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The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children) [Hardcover]

Jean M. Auel
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 April 2002 Earth's Children
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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1st edition 1st Printing edition (30 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340821957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340821954
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 16.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 495,120 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 M Auel's The Shelters of Stone, is the latest title in the Earth's Children series--undoubtedly one of the most celebrated works in publishing history--and includes The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters and The Plains of Passage. Each of these books enjoyed long runs on the bestseller lists across the world and have sold more than three million copies in the British marketplace. There are 28 foreign language editions of Auel's books in print and 34 million copies have been sold worldwide.

The Shelters of Stone continues the story of Ayla who lost her family to an earthquake and was raised by the people who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. She arrives in the land of the man she loves, but his people are wary of her and think of the Clan who cared for her as animals that resemble people and who are not much smarter than beasts. Ayla has brought with her two horses and a wolf over which she has uncanny control. Ayla vows to learn from the Zelandonii and hopes, in turn, to teach them. She is particularly pleased to meet the spiritual leader of the tribe, a fellow healer with whom she is able to share medical skills and knowledge. But Ayla's greatest problem is to convince her new hosts that she is from a tribe of human beings, not the subhumans they are regarded as. And when she gives birth to her eagerly awaited child, she is forced to accept that she and her child will have to play a very significant role in the clouded destiny of the Zelandon.

Auel is particularly sharp in her characterisation of Ayla, the woman who is foreign and strange in this new land, and her heroine's clashes with her new-found people are handled skilfully. The reader is immersed in another world, one whose every detail is skilfully evoked, while the writing has all the colour and vividness of Auel's previous books.--Barry Forshaw


Meticulously researched . . . fascinating . . . course-by-course menus for Upper Paleolithic blow-outs . . . that Joanne Harris might envy. Jean Auel is as remarkable a figure as J R R Tolkien. (Independent Magazine)

A Stone Age sensation. Auel vividly brings to life a forgotten world. (Coventry Evening Telegraph)

Jean Auel's greatest achievement is to have created a plausible primeval community where men and women love and sometimes hate, and learn to survive in a harsh environment that demands rules and co-operation. (Daily Express)

Bursting with hard information about ancient days and awash in steamy sex . . . Auel's latest will not only please her legions of fans but will hit the top of the list, pronto. (Publishers Weekly)

Jean M. Auel has meticulously researched her subject and this latest book should continue the huge success of the series. (Hello)

As always, Auel has meticulously researched her prehistoric subject and this latest offering is a triumphant continuation of the saga. (Irish News (Belfast))

Impeccable research makes this much more than a fantasy reconstruction of prehistoric life. (Daily Express)

A publishing event . . . a huge new pre-historic masterpiece (Peterborough Evening Telegraph)

Massive in scope (Daily Mirror)

A glorious blend of purported history with sexy fantasy. (Evening Standard)

A triumphant continuation of the saga. (Western Daily Press)

Enthralling, exciting and impossible to put down. (York Evening Press)

Auel is particularly sharp in her characterisation of Ayla . . . has all the colour and vividness of Auel's previous books. (Starlog)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some similarities, some differences 10 Jun 2005
By Dane
This volume of the story has a different tone than the other books do. There isn't the same tension and conflict as in the other books, since they have completed their Journey safely, and they are now committed to each other romantically, etc, and this gives the story a different, more relaxed tempo. There's still a mass of repetition, where the happy couple get to rehash all the things they've learned for the folks back home, and even though there are no Clan in this one, they are much talked about, and that means explanations of their memories--again, again. Ayla makes some enemies among her new people, but don't worry, she's still perfect, and the important people love her to death.
That said, I actually enjoyed this book, and more when I read it again recently after a few years. It's nice to have a slightly more in depth acquaintance with this group of people, like with the Mamutoi in the Mammoth Hunters, and it's nice to "meet" Jondalar's family, who have been hinted about since book nr. 2, and nice to know that these characters will continue to feature in the story, unlike all the other characters we've met up until now.
Ayla's wacky dreams and supernatural powers, which haven't said that much to me personally up to this point, begin to take a more central role in the story. Strangely enough, this is one area of Ayla's life that the author *hasn't* re-hashed and explained to death, and has chosen to let remain slightly mysterious, which makes it more effective now. As far as I know there is supposed to be a sixth book, and (SPOILER?) things seem to be pointing in the direction that number 6 will be concerned with our heroine's spiritual/shamanic development, and maybe some kind of reconciliation with the Clan? So despite the change of pace, I'm looking forward to the next installment.
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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was it worth the twelve year wait? Hmm... 2 May 2002
By A Customer
This must be the longest I have ever waited for the next book in a series. I bought the first one in 1984 when I left home for university, got absolutely hooked and avidly read them as they appeared, including The Plains of Passage, which was the last one in 1990. If I have to wait another twelve years for the next book in the series, I'll be nearly fifty and will have spent thirty years on this story.
So was it worth it and will I be anticipating the next book as eagerly? I'm not so sure. Oh, I'll read it - I have grown very fond of the heroine, but I found this book somewhat of a letdown. It mostly feels like scene-setting for the next book, and half the content seems to be retelling of the four books before (something that was already starting to irritate in The Plains of Passage, together with the too-dry lectures on flora, fauna and geography). Yes, the new people Ayla lives with need to know about her life, but it could have been done better. Jean Auel should really trust her readers more to know what has already happened - after all, we have had twelve years to read the story again and again. Compared to the scope of the plot in the earlier books, this is a bit feeble.
But I still want to know how it all ends. Meet you all at my fiftieth birthday party.
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109 of 115 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars entering the territory of 'Beyond Endurance' 10 May 2002
I really, really wanted to love this book.

I have read the previous four at least 8 times each, averaging one or two volumes every 18 months over the past 20 years. With the latest release I have realised that the main joy of the previous volumes was Ayla's continual discoveries and innovations in survival situations. There are no discoveries in Shelters of Stone except for a limestone cave. An empty limestone cave. An empty limestone cave with blank white walls, perhaps the perfect symbol for this entire book. But that's only the start of the problems.

There was so much wasted potential here, so many, many plotlines that could have been explored, if only Ms Auel's passion had been present during the writing of it, but I'll get to that theory in a moment.

This book hurt to read, and it was irritating and finally it made me angry. I feel very let down. In an ordered list, here's why:

1. Throughout the previous three books, Jondalar made frequent references to his mother's mate, Willomar. In SoS, it was spelled Willamar. The first time I read it I thought I had found the first typo. After the 75th time, it was like getting popped with hot bacon fat. The author has been quoted as saying she changed the spelling because she felt it was more in keeping with how the character would have spelled his name. My question is, why is spelling an issue when it regards people who have no written language?

2. The instant Ms. Auel seemed to be flirting with a dramatic scene or actual character development, she interrupted-Sometimes In The Very Midst Of A Conversation(!)-with a page and a half treatise on why a certain oil might be used for a stone lamp...

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars boringboringboring 24 July 2007
Having read and loved the 1st 3 books and being giddily swept away by Ayla's character (totally unbeleivable but that's why we read heroic-type fiction in the 1st place!) I was slightly disappointed by the 4th (The Plains of Passage), there were too many discriptive passages and introspection, but when there was action it was brilliant action.

I was hoping that The Shelters of Stone would be like the 1st 3 - action-packed, exciting, the reader routing for Ayla all the way as she finally meets Jondala's family and tries to fit in with her strange and revolutionary ways. But it was more than dissapointing, it was dire. I found myself skipping whole pages just to get to something interesting.

Ms Auel has either gotten bored with writing about her character and pleasing the reader or she is on a mission just to impress the experts with her knowledge and assumptions of ancient facts and ideas and her obvious authority of plant life & their many uses. This was a sheer waste of her talent as a writer of fiction. If she just wanted to show off she should have plummed for writng a text book with this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes long winded but ok.
Apart from all the repeated passages and flash backs from previous books and the long rambling interuptions in the middle of the main action,
it is still a good story.
Published 6 months ago by John Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stone Age sensation
Finally Ayla and Jondalar reach his home, the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii in South West Fraance. Ayla has much to teach these people, as they her. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Isabel Lane
4.0 out of 5 stars A faithful rendering
Book 5 of 6. Faithful to the book, read well by American actress. Sometimes the long descriptions get a little boring, but the author considered them necessary to explain the rest... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Fionnuala Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shelters of Stone
Finaly the last book in the Earths Children series, One of the best books/series of books ive ever read, Fantastic
Published on 12 May 2012 by wildwolf369
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
I enjoyed this book and it is a substantial read. Some readers might find the explicit sex sceens offensive, My 85 year old Mother was somewhat shocked by them, but still enjoyed... Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2012 by McC1
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad I didn't have to wait *years* to read this- I would have been...
I'm a fairly recent reader to this series and as the title of my review suggests, I'm so glad that I haven't had to wait years to play catch up with these like some other readers... Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2011 by Nicola F (Nic)
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of the four previous books
The Shelters Stone is definetely a must-read if you have started on the Earth's Children - also if you thought you had finished the series back in 1990 with Plains of Passage
Published on 14 Sep 2011 by Christine G. Muurholm
5.0 out of 5 stars brillent
i love this book all jean m auel books i can,t put down they r so interesting and want to read to end. well done for another good read
Published on 18 July 2011 by ypbland
5.0 out of 5 stars She has done it again
Another excellent book to add to the Earths Children collection, not my favourite one of the series but its not my least favourite either. Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars sad
This was my last book of this series wonderful but sad that it has finished. Cant wait to read them all again.
Published on 19 Nov 2010 by Dtmorris
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