A blog to share my enthusiasm for books.

At Last I’ve Found It After Years Of Waiting **************


I first came across this series over 20 years ago when I was teaching in primary school. A colleague, knowing my addiction to books, suggested I read ‘The Clan of the Cave Bear‘. I was a bit dubious since there were posters everywhere for the film version showing a scantily clad young woman wearing war paint and with big, bedroom hair. Surely the book wouldn’t be worth reading? But I took it just to be polite.

What a mistake I nearly made. I couldn’t return the book without reading it so I started it and found I couldn’t put it down. It was a sweeping tale set in Neanderthal times, of a clan living and surviving in a difficult world. The research was so detailed. Everything was so realistic. I felt I was there with them.

The clan is moving from one place to another when one of them finds a baby. They cannot leave the child to die and so they take the tiny girl with them. They soon realise that she is different from them, strange and with strange handicaps. She sometimes has water coming out of her eyes and she doesn’t seem able to learn to talk. She is almost a different species.

As the story of Ayla unfolds she does eventually learn to talk; a non-verbal language of body and hand movements. Her companions have no spoken language. There are many differences between Ayla and the rest of the clan and problems inevitably arise.  She trains as a wise woman, well versed in the lore of plants and healing.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story but there are many highs and lows in Ayla’s young life. One thing I have never forgotten is how young people were when they died in those long ago days. A person was very old at 27. 

The saga continued in                                                 

                                                          The Valley of Horses

                            The Mammoth Hunters

                            The Plains of Passage

There is an excellent and thorough review of these at:


I read them all as soon as I could and each time I found I couldn’t put the book down. The story swept me along. Often in a series of books the momentum slows down, but not in this series.

But then…..disaster……there wasn’t another book. There should have been but it couldn’t be found. It hadn’t been published. It hadn’t been written. How was I to know what happened next???? How could I be expected to wait????? Well, we all had to wait ……for 12 years.  I understand she had been ill but  also that she needed to do more research.  Her research has taken her from Ukraine to France, she is so thorough.

But then , oh joy!!…the next book was published. 

                                 The Shelters of Stone

I rushed off and lost myself once more in the world of Jondalar and Ayla as they made another journey, this time to Jondalar’s land.

And now, to complete my delight I have found the last one in paperback

                                          The Land of Painted Caves

and I’m finishing this blog now so I can go and read it!

More information on the Jean Auel website:

(Images from Amazon so the ‘look inside’ won’t work on this page.)


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This entry was posted on March 9, 2012 by in book review, reading and books and tagged , .

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