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The Plains of Passage (Earth's Children) [Paperback]

Jean M. Auel
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Dec 2010 Earth's Children

Ayla and Jondalar leave the safety of the lands of the Mammoth Hunters and embark on a seemingly impossible journey across an entire continent. Their goal is the Cro-Magnon settlement in what is now southern France where Jondalar lived as a young man. Accompanied by the half-tame Wolf, the superb stallion, Racer, and the mare, Whinney, they brave both savage enemies and the elemental dangers of weather and terrain in their search for the place that will become Home.

Jean Auel's imaginative reconstruction of pre-historic life, rich in detail of language, culture, myth and ritual, has become a set text in schools and colleges around the world.

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The Plains of Passage (Earth's Children) + The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children (Numbered Paperback)) + The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children 6)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (23 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444704370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444704372
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jean M. Auel is one of the world's most esteemed and beloved authors. Her extensive factual research has earned her the respect of renowned scientists, archaeologists and anthropologists around the globe, culminating in her being made an Officer of the Order of Arts & Letters by the French Minister of Culture and Communication in 2008.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Jean Auel's The Plains of Passage, the fourth volume in the Earth's Children sequence, is one of the most massive yet (running to nearly 1,000 pages) and has all the sweep and vigour of the earlier books in the series. There are few writers who demonstrate the sheer range and ambition of Auel in the fantasy field. The Clan of the Cave Bear was a truly ground-breaking work, with its sweeping historical saga crammed with the kind of detail that had never been seen before in the genre. The Valley of Horses and The Mammoth Hunters continued to enthral readers with their breathtaking panoplies of an ancient world.

The Plains of Passage continues the epic description of our civilisation as it was 25,000 years ago. Auel's protagonists Ayla the orphan and Jondalar the traveller decide to forsake the comfort and safety of life with the mammoth hunters by the Black Sea, and set out on a daunting odyssey. Their plan is to traverse a continent, heading for the Cro-Magnon settlement which Jondalar called home as a young man. Their journey across unimaginable distances is fraught with spectacular dangers, and their only companions are the half-tame Wolf, the magnificent stallion Racer and the mare Whinney.

As so often in Auel's work, it's the brilliantly evocative scene-setting that makes her narratives of high adventure so impressive. Characterisation is, as always, functional rather than inspired, but it's perfectly suited to the Technicolor landscapes the reader is confronted with. And the descriptive passages are as evocative as ever:

The rising sun peaked over the eastern edge with a blinding burst of light that illuminated an incredible scene. To the west, a flat, utterly featureless dazzling white plain stretched out before them. Above it the sky was a shade of blue she had never seen in her life. It had somehow absorbed the reflection of the red dawn, and the blue-green undertone of glacial ice...
--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Jean Auel has an extraordinary appeal to an enormously wide age group and the latest volume of her pre-historic saga is impossible to put down (Rosamunde Pilcher)

The authenticity of background detail, the lilting prose rhythms and the appealing conceptual audacity continue to work their spell (Publishers Weekly)


'Beautiful, exciting, imaginative.'

(New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes like reading a textbook 29 April 2006
This is the fourth book in the series and sees the two leads make an epic journey home across prehistoric Europe.

I loved the first book in this series and the second one was pretty good too, but it seems that as the series goes on the author struggles to find enough "story" to write about so spends half of her time writing exessive descriptive passages that I have to admit I only skim read until there is more character interaction. Approximately half of each chapter seems to be an in depth account of the geology, flora or fauna of the region - whilst this is informative it does not add anything to the story and the already vivid pictures created in the readers head, making the book longer than necessary. The author seems to need to prove that her work has been meticulously researched when really she doesn't need to, it is obvious anyway, and sadly this sometimes makes her novel seem like a textbook (having just finished Uni I was hoping for an escape from this!).

Another gripe of mine is that the main character Ayla and her boyfriend Jondolar just get more and more perfect and one dimensional with the passage of time, they are always right, no one else can have an opinion and what started out as deep characters are getting shallower and more predictable with each book. They are both gorgeous, morally sound, great in bed, everyone they meet loves them immediately or pretty soon after Ayla has wowed them with her amazing skills of magic, healing, animal taming, inventing the wheel..... (ok so the wheel one was a joke but you get the idea). I would have liked to see some character flaws to make Ayla more "real" as she is becoming more and more god-like in her perfection.

Having said this I can't leave a series unfinished and as a bit of escapism it can be enjoyable so I am currently sarting Auel's 5th one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back again across the continent 5 Aug 2002
The story is fast told: Ayla and Jondalar travel back to Jondalars home, across a vast continent. That's about it. It's fun to read anyway, because we visit all the people that Jondalar and Thonolan encountered already in "The Valley of Horses" again and get to know how they fared in the meantime. Could be shorter though, the long descriptions of scenery and vegetation are already known from the previous books, and tend to get boring. For fans of Ayla it is a must-read, but don't expect too much - there isn't much new in it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long, good read 12 Oct 2003
Fans of Auel's other books in this series will know how long winded and descriptive the books are. This does not change for the 5th book. The paperback I read was about 974 pages and is not an easy read, as she is very descriptive of the plains, the processes and the general wonderfulness of Ayla and Jondalar's relationship.
This book picks up from Book 3, when they leave the Mamutoi and encounter many other tribes (including Clan) along the way. It is one hell of a long journey for both them and the reader. Saying that it is still a fascinating read as they make their new discoveries and meet new people.
Overall I enjoyed it very much, even though I wished she would precis her descriptions somewhat!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I read 'The Clan of the Cave Bear' many years ago now, and became hooked. The series of books has successfully continued the amazing quality and suspense of the first, and I re-read them at least once a year!
The books seem to come out every 3-4 years on average, and it is easy to see why they take so long when you realise the incredibly detailed knowledge of the ice-age revealed in these books. Research alone must take a good couple of years, let alone writing the book itself!
However, I always find myself frustrated when the bookshop tells me again that there is no scheduled date for the next to be published. I love the series and am happy to wait, because I know the wait will be worth it, but HURRY UP!!! It is NINE years since The Plains of Passage was released, and now I wonder whether there will be anymore. If anyone knows, please tell us all!
Meanwhile I urge anyone to read these books. The vivid descriptions of an unknown landscape, the trials and hardships of life at that time, and the ageless passion of two people for each other, are a source of joy and solace. Thanks Jean, and PLEASE write another!! I want to know what happens when Ayla and Jondalar get home!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes it's a travelogue, but such a good one! 6 Feb 2009
By Angela
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was nearly put off trying this book by scathing reviews on here, but I'm really glad I went ahead. I reckon the more reviews a reviewer has done, the more 'exacting' they're likely to be! The book is scholarly, but the author makes you think about how stone age people really lived, while still giving you an exciting story and some human-interest. I loved the long descriptions of the countryside - but I found it helped to treat the book like an enjoyable journey to be savoured - travel a little each day and then rest, before all the changing scenery becomes too much. Downsides? Well, all the mind-blowing shagging got a bit much; frankly if I want titillation I'll read Nancy Friday, so I just skipped any paragraph containing words like 'throbbing manhood' etc!!! And Jondalar is so anxious about his beloved's safety, but it doesn't occur to the idiot to take more time over his bloody journey, then, so he doesn't end up risking their lives time and time again. And you'd have thought someone as strong-willed as Ayla might have pulled him up on this. He needs to get his priorities in order! Also, as others have commented, Ayla's appreciation of psychology is remarkably progressive for someone living in a stone-age society, and the whole area sounds a bit more like a 1960s free love commune than I might have expected, but hey, that's what makes it a story and not a history/geography textbook!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars slightly disappointing
Harder and slower going than the previous books. Read it more for the sake of wanting to finish Ayla's story rather than because I enjoyed it.
Published 12 days ago by Adriana Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Can't stop reading theses books absolutely enthralling ,now on to the next instalment of this great adventure ,what lies around the corner noe
Published 20 days ago by alan bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I bought the next book within seconds of finishing this book. I am hooked. I have to stop the ironing.
Published 26 days ago by Mrs. Da Middleton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
As always, Jean M. Fuel unites wonderful imagination with the latest research into ancient times to provide a great story.
Published 1 month ago by A & M Rogers
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It is a nice book but in comparison with the others of the same collection is a bit dissapointing, it repeats a lot what has happened before.
Published 1 month ago by Sonsoles Garcia de Movellan
4.0 out of 5 stars long
as good as these books are there is a lot of details that can get quite repetitive after awhile but that doesn't take away from the main story.
Published 1 month ago by jo smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Travel over Ice age Europe
Part four of the series where the two main characters and their horses travel across Europe. There is some repetition of bits from previous books but it did not worry me and I... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Diane S
5.0 out of 5 stars clan of the cave bear series
Fantastic fantastic fantastic. If you can read the whole series you will not be left wanting. I wish I had 1 iota of the authors talent at weaving words. Re-read and re-read.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Book great - Kindle just ok
I read this book on my tablet (Surface 2). On the book side, if you loved the previous ones, this one will not disappoint and Jean M. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Berment Camille
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
love this product although hubby doesn't as i listen to it when i go to bed would gladly recommend to other buyers
Published 2 months ago by shirley
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