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

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

3.1 1681
by Jean M. Auel, Sandra Burr (Read by)

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Ayla, one of the most remarkable and beloved heroines in contemporary fiction, continues to explore the world and the people around her with curiosity, insight, and, above all, courage.

As the story opens, Ayla, Jondalar, and their infant daughter, Jonayla, are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave—a shelter of stone. Ayla has been chosen as an


Ayla, one of the most remarkable and beloved heroines in contemporary fiction, continues to explore the world and the people around her with curiosity, insight, and, above all, courage.

As the story opens, Ayla, Jondalar, and their infant daughter, Jonayla, are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave—a shelter of stone. Ayla has been chosen as an acolyte and has embarked on the arduous task of training to become a spiritual leader. The wisdom that Ayla gained from her struggles as an orphaned child, alone in a hostile environment, strengthen her as she moves closer to leadership of the Zelandonia.

Whatever the obstacles, Ayla’s inventive spirit produces new ways to lessen the difficulties of daily life: searching for wild edibles to make delicious meals, experimenting with techniques to ease the long journeys the Zelandoni must take, honing her skills as a healer and a leader. And then, there are the Sacred Caves, the caves that Ayla’s mentor—the Donier, the First of the Zelandonia—takes her to see. These caves are filled with remarkable art—paintings of mammoths, lions, aurochs, rhinoceros, reindeer, bison, bear. The powerful, mystical aura within these caves sometimes overwhelms Ayla and the rituals of initiation bring her close to death. But through those rituals, Ayla gains A Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change the world.

Spellbinding drama, meticulous research, fascinating detail, and superb narrative skill combine to make The Land of Painted Caves a captivating, utterly believable creation of a long ago civilization and serves as an astonishing end to this beloved saga.

Editorial Reviews

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.)
From the Publisher
“[T]here is real sweetness in the saga’s finale, when Ayla’s legacy to the world — both hers and ours — is made clear. Myriad things have changed in the last 30,000 years, but the endurance of human love is not one of them.”--Washington Post

“[Auel] does paint a convincing portrait of ancient life. And readers who fell in love with little Ayla will no doubt revel in her prehistoric womanhood.”--People

“As with her other books, Auel spins her tale with credible dialogue, believable situations and considerable drama. More than that, she deftly creates a whole world, giving a sense of the origins of class, ethnic and cultural differences that alternately divide and fascinate us today. Among modern epic spinners, Auel has few peers.”--Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“[T]he 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.”--Booklist

“[R]eaders who enjoyed the previous volumes will relish the opportunity to re-enter pre-history one last time.”--Publishers Weekly

"[T]he book is compelling and will be in high demand by Auel’s fans."--Library Journal

Library Journal
Auel's prehistoric series debuted to rave reviews and a movie deal in 1980 with The Clan of the Cave Bear. Nine years after The Shelters of Stone, the final book will be released accompanied by a massive promotional blitz (including academic and library marketing). Ayla is the mate of Jondalar, the mother of Jonayla, their infant daughter, and an acolyte of the First of the Zelandonii, the spiritual leaders of the caves of her husband's people. But all is not well with Ayla. She is separated from her husband and daughter while training for her new position, which takes a terrible physical toll on her health, and her innovative ideas and unusual history create conflict among the people. Long, well-researched, sometimes repetitive descriptions of cave paintings, food gathering, hunting, family relationships, and religion will appeal to those with an interest in prehistory. Others may wish there was a bit more story and a bit less anthropology. VERDICT Though one must occasionally suspend disbelief that one young woman, no matter how intelligent, can really be responsible for introducing concepts such as animal husbandry, sign language, and the role of men in sexuality and conception, the book is compelling and will be in high demand by Auel's fans.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK

Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Earth's Children Series , #6
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt


The band of travelers walked along the path between the clear sparkling water of Grass River and the ­black-­streaked white limestone cliff, following the trail that paralleled the right bank. They went single file around the bend where the stone wall jutted out closer to the water’s edge. Ahead a smaller path split off at an angle ­toward the crossing place, where the flowing water spread out and became shallower, bubbling around exposed rocks.

Before they reached the fork in the trail a young woman near the front suddenly stopped, her eyes opening wide as she stood perfectly still, staring ahead. She pointed with her chin, not wanting to move. “Look! Over there!” she said in a hissing whisper of fear. “Lions!”

Joharran, the leader, lifted his arm, signaling the band to a halt. Just beyond the place where the trail diverged, they now saw ­pale-­tawny cave lions moving around in the grass. The grass was such effective camouflage, however, that they might not have noticed them until they were much closer, if it ­hadn’t been for the sharp eyes of Thefona. The young woman from the Third Cave had exceptionally good vision, and though she was quite young, she was noted for her ability to see far and well. Her innate talent had been recognized early and they had begun training her when she was a small girl; she was their best lookout.

Near the back of the group, walking in front of three horses, Ayla and Jondalar looked up to see what was causing the delay. “I wonder why we’ve stopped,” Jondalar said, a familiar frown of worry wrinkling his forehead.

Ayla observed the leader and the people around him closely, and instinctively moved her hand to shield the warm bundle that she carried in the soft leather blanket tied to her chest. Jonayla had recently nursed and was sleeping, but moved slightly at her mother’s touch. Ayla had an uncanny ability to interpret meaning from body language, learned young when she lived with the Clan. She knew Joharran was alarmed and Thefona was frightened.

Ayla, too, had extraordinarily sharp vision. She could also pick up sounds above the range of normal hearing and feel the deep tones of those that were below. Her sense of smell and taste were also keen, but she had never compared herself with anyone, and ­didn’t realize how extraordinary her perceptions were. She was born with heightened acuity in all her senses, which no doubt contributed to her survival after losing her parents and everything she knew at five years. Her only training had come from herself. She had developed her natural abilities during the years she studied animals, chiefly carnivores, when she was teaching herself to hunt.

In the stillness, she discerned the faint but familiar rumblings of lions, detected their distinctive scent on a slight breeze, and noticed that several people in front of the group were gazing ahead. When she looked, she saw something move. Suddenly the cats hidden by the grass seemed to jump into clear focus. She could make out two young and three or four adult cave lions. As she started moving forward, she reached with one hand for her ­spear-­thrower, fastened to a carrying loop on her belt, and with the other for a spear from the holder hanging on her back.

“Where are you going?” Jondalar asked.

She stopped. “There are lions up ahead just beyond the split in the trail,” she said under her breath.

Jondalar turned to look, and noticed movement that he interpreted as lions now that he knew what to look for. He reached for his weapons as well. “You should stay here with Jonayla. I’ll go.”

Ayla glanced down at her sleeping baby, then looked up at him. “You’re good with the ­spear-­thrower, Jondalar, but there are at least two cubs and three grown lions, probably more. If the lions think the cubs are in danger and decide to attack, you’ll need help, someone to back you up, and you know I’m better than anyone, except you.”

His brow furrowed again as he paused to think, looking at her. Then he nodded. “All right . . . but stay behind me.” He detected movement out of the corner of his eye and glanced back. “What about the horses?”

“They know lions are near. Look at them,” Ayla said.

Jondalar looked. All three horses, including the new young filly, were staring ahead, obviously aware of the huge felines. Jondalar frowned again. “Will they be all right? Especially little Gray?”

“They know to stay out of the way of those lions, but I don’t see Wolf,” Ayla said. “I’d better whistle for him.”

“You don’t have to,” Jondalar said, pointing in a different direction. “He must sense something, too. Look at him coming.”

Ayla turned and saw a wolf racing ­toward her. The canine was a magnificent animal, larger than most, but an injury from a fight with other wolves that left him with a bent ear gave him a rakish look. She made the special signal that she used when they hunted together. He knew it meant to stay near and pay close attention to her. They ducked around people as they hurried ­toward the front, trying not to cause any undo commotion, and to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Joharran said softly when he saw his brother and Ayla with the wolf quietly appear with their ­spear-­throwers in hand.

“Do you know how many there are?” Ayla asked.

“More than I thought,” Thefona said, trying to seem calm and not let her fear show. “When I first saw them, I thought there were maybe three or four, but they are moving around in the grass, and now I think there may be ten or more. It’s a big pride.”

“And they are feeling confident,” Joharran said.

“How do you know that?” Thefona asked.

“They’re ignoring us.”

Jondalar knew his mate was very familiar with the huge felines. “Ayla knows cave lions,” he said. “Perhaps we should ask her what she thinks.” Joharran nodded in her direction, asking the question silently.

“Joharran is right. They know we’re here. And they know how many they are and how many we are,” Ayla said, then added, “They may see us as something like a herd of horses or aurochs and think they may be able to single out a weak one. I think they are new to this region.”

“What makes you think so?” Joharran said. He was always surprised at Ayla’s wealth of knowledge of ­four-­legged hunters, but for some reason it was also at times like this that he noticed her unusual accent more.

“They don’t know us, that’s why they’re so confident,” Ayla continued. “If they were a resident pride that lived around people and had been chased or hunted a few times, I don’t think they would be so unconcerned.”

“Well, maybe we should give them something to be concerned about,” Jondalar said.

Joharran’s brow wrinkled in a way that was so much like his taller though younger brother’s, it made Ayla want to smile, but it usually showed at a time when smiling would be inappropriate. “Perhaps it would be wiser just to avoid them,” the ­dark-­haired leader said.

“I don’t think so,” Ayla said, bowing her head and looking down. It was still difficult for her to disagree with a man in public, especially a leader. Though she knew it was perfectly acceptable among the Zelandonii—after all, some leaders were women, including, at one time, Joharran and Jondalar’s mother—such behavior from a woman would not have been tolerated in the Clan, the ones who raised her.

“Why not?” Joharran asked, his frown turning into a scowl.

“Those lions are resting too close to the home of the Third Cave,” Ayla said quietly. “There will always be lions around, but if they are comfortable here, they might think of it as a place to return when they want to rest, and would see any people who come near as prey, especially children or elders. They could be a danger to the people who live at Two Rivers Rock, and the other nearby Caves, including the Ninth.”

Joharran took a deep breath, then looked at his ­fair-­haired brother. “Your mate is right, and you as well, Jondalar. Perhaps now is the time to let those lions know they are not welcome to settle down so close to our homes.”

“This would be a good time to use ­spear-­throwers so we can hunt from a safer distance. Several hunters here have been practicing,” Jondalar said. It was for just this sort of thing that he had wanted to come home and show everyone the weapon he had developed. “We may not even have to kill one, just injure a couple to teach them to stay away.”

“Jondalar,” Ayla said, softly. Now she was getting ready to differ with him, or at least to make a point that he should consider. She looked down again, then raised her eyes and looked directly at him. She ­wasn’t afraid to speak her mind to him, but she wanted to be respectful. “It’s true that a ­spear-­thrower is a very good weapon. With it, a spear can be thrown from a much greater distance than one thrown by hand, and that makes it safer. But safer is not safe. A wounded animal is unpredictable. And one with the strength and speed of a cave lion, hurt and wild with pain, could do anything. If you decide to use these weapons against those lions, they should not be used to injure, but to kill.”

“She’s right, Jondalar,” Joharran said.

Jondalar frowned at his brother, then grinned sheepishly. “Yes she is, but, as dangerous as they are, I always hate to kill a cave lion if I don’t have to. They are so beautiful, so lithe and graceful in the way they move. Cave lions don’t have much to be afraid of. Their strength gives them confidence.” He glanced at Ayla with a glint of pride and love. “I always thought Ayla’s Cave Lion totem was right for her.” Discomfited by showing his strong inner feelings for her, a hint of a flush colored his cheeks. “But I do think this is a time when ­spear-­throwers could be very useful.”

Joharran noticed that most of the travelers had crowded closer. “How many are with us that can use one?” he asked his brother.

“Well, there’s you, and me, and Ayla, of course,” Jondalar said, looking at the group. “Rushemar has been practicing a lot and is getting pretty good. Solaban’s been busy making some ivory handles for tools for some of us and hasn’t been working at it as much, but he’s got the basics.”

“I’ve tried a ­spear-­thrower a few times, Joharran. I don’t have one of my own, and I’m not very good at it,” Thefona said, “but I can throw a spear without one.”

“Thank you, Thefona, for reminding me,” Joharran said. “Nearly everyone can handle a spear without a ­spear-­thrower, including women. We ­shouldn’t forget that.” Then he directed his comments to the group at large. “We need to let those lions know that this is not a good place for them. Whoever wants to go after them, using a spear by hand or with the thrower, come over here.”

Ayla started to loosen her baby’s carrying blanket. “Folara, would you watch Jonayla for me?” she said, approaching Jondalar’s younger sister, “unless you’d rather stay and hunt cave lions.”

“I’ve gone out on drives, but I never was very good with a spear, and I don’t seem to be much better with the thrower,” Folara said. “I’ll take Jonayla.” The infant was now thoroughly awake, and when the young woman held out her arms for the baby, she willingly went to her aunt.

“I’ll help her,” Proleva said to Ayla. Joharran’s mate also had a baby girl in a carrying blanket, just a few days older than Jonayla, and an active boy who could count six years to watch out for as well. “I think we should take all the children away from here, perhaps back behind the jutting rock, or up to the Third Cave.”

“That’s a very good idea,” Joharran said. “Hunters stay here. The rest of you go back, but go slowly. No sudden moves. We want those cave lions to think we are just milling around, like a herd of aurochs. And when we pair off, each group keep together. They will probably go after anyone alone.”

Ayla turned back ­toward the ­four-­legged hunters and saw many lion faces looking in their direction, very alert. She watched the animals move around, and began to see some distinguishing characteristics, helping her to count them. She watched a big female casually turn around—no, a male, she realized when she saw his male parts from the backside. She’d forgotten for a moment that the males here ­didn’t have manes. The male cave lions near her valley to the east, including one that she knew quite well, did have some hair around the head and neck, but it was sparse. This is a big pride, she thought, more than two handsful of counting words, possibly as many as three, including the young ones.


Meet the Author

Jean M. Auel is an international phenomenon. Her Earth's Children® series has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide and includes The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters, The Plains of Passage, The Shelters of Stone, and The Land of Painted Caves. Her extensive research has earned her the respect of archaeologists and anthropologists around the world. She has honorary degrees from four universities and was honored by the French government's Ministry of Culture with the medal of an "Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters". She lives with her husband, Ray, in Oregon.

Brief Biography

Portland, Oregon
Date of Birth:
February 18, 1936
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
M.B.A., University of Portland, 1976

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The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children #6) 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1681 reviews.
DebKinnard More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
ReadingGG More than 1 year ago
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".
raesv1 More than 1 year ago
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.
bookbug-prn More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Trina Martin More than 1 year ago
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.
My_Fathers_Daughter More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. :(
DaziQ More than 1 year ago
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.
zbth More than 1 year ago
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.
Mary_T More than 1 year ago
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.
catastr0phe More than 1 year ago
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
DmarieDF More than 1 year ago
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.
herdoula More than 1 year ago
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.
DebraJ24 More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the previous books in this series and really have been enthralled by them. I even met Jean Auel at an American Booksellers Convention one year and was very happy to tell her how much I liked her books. At the time, I owned a bookstore and used to sell a lot of her work. You can imagine how saddened I was to to wait years for this book only to be treated to this lack luster story. What a shame.
LadyBem More than 1 year ago
I had read all of Jean Auel's books about 2 years back. So when I saw the 6th book come out I was soo excited! I just recently bought myself a Nook, downloaded all 6 books and started from the beginning. I just finished 'The Land of Painted Caves' last night and felt cheated. The book it self was ok, slow in some parts, very repetitive and that ending left me feeling empty/blank?.. I was honestly disappointed in it. :(
Steadysteamin More than 1 year ago
Sadly this is mostly a rehash of the books that preceded it. It felt like taking a strenuous dump. You get it done, there is something to look at but the entire thing was forced and a little painful. For Clan of the Cave Bear Fans you'll enjoy parts but it pretty much killed me wanting to read another one. Time to flush.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started this series when Clan of the Cave Bear was released. I loved the books and continued to read each book as they were published. I was so excited when the sixth book was released...I could not get through the book. It is so boring, repetitive. One or two caves would be enough. I am so sorry to say this is one of the worst books I have read..
JFJ99 More than 1 year ago
Not Auel's best work. I struggled through the first half of the book with the repetitions of the lengthy recitations of each characters ties, seemingly back to the dawn of time. These are repeated numerous times for each character until my eyes rolled back in my head. Then we get to the "Mother's Song", a droning and lengthy recitation that, amazingly enough, satisfied the meter and rhyme requirements of the English language. There are, of course, the porn sections where coitus in all its wonderful permutations are carefully described. In the Navy, this book would have been passed around with the significant pages well dog-eared. Then there is the over worn "She/he hates me, we'll never love again" that is dragged on and on while your mind is screaming at them to knock it off, already. Auel tries to describe her tour of some caves in France and manages to drag that out interminably without actually creating a mind's eye picture of what she is trying to describe. A half dozen pictures would have covered as many chapters of description, and left the reader with a better idea of what is in these caves. If you are an Auel sycophant or a member of her fan group, (ecfans-com) this will please you, but for the average reader, it leaves you with a feeling that you wasted your money.
iammeegs More than 1 year ago
I have been a passionate fan of the Earth's Children series ever since I discovered "Clan of the Cave Bears" nearly 30 years ago. I loved the storyline, characters, and the writing... right up to her last two books. I was non-plussed by "Shelters", which was a bit stilted and repetitive, but very hopeful that this book would bring life back to a faltering tale. I was so very disappointed that I barely have the heart to write this review. Repetitive, long-winded, boring, and lackluster are just a few of the descriptors I would have to assign to this tragedy. I had to skip entire long sections of cave descriptions, repetitions of already established information, and even some of the anthropological information (which I usually eat up) because it was so blah and uninteresting. The few moments of new story and character development were so few and so far between, and then once introduced so repetitive, that I got lost and disinterested in what was going on with anyone. I didn't care that Jondalar slept with Marona - go ahead, and no wonder since Ayla became such a wishy-washy dud now that she's on her way to becoming a zelandonii. I was even bored when Danug and Wymez showed back up, and I loved "Mammoth Hunters"!! So in summary, don't bother. Go back and reread the first four books that you know and love and cherish, and then make up your own fantasy ending for Ayla and Jondalar and their animal family - it will more than likely be much more interesting than this one.
dkwoolery More than 1 year ago
After years of waiting, it turns out this book is simply 780 pages of disappointment! I'm sure her years of research were very thorough, uhfortunately it didn't translate to an interesting read. If you must buy it, you'll find yourself skimming through all the repetitions of backstory and descriptions of flora & fauna.
LisaCurll More than 1 year ago
Jean M. Auel books: Clan of the Cave Bear - Fascinating from an anthropological standpoint. Fantastic. Valley of Horses - My personal favorite book, showed independence, development of new ideas, culture, struggles, independence, sexuality, everything. Awesome. Mammoth Hunters - Frustrating. It took me until about the third read through it to finally appreciate it, the first two I just wanted to scream at the characters to figure out what was going on. Plains of Passage - Active in culture and geography, development of relationships, generally good. Shelters of Stone - An in-depth look into one particular, dominant culture, and a greater view into the spiritual world of the people. Okay. ..... Cute: The Land of Painted Caves. So disappointing. I was perhaps less frustrated than most by the constant journeying and description of cave art. I was also perhaps more frustrated than most by the lack of sexuality, but possibly just because that's what I'd come to expect from Jean M. Auel. In perhaps the most memorable reference to sexuality, Ayla is not involved. I'll let you get to that part on your own, but I was crushed. It was past midnight and my husband came down to come to bed, and I slammed the book shut. He thought I was mad at him - he knows how much I loved the previous books, I was obsessed with them - and I had to explain, in tears, what terrible things had happened. He's never read the previous books, so all he got was some incoherent wailing and a collection of names he'd never heard before. I was angry, frustrated, and hopeless. I had identified with these characters, in a way, built myself after them, and they had suddenly turned on me. After finishing the book and discovering the feeble attempt to right the wrongs Auel had written in, I was left feeling generally disappointed. The last dozen pages or so of the book could have been heavily elaborated, definitely at the expense of the hum-drum first several hundred. These were always the books I turned to. I would finish the series and start back again at the first. I have the first-edition hardcovers of all of them (although somehow, although I preordered months ago, I was not sent a copy of Painted Caves with an augmented reality code, which was also disappointing), and paperbacks whose spines and covers are torn to shreds from use. I will likely read this book again, and perhaps I will come to appreciate it as I appreciated the Mammoth Hunters after time, but I had hoped for something that I did not have to force myself to accept. What happened to the spirit of this series?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been an Ayla fan since I read the first book as a young teen. I eagerly awaited each books release then read them as quickly as I could. The long waits in between new book releases gave me many opportunities to reread the series. I am sad to say this is one book I doubt I will ever read again. After waiting years for the release I am extremely disappointed that Auel took a long time to go nowhere with the story. She could have gone in so many directions with the build up to the book and instead she gave us a bland story that spent more time recounting what happened in other books and giving us descriptions of cave paintings than furthering story lines approached in the prior novels. I found it to be very one dimensional and completely lacking the rich story telling of the prior books. If your an Ayla fan you might want to read it just to say you finished the series but I wouldn't expect much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of this series for the past eleven years. The first four books were great. When the fifth book took so long to come out, I was a bit disappointed with it but still had faith that the sixth (and final) book would deliver. I could not have been more wrong. I feel as if I have wasted both my time and my money. Was it really necessary to have the "Mother's Song" in it's entirety four or five times? As aggravating as that was, I was thankful when I could skip several pages and be closer to the end. I kept waiting for something somewhat exciting to happen, but NOTHING ever did. Every conflict was neatly tied up within a couple of pages and we were back to describing herbs and singing songs. Unfortunately, this book has ruined the entire series for me. Ms. Auel did not due any justice to her previous success.