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The Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel
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The Shelters of Stone (2002)

by Jean M. Auel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Earth's Children (5)

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English (64)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
I am still captivated by Ayla and Jondalar, Wolf, Whinney and Racer. In this book, they have reached the cave of Jondalar's home. It is spring and close to the time of the Summer Meeting, where Ayla and Jondalar will go through the official ceremony of being mated. All that they learned on their Journey greatly impresses Jondalar's relatives and friends. I also like Auel's interweaving of her research on the lives of prehistoric people, and imagining what it would have been like. ( )
  Lylee | Apr 3, 2016 |
Central to this book is the tension created by Ayla's healing art, her pregnancy, and the acceptance of her by Jondalar's people, the Zelandonii. Ayla was raised by Clan Neanderthals, known as "flatheads" to the Zelandonii and viewed as no better than animals. For the Zelandonii to accept Ayla they must first overcome their prejudice against the Neanderthals. Luckily for Ayla and Jondalar, some of the higher-ranking Zelandonii already have doubts of this misjudgment.

Two of their number, Echozar and Brukeval, are of Neandertal ancestry and are ashamed of it. Echozar at least is pacified by Ayla's own story and by his (Echozar's) own marriage to Joplaya, Jondalar's close-cousin (half-sister). Brukeval, on the other hand, rejects his heritage utterly and refuses to listen to reason.

Jondalar's first romantic interest, Zelandoni, formerly known as Zolena, has now become the First among the spiritual leaders. She supports adopting Ayla into their society, if not least for the healing arts she brings to the cave, although Ayla also must overcome the feeling that she is not skilled in that area. After Ayla helps a mortally injured hunter live long enough to see his mate, the First senses that Ayla needs to be brought into the fold of the Zelandonia (mystics, named after their culture so as to identify themselves with it) so that she will be accepted as a healer by all the people of the cave.

At one point, Ayla persuades the native mothers to nurse a neglected infant, on the pretext that even a "flathead" would have done so in their place. This both shames them into agreeing (as noted by Jondalar's sister-in-law, Proleva) and educates the Zelandonii in the ways of their ex-neighbors.

Ayla is drawn ever closer to an as yet undetermined role in the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii. Her knowledge of the healing arts as well as hunting force her to accept a role in the spiritual leadership of the group.

Through it all Jondalar is waiting for the summer meeting and matrimonial that will finally "tie the knot" for the two of them. This has been his ultimate goal since The Valley of Horses. Their daughter, Jonayla, named for her mother's belief a man's 'essence' creates babies, which leads to Jondalar and Ayla each being part of the baby, not just their spirits, is born sometime after this event. Not long after the birth, Ayla finally decides to become Zelandoni's acolyte, if only so the members of the Zelandonii will accept her as a healer.

This book is set in what is now the Vézère valley, near to Les Eyzies, in the Dordogne, southwest France. It was relatively densely populated in prehistoric times, with many open cliff-top dwellings that can still be seen, some of which have been turned into tourist attractions. The national museum of prehistory is located in this valley. Ayla also discovers the world-famous cave of Lascaux, which her adopted people subsequently paint.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
I reread the entire set of books every year, and sometimes will pick up one of the books randomly and reread, thus causing me to complete the rest of the series. ( )
  twileteyes | Feb 4, 2016 |
An exceptionally well told story. Of course it helps that I read the other 4 books previously. ( )
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
Book on CD performed by Sandra Burr

NOTE – if you have NOT read at least the first three books in the Earth’s Children series, this review might be considered a spoiler.

Book number five in the Earth’s Children series continues the adventures of Ayla and Jondalar. They have finally arrived back at Jondalar’s home, the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii. The people of the Ninth Cave readily welcome Jondalar back from his five-year journey, and they even welcome his foreign companion. Ayla controls animals (two horses and a wolf), was raised by “flatheads,” and is a healer. She has also invented a new, faster way to start a fire, and pioneered the use of a thread puller (needle), including using it to stitch serious wounds together. All these elements were explained in detail in previous books.

Not much really happens in this novel. Ayla gets to know Jondalar’s family and the others in the Ninth Cave. A few people are suspicious and angry about her meteoric rise to a prominent position in the group. And while she makes a few enemies, there aren’t any obvious repercussions. By the end of the novel, when she has to make a serious decision about her future within the Ninth Cave, I was just eager for something to finally happen. But I guess I’d have to read the sixth book to find out.

The novel is incredibly repetitious. From the long, detailed introductions (which are repeated numerous times throughout the novel), to the multiple references to how she trained the horses, found the firestones, was raised by the Clan, gained her knowledge of healing herbs, etc the book is just a long litany of what has occurred in the previous books. Additionally, Auel doesn’t trust her readers to figure out the undercurrents of emotion from context. After showing us a confrontation between Ayla and a member of the Ninth cave, she proceeds to tell us that Ayla has made an enemy. Duh. The author does this repeatedly, telling us that a character is conflicted, disturbed, angry, loving, gentle, etc. She should trust her readers to be at least half as smart at Ayla.

The novel is mostly padding, however there is some interesting information about the painted caves in this region of current-day France and about basic survival tools that these ancient humans used. Auel has clearly done a lot of research in writing the series and I appreciate that. Those sections where she is describing the landscape or the process for tanning hides, or the many uses of various parts of an animal were vivid and interesting to me. I just wish there was more plot and substance to this book.

I started out listening to the audio version, capably performed by Sandra Burr. The unique voice she gave Ayla truly differentiated her from other characters. However, I was growing bored with the writing and so I started reading, because I could finish must faster, skimming or skipping the long introductions for example, or the second (or third) recitations of the Mother’s Song.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
That's informative but not nearly as much fun as The Flintstones. The story is thin and the cast so distended—there are 86 characters—that few will make it to the end. Ayla and Jondalar's saga would have been a breeze at 300 pages, but unfortunately for readers and forests alike, Auel allows it to bloat to more than 700.
added by IslandDave | editPeople (May 6, 2002)
 
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.
added by IslandDave | editPublishers Weekly (Apr 8, 2002)
 
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.
 

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean M. Auelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burr, SandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janson Borglund, ToveTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Kendal

who knows more about what's to come than almost anyone...
except his mother.

And for Christy

the mother of his boys

And for Forrest, Skylar and Slade

three of the best

with love
First words
People were gathering on the limestone ledge, looking down at them warily.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
French language editions of The Shelters of Stone are published in two volumes: Les Refuges do Pierre Volume 1 and Les Refuges do Pierre Volume 2. Do not combine these.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
blurb: Ayla and Jondalar, along with their animal friends Wolf, Whinney, and Racer, have completed their epic journey across Europe and are greeted by Jondalar’s people, the Zelandonii. These people of the Ninth Cave fascinate Ayla, and in their female spiritual leader - who initiated Jondalar into the Gift of Pleasure - she meets a fellow healer with whom to share her knowledge and skills.
But as Ayla and Jondalar prepare for their formal mating at the Summer Meering, there are difficulties. Not all the Zelandonii are welcoming. Some fear Ayla’s unfamiliar ways and her relationship with the Clan, openly opposing her mating with Jondalar. Now Ayla must call on her wisdom andf instincts to find her way in this complicated society, to prepare for the birth of her child, and to decide whether she will accept new challenges and play a significant role in the destiny of the Zelandonii.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553382616, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:03 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Ayla and Jondalar have reached home: the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii, the old stone age settlement in the region known today as south-west France. Ayla has much to learn from the Zelandonii as well as much to teach them. Jondalar's family are initially wary of the beautiful young woman he has brought back, with her strange accent and her tame wolf and horses. She is delighted when she meets Zelandoni, the spiritual leader of her people, a fellow healer with whom she can share her medicinal skills. After the rigours and dangers that have characterised her extraordinary life, Ayla yearns for peace and tranquillity; to be Jondalar's mate and to have children. But her unique spiritual gifts cannot be ignored, and even as she gives birth to their eagerly-awaited child, she is coming to accept that she has a greater role to play in the destiny of the Zelandonii."--Www.jeanmauel.co.uk.… (more)

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