a soap opera than reading anything interesting. It involves two incidences of using hallucinigenic plants, some infidelity, and a lot of misunderstandings.
    Most books that I buy I usually re-read several times. This book I will not.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    very disappointed

    over the years ive read and reread this series, always loved it and wished for another book to either continue or wrap it up so i was so excited about this. But sadly i was disappointed too, I found myself skipping entire paragraphs and pages of recapping events from previous books, description after description of cave paintings etc etc...and Ayla and Jon having ANOTHER dramatic fight?? come on, that was done in the Mammoth Hunters and it was as melodramatic then as it is reading about it AGAIN. it felt like the author had run out of ideas or was cashing in on the franchise almost. I enjoyed reading about Aylas promotion and Jonayla, i also enjoyed reading about various events such as the murderer that threatened Ayla and how he was dealt with, the rest just seemed to be borrowed from previous books and was quite frankly - boring :(
    I had hoped to find the author delving into things she had hinted at in previous books, such as the Others trying to trade with the Clan and the complications arising from this, and maybe even Ayla finding her son through this
    It was so very very bland, I do hope there will be another installment that ties up the obvious loose ends and indulges the fans a bit more

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2011

    Publishers Weekly reviewer must be a male under 25 years

    I have been a Jean Auel fan from the outset, have read and re-read her entire series. Her descriptive writing style, depth of characters, and attention to scientific detail is what defines her genre. Not all of us want that fast-paced Dan Brown style where the entire book covers 48 frenetic hours of chase scenes and explosions!

    6 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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