The band of travelers walked along the path between the clear sparkling water of Grass River and the black- streaked white limestone cliff, following the trail that paralleled the right bank. They went single file around the bend where the stone wall jutted out closer to the water’s edge. Ahead a smaller path split off at an angle toward the crossing place, where the fl owing water spread out and became shallower, bubbling around exposed rocks.
Before they reached the fork in the trail a young woman near the front suddenly stopped, her eyes opening wide as she stood perfectly still, staring ahead. She pointed with her chin, not wanting to move. “Look! Over there!” she said in a hissing whisper of fear. “Lions!”
Joharran, the leader, lifted his arm, signaling the band to a halt. Just beyond the place where the trail diverged, they now saw pale- tawny cave lions moving around in the grass. The grass was such effective camouflage, however, that they might not have noticed them until they were much closer, if it hadn’t been for the sharp eyes of Thefona.
The young woman from the Third Cave had exceptionally good vision, and though she was quite young, she was noted for her ability to see far and well. Her innate talent had been recognized early and they had begun training her when she was a small girl; she was their best lookout.
Near the back of the group, walking in front of three horses, Ayla and Jondalar looked up to see what was causing the delay. “I wonder why we’ve stopped,” Jondalar said, a familiar frown of worry wrinkling his forehead.
Ayla observed the leader and the people around him closely, and instinctively moved her hand to shield the warm bundle that she carried in the soft leather blanket tied to her chest. Jonayla had recently nursed and was sleeping, but moved slightly at her mother’s touch. Ayla had an uncanny ability to interpret meaning from body language, learned young when she lived with the Clan. She knew Joharran was alarmed and Thefona was frightened.
Ayla, too, had extraordinarily sharp vision. She could also pick up sounds above the range of normal hearing and feel the deep tones of those that were below. Her sense of smell and taste were also keen, but she had never compared herself with anyone, and didn’t realize how extraordinary her perceptions were. She was born with heightened acuity in all her senses, which no doubt contributed to her survival after losing her parents and everything she knew at five years. Her only training had come from herself. She had developed her natural abilities during the years she studied animals, chiefl y carnivores, when she was teaching herself to hunt.
In the stillness, she discerned the faint but familiar rumblings of lions, detected their distinctive scent on a slight breeze, and noticed that several people in front of the group were gazing ahead.
Reprinted from THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES Copyright © 2011 by Jean M. Auel. Published by Crown Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.
At last, New York Times bestselling author of publishing sensation, The Clan of the Cave Bear, has written the highly anticipated conclusion to her celebrated Earth’s Children® series.
Remarkable in every way, Jean Auel’s The Land of Painted Caves reunites her devoted fans with beautiful Ayla and her handsome lover, Jondalar, a couple considered by many of their sexually promiscuous peers to be deluded in their singular devotion. But the venerated leader of the Zeladoni, “the First,” sees in Ayla a woman born to lead. When she elevates Ayla to acolyte status and envy erupts among members of the clan, the First sends the couple on a journey to enrich their knowledge—particularly from cave paintings that Ayla wisely intuits to be sacred. Yet, when they return and Jondalar is seduced by another woman, the sting of his betrayal causes Ayla to respond in kind. How the pair discovers the true meaning of coupling and, with the help of Ayla’s devoted pet, Wolf, reunites, is one of the many wonders that make The Land of Painted Caves another stellar achievement by this beloved author—and a spellbinding ending to a story fans will cherish for years to come.
Hardcover Book : 768 pages
Publisher: Crown Publishers Inc./Random House ( March 29, 2011 )
Item #: 13-337995
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 1.23inches
Product Weight: 26.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I so looked forward to this conclusion that I bought it the day it came out. My enthusiasm for the series came crashing down the further I got. The endless repetition of the cave descriptions and the different versions of the Mother's Song were skipped over. All this ended up being was a repeat of book 3 towards the end. As with other reviews, there was no finding out what happened to Durc. I just want to know where the editor was before the final go ahead. I found better stories on fanfiction.net
Reviewer: Kathy L
While it wasn't Bad, it wasn't anywhere near as well written as the first 5 books in the series. It was almost like someone else wrote it after reading some of the other books. It was repetitive, boring in places, and not as in-depth as the previous books. While it did offer a Finale to the series-- it wasn't a satisfying one.
Very repetitive within itself and of the previous books.
I loved this book. It is great. This can be read alone or with the other ones of this series. Jean C Auel is one of the best writers that I have read in a long time. Hopefully, she will come out with another one like this one soon.
Reviewer: Jo H
This book was soooo boring I couldn't even bring myself to finish it. I struggled just to get to the half way point. I kept waiting for something to happen and it never did. After reading other peoples comments, I guess it doesn't pick up in the second half either. This book was a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!!!!
Reviewer: Theresa L