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The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel

The Land of Painted Caves (2011)

by Jean M. Auel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Earth's Children (6)

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English (75)  French (3)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (81)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
This is the long awaited sixth and final book in the Earth's Children series. It has been generally poorly received by fans and I can see why: it repeats the flaw of the fifth book The Shelters of Stone in containing a lot of repetition, both within the book and from earlier books in the series. The endless descriptions of painted caves in the first two thirds of the book will tire many readers, though I find prehistoric art a fascinating discovery and all these descriptions are based on real cave art, much of which shows a very high level of skill and beauty. There is frequent reiteration of the same points of Zelandonii customs and practices and of the behaviour of Wolf and the horses. The book is also somewhat disappointing in that it doesn't resolve plot threads from earlier books, in particular the fate of Durc, Ayla's half Clan son. That said, it does bring the welcome return of some old friends from The Mammoth Hunters (book 3, and my personal second favourite of the series), who add some colour to the somewhat bland and faceless nature of most of the individuals of the Zelandonii tribe. It also brings the return of the main theme of the latter part of that book, jealousy and misunderstanding between Ayla and Jondalar, though this does have the benefit of showing them to be less than the paragons of heroic virtue that they are throughout most of the books.

Overall, while I understand the reasons for many readers' disappointment, I still largely enjoyed reading this. Its slow moving, spiritual feel is a refreshing contrast to many other books I read and I found myself looking forward to immersing myself in this very different and largely peaceful world on the train home after a hard day in the office in central London. Being slow isn't necessarily a flaw - many pre 20th century literary classics are slow by modern standards. If one accepts this fundamental point, there is still a lot to be got out of this work, though it will never be as memorable as the first three books in the series. ( )
  john257hopper | Feb 28, 2014 |
Back in 1980, ‘The Clan of the Cave Bear’ was published; it spawned a genre of prehistoric novels, none of which ever grabbed me the way that book did. Jean Auel not only put an incredible amount of research into her books, but her heroine, Alya, was one of the most engaging protagonists I’ve ever ‘met’. I followed the series as this Cro-Magnon superwoman survived being orphaned at age five and then being raised by a band of Neanderthals, learned to hunt, tamed animals, learned herbal healing, and so much more. Auel showed, in an entertaining way, how various things could have been learned and invented. I read that book at a time when I was going through a back to the land phase, and Ayla’s adventures resonated with me.

I waited eagerly for each new volume. Sadly, the quality dropped as the series went on; the books started to drag. Still, I could not give up on the series, even though I didn’t get to reading ‘Land of the Painted Caves’ until it had been out for two years. I kind of wish I hadn’t read it at all.

There is little in the way of plot; Ayla and the First (the spiritual leader of the caves and her mentor) make a journey to visit all the caves with paintings in the area. There are some personal issues for Ayla, of course, but they seem contrived. And the book is extremely repetitious; every time Ayla is introduced (which, given the travel theme, is very, very often) her entire list of names and affiliations is given as if we have never read them before; as is the fact that she has an accent. We read about every person’s reaction to the horses and to Wolf. While it’s valid that people would have never seen tame animals before, we don’t need to know about every single reaction. Nor about every time Ayla brews up tea. It’s a huge book and I feel would have benefited from some serious editing.

It is almost like Auel felt she needed to finish the series but didn’t really have it in her. It’s a sad ending for the Earth’s Children series. ( )
  dark_phoenix54 | Dec 12, 2013 |
My wife started (and stopped) reading this book. She said it was terrible. I finally started reading it to judge for myself. I quit after about 350 pages (and I usually don't quit a book, even if it is bad). My wife's judgement was too kind. Reading it is pure drudgery. This most recent book in Jean Auel's series lacks any kind of plot. It is excessively repetitive, seems to lack editing. My impression is that Auel and her editors took all of her research, both previously used and not used, and dumped it into a "book" ... 848 pages of the same material repeated over and over again. I would classify this book as an exploitation book, a ripoff of the consumer. That's too bad, because her earlier books were excellent. ( )
  rondoctor | Dec 8, 2013 |
heel veel herhaling van wat al eerder is verteld. hoe vaak moeten wij lezen dat Ayla een accent heeft, of haar geschiedenis vertellen. toch was het wel een mooi boek, met een naar mijn idee een te open einde. Wordt Ayla uiteindelijk toch de Eerste Onder Hen Die De Moeder Dienen? Wat gebeurt er verder met de acoliet die zich voordeed als Geroepene.

Wie weet, misschien toch nog een 7e deel? ( )
  EdwinK | Dec 6, 2013 |
This has to be one of the worst books I've made myself finish. I had such high hopes, as I've read all of the other books in this series, but this book was so repetitive and boring, it felt like someone had ties Auel to a chair and tortured the book out of her. As much as I liked the other books, this one was enough of a disappointment to recommend against reading the series, or at least stopping at The Shelters of Stone. ( )
  HeartlessOne42 | Nov 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Among modern epic spinners, Auel has few peers. And readers need not worry: There are enough loose ends to feed a half-dozen more books. We’ll hope to see more, magic mushrooms or no.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Feb 1, 2011)

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean M. Auelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First born, last cited, always loved,
and for FRANK,
who stands by her side,
and for AMELIA and BRET, ALECIA, and EMORY,
fine young adults,
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The band of travellers 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.
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Book description
From the jacket:

Ayla, Jondelar and 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 an arduous task of training to become a spiritual leader. It is a daunting, often perilous work that sometimes takes her away from her family. Ayla, Jondalar, and Jonayla are welcomed by the Zelandonii, but problems arise.
They are faced with new challenges, not just the ordinary trials of sheer survival, but the complications posed by many groups of people who need to live and work together. the wisdom that Ayla gained from her struggles as an orphaned child, alone in a hostile environment, strengthens her as she moves closer to leadership of the Zelandonia.

Ayla and Jondalar's first priority is the care for their golden-haird child, Jonayla, and the well-being of their amazing animals Wolf, Whinney, Racer and Gray. The two participate in hunts to provide food, in travels to Summer Meetings for decision making, and in social activities. 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 Zelandonii 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, auroches, rhinoceros, reindeer, bison, bear. the powerful, mystical aura within these caves dominates overwhelms Ayla.
Ayla's final preparation for her initiation as a Zelandonie Bring The Land of the Painted Caves to a riveting climax. So much time apart from Jondalar has caused him to drift away from her. The rituals themselves bring her close to death. But through those rituals, Ayla gains a Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change the world.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0517580519, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Ayla struggles to find a balance between her duties as a new mother and her training to become a Zelandoni -- one of the Ninth Cave community's spiritual leaders and healers.

» see all 5 descriptions

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