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Land Of Painted Caves, The (2011)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Land Of Painted Caves, The (2011) This is final novel of prehistoric Ayla, a Cro-magnon woman who was raised by a clan of Neanderthals after her tribe was killed in an earthquake. This takes place a few years after the last novel, THE SHELTERS OF STONE. Ayla and her mate, Jondalar, have a daughter, Jonayla. They also have the three tame horses and the tame Wolf. The majority of the story concerns Ayla training to become the cave's medicine/spiritual shaman, a Zelandoni, and the hardships that go along with that. She has to spend a great deal of time training and it takes time away from her family, which in turn causes Jondalar to seek company elsewhere. There's an earthquake, a pack of cave lions that cause problems and some cavemen bandits. The most interesting parts is when she remembers/talks about her time with the Clan, the Neanderthals who raised her. And I was hoping there would be an encounter with these people, particularly with her reuniting with her son. Instead, what the author does is have Ayla go on a spiritual journey which sends her to see the future and how the "mixed blood" of her son--and others like him---make modern humanity what it is. That was anticlimactic. The book is over seven hundred pages and not a heck of a lot happens. All the other books were better and more satisfying.

Author: Jean M. Auel

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