Wednesday, July 20, 2011
A year after leaving the mammoth hunting Mamutoi’s, Ayla and Jondalar arrive at his home. These Cro-Magnon groups shelter and make their dwellings in caves, some extremely large. Jondalar’s mother, sister and extended family members welcome his return, and we meet many of his extended family. Ayla faces embarrassment at the hands of a former girlfriend of Jondalar’s, and actually turns it to her advantage. As usual, she wins over most of his people and once again makes a place for herself as a valued member of their society.
Ayla educates them about the Neanderthals they call Flatheads, introduces firestones and much more. Jondalar brings his skills as a flint knapper and introduces them to the spear-thrower he invented. As hoped for, Ayla gives birth to their daughter, Jonayla, and everything concludes with a happy ending.
Ayla and Jondalar’s introduction to his family is fascinating, as are the customs of his people. However, hinted at potential conflicts never transpired. I expected more excitement, and was left wanting. This book lacks the action and intrigue of the previous four. That said, it was still fun to read about the ongoing lives of my favorite characters.
Jean Auel is also an accomplished poet as evidenced by The Mother’s Song, an epic poem the Zelandoni of all the cave communities use to explain their Creation belief and who that divine being is to them. Well worth reading after reading the first four books in the series.
Hardcover: 753 pages
Publisher: Crown Publishers, Inc.