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Publisher's Summary

Ayla, one of the most remarkable and beloved heroines in contemporary fiction, continues to explore the world and the people around her with curiosity, insight, and, above all, courage.

As the story opens, Ayla, Jondalar, and their infant daughter, Jonayla, are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave - a shelter of stone. Ayla has been chosen as an acolyte and has embarked on the arduous task of training to become a spiritual leader. The wisdom that Ayla gained from her struggles as an orphaned child, alone in a hostile environment, strengthen her as she moves closer to leadership of the Zelandonia.

Whatever the obstacles, Ayla’s inventive spirit produces new ways to lessen the difficulties of daily life: searching for wild edibles to make delicious meals, experimenting with techniques to ease the long journeys the Zelandoni must take, honing her skills as a healer and a leader. And then, there are the Sacred Caves, the caves that Ayla’s mentor - the Donier, the First of the Zelandonia - takes her to see. These caves are filled with remarkable art - paintings of mammoths, lions, aurochs, rhinoceros, reindeer, bison, bear. The powerful, mystical aura within these caves sometimes overwhelms Ayla and the rituals of initiation bring her close to death. But through those rituals, Ayla gains A Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change the world.

Spellbinding drama, meticulous research, fascinating detail, and superb narrative skill combine to make The Land of Painted Caves a captivating, utterly believable creation of a long ago civilization that serves as an astonishing end to this beloved saga.

Listen to more in the Earth's Children series.
©2011 Jean M. Auel (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
  • K
  • 04-02-11

Sorry but no...

I have been a fan for over 20yrs and I am sorry Jean, but you just left it too long. The story line was shallow to say the least and some bits were literally copy and pasted from other books. The narrator was fine so if like me you are a long time fan, do get it, you just can't not. But I think that like me you'll be somewhat deflated at the end of 36 hours.

91 of 91 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • phillip
  • toronto, ON, Canada
  • 03-30-11

Be careful what you wish for!

I've been in love with Ayla's story from Clan of the Cave Bear and the minute I closed the page on each and every book Ms. Auel created I was wishing for the next one. The wait was pretty long, but more than worth it every time. Except this time. I am so disappointed with book number 6 I actually had tears of frustration in my eyes while I was listening to it. As far as I can tell it breaks down into three main themes #1. Remembering old times (a nice way of saying stealing unabashedly from the other 5 books) #2 Discribing in mind numbing detail every painting in every cave that has ever had an echo in it ( I've heard of the title of a work saying it all, well this one says about 15 hours of it) #3 Action scenes that,while few and far between, are not even half hearted disguised rehashing of events from (you guessed it!) the other five books. With a minor theme in ( though it's majorly annoying ) multiple repetitions of "The Mother Song!" and no I haven't devolved into vulgarity, that's actually the name of the song. The only thing I can guess is that Ms. Auel sat looking at the 5 enormously large novels she wrote and decided enough was enough. As in new ideas, a new plot, etc...and now I am going to take an antacid and make myself a cup of tea, a cup of tea, a cup of tea, a cup of tea, a cup of tea, a cup of tea....

183 of 185 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Should have been titled "The Mother's Song"

I loved the first 5 books in the series, even Shelters of Stone, but this book was such an incredible let down after what, a ten year wait? My issues have to echo many of those posed by the other reviewers. I lost count of how many times "The Mother's Song" was repeated. Seriously, I found myself thinking on a number of occasions "she's not really going to make us read/listen to that again?!" I ended up fast forwarding through that annoyance on a number of occasions. I didn't mind the cave descriptions; I'm visually impaired, so a nice vivid description helps me picture what's around the characters much more.
Also, the events in the last part of the book are odd to me and seem remarkably out of character and forced. I really thought they seemed contrived, compared to the rest of the series. This book also, if it is the end of the series, ends very abruptly and I thought about going back and listening to the end again but I don't think its really worth it, if it didn't make enough of an impression on me the first time, I doubt it will the second. Plus, the "big discovery" is totally not one, though in the context of our species it is, but in the context of the story it wasn't...

I'm not saying don't read this book, just don't get your hopes up. I thought #5 had a much more tied together ending.

53 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Fern
  • Oakland, MD, United States
  • 04-23-11

A Sad Disappointment

Three Great Reasons to Read This Book:
1) You loved the painful and almost dangerous love triangle of the Mammoth Hunters so much that you couldn't wait to relive it.
2) You are fascinated by cattails and their varied and numerous uses. (everything from period pads to savory side dishes)
3) You are an avid spelunker eager to vicariously explore the primitive caves of yesteryear.
Three Great Reasons NOT to Read This Book:
see above

Seriously, these characters have been a part of my life for many years. I am sad to say that I regret reading this final installment.

51 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

So tedious and so poorly narrated

I tried! I tried! So help me, I tried to listen to the book and enjoy it. It is sooooooooo boring, repetitive, so tedious that it repulses. The narrator is good reading straight text but poor doing characterizations. Then there's Ayla, the superwoman. She's so wonderful that it makes your teeth ache. Skip wherever you can. You won't miss much.

58 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Hate Hate Hate

I was screaming at the radio, She repeated herslf so many times with no new concepts, I wanted to die. I listened to the whole thing, but I am glad it is over. I am very disappointed.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


After giving her readers five fantastic epic books to ponder and enjoy, Jean Auel insulted them by believing she could merely rehash what was scribed in her past writings. I was sorely disappointed that the book did not deliver what had been given in the past. If there were a way to get a refund for my money on an audible book, I would ask for one.

43 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kathy
  • GARDNERS, PA, United States
  • 04-03-11

What a let down

I was so looking forward to this book. I have loved all the other books in this series. This is the first one that let me down. While it was good to read about some of the characters that were in the other books, it jumped around too much. It is almost as if there were story lines started and just left hanging. Yet some were done to death.. How many caves do we need to read about and how many times do we have to read the singing the Mother's Song? There is a part near the end of the book she could have left out. It really ticked me off. (I'll let you read it yourself!)

I do know that with so much time between books it is hard to keep somethings straight, but there were several errors that were glaring. As an end to a series this book just quit the same as the other ones. It would be nice to have if not a full novel at least a companion book to tie up the loose ends.

64 of 66 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Blah Blah Blah

I normally love a LONG audio book - listen to them while out working on the farm - and I had read the other Earth's Children books but I am seriously doubtful I will finish this one. Maybe reading is a better way to go as you can skim over the so and so begat so and so in blah blah cave. Having to listen to all this dreck in the reader's rather wooden voice and cheesy accent is nearly unbearable. I am finding the dialog unrealistic ( how many times, from how many characters do we need to hear that giving water to a dead lion is a sacred tradition ) and boring. I haven't gotten very far in, hence the two stars-who knows, it may get better...but after several hundred audio books over the years, this may be the first I don't finish ( but I probably will finish it-farming is possibly even more boring than this book)!

52 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Disappointed after 25 years.

I picked up my mom's copy of Clan of the Cave Bear when I was 13 and read it till 3 a.m. This book has been tedious and repetitive. While I found the greater discriptions of the religion of the Zelandonii to be interesting I wondered not why she made descriptive reference to occurences that happened in other books but why whenever they were referred to in this book she had to make a detailed retelling EVERY time. It wasn't so much that she stole from her past books but that she did it repetitavely about the SAME story in a number of incidences. While I am sure some readers don't mind be reminded of what happened 3 books ago they can probably then remember for the remainder of the book. I was pleased that the minutely described sex scenes were kept to a minimum in this book because after Plains of Passage I felt she was spending a little too much time on the sexual lives of Ayla and Jondolar but the trouble with Jondolar and Ayla later in the book felt a little too much like a repetition of what happened in the Mammoth Hunters. I did enjoy the story on some levels but with the repeating removed this book would have been half the length it is now. I am not saying don't get it...just be prepared to recognize alot of it....definitely the weakest book of the series that I personally have been reading for 25 years and has been around since 1978.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful