Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jean M Auel's "The Land of Painted Caves" (novel, history): Final (6th) novel in authors' "Earth's Children" series

Cover image of the novel The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M Auel
This is not science fiction. But it's not uncommon to find speculation about stone age society in the genre; so I suppose it's not totally out of place.

It actually came as a sort of disappointment: while every other novel in the series is set in a different locale with different people with just a couple of shared characters, this one is not. This is really "Part 2" of previous volume, "The Shelters of Stone". It's as if author ran out of new material & was contract  bound to write a 6th volume.

While I don't regret having read it, fans who've read "The Shelters of Stone" won't miss anything by skipping it.

Story summary.

It's in 3 parts.

First part is yet another Zelandoni Summer Meeting: preparation, travel, actual meeting, ... - all from the point of view of Ayla & those around her. This is set a year after "The Shelters of Stone" - Jonayla is 1 year old.

Second part is a short journey through somewhat farther lands that still call themselves Zelandoni, though they rarely interact. This journey is "Donier Tour" arranged by First for Ayla as part of her training but lots of people join the traveling party. This is set 3 years after Part 1 - Jonayla is 4 years old.

Third part is yet another Summer Meeting - a year after Part 2 - that's sort of too colorful & out of character with rest of the series. Jondalar having an extra-marital affair, Jondalar/Ayla fight similar to that in "#3 The Mammoth Hunters", Mamutoi Lion Camp folks paying a return visit to Jondalar's folks, Ayla becomes a Zelandoni, ... Jondalar's behaviour early in this part is so out of tune with his character built through rest of the serious that I had difficulty accepting it.

Fact sheet.

First published: 2011.
Rating: B.