Jean M. Auel

Jean Marie Auel was born February 18, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois. She married Ray Auel when she graduated high school and they relocated to Portland, Oregon. They had five children together before Jean was twenty-five. She became a member of Mensa while attending the University of Portland. She earned her MBA from the University in 1976. During her time there she worked as a circuit board designer, a technical writer, and a credit manager.

In 1977, Jean decided to write her own short story. She envisioned a young woman from the earliest days of man who lived with people who were physically and psychologically different than herself. She soon found though, she needed to know more about world she wanted to write about. She immersed herself in anything and everything she could find about the world 30,000 years ago. Her precise and meticulous research became the foundation of her work. She finished the first of her novels, The Clan of the Cave Bear, in just under a year. It was published in 1980. By 1990, Auel's first three books in her Earth's Children series sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and had been translated into 18 languages She continues writing and publishing novels; the most recent installment of Earth's Children was released in 2011, The Land of the Painted Caves.

The Clan of the Cave Bear

"Here is a saga of a people who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear; how they lived; the animals they hunted; the great totems they revered. But mostly it is the story of Ayla, the girl they found and raised, who was not like them. To the Clan, her fair looks make her different-ugly. And she has odd ways: she laughs, she cries, she has the ability to speak. But even more, she struggles to be true to herself and, with her advanced intelligence, is curious about the world around her. Although Ayla is clearly a member of the Others, she is nurtured by her adoptive parents, befriended by members of the Clan, and gradually accepted into the family circle. But there are those who would cast her out for her strange, threatening ways. So the conflict between the ancient Clan, bound by heredity to its traditions, and the girl in its midst, of a newer breed destined to alter the face of the earth, could never be resolved. And it is this same struggle that leads Ayla to venture where no Clan woman has ever before dared. Driven by destiny and the will to survive, Ayla breaks the forbidden taboo...With its exquisite detail of a world that truly might have been, The Clan of the Cave Bear is filled with awesome mystery and magic infused with the drama of human survival. For it is a remarkable epic of one woman's odyssey in that crucial moment of evolution when two races, locked in a death grip, battle for their very existence."

Original Publication: Crown, 1980
This Edition: Crown, 1980
Cover Art: Hiroko
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Earth's Children Series, book #1. The novel was adapted to film in 1986.

Review:


The Valley of Horses

"In this new novel in the celebrated Earth's Children saga, Ayla, the unforgettable heroine of the best-selling The Clan of the Cavebear, sets out on her own odyssey of discovery away from the nurturing adoptive family and friends of the Clan. She is in search of others like herself and in search of love. Driven by her intelligence, her curiosity, and her destiny, she explores where the Clan never dared to travel and encounters a hostile world of awesome mystery, glacial cold, terrifying beasts, and intense loneliness in which survival itself is a constant battle. Sharing a hidden valley with a herd of steppe horses, Ayla finds a unique friendship with animals as vulnerable as herself and ingeniously discovers the complex skills needed to survive - skills no Clan member was ever able to master. But none of her experiences prepares her for the emotional turmoil she feels when she rescues a young man - the first of the Others she has seen - from almost certain death. Torn between her desire for human companionship and her fear of the unknown Others, she struggles against her deep attraction to the handsome Jondalar. It is Jondalar who teaches her the meaning of true friendship and love."

Original Publication: Crown, 1982
This Edition: Crown, 1980
Cover Art: Hiroko
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Earth's Children Series, book #2.

Review:


The Mammoth Hunters

"This is the third and long-awaited novel in the acclaimed Earth's Children series, Ayla, the independent heroine of The Clan of the Cave Bear and The Valley of Horses, sets out from the valley on Whinney, the horse she tamed. With her is Jondalar, the tall, handsome, yellow-haired man she nursed back to health and came to love. Together they meet with the Mamutoi - the Mammoth Hunters - people like Ayla. But to Ayla, who was raised by the Clan of the Cave Bear, they are "the Others." She approaches them with mixed feelings of fear and curiosity. Talut, a powerful bear of a man with bright red hair, a booming laugh, and a gentle heart, and his tall, dark-haired sister, Tulie, are the leaders of the Lion Camp of the Mamutoi. It is here that ayla finds her first women friends, but some among the Mamutoi dislike Ayla because she was raised by "flatheads," their name for the people of the Clan. Ayla is haunted by her memories of the Clan because Rydag, a child of mixed parentage living with the Mamutoi, bears so strong a resemblance to her own son, Durc. It is the Mamutoi master carver of ivory - dark-skinned Ranec, flirtatious, artistic, magnetic - who fascinates Ayla. She finds herself drawn to him. Because of her uncanny control over animals, her healing skills, and the magic firestone she discovered, Ayla is adopted into the Mammoth Hearth by Mamut, the ancient shaman of the Great Earth Mother. Ayla finds herself torn between her strong feelings for Ranec and her powerful love for the wildly jealous and unsure Jondalar. It is not until after the great mammoth hunt, when Ayla's life is threatened, that a fateful decision is made. Set in the challenging terrain of Ice Age Europe that millions of Jean M. Auel readers have come to treasure, The Mammoth Hunters is an epic novel of love, knowledge, jealousy, and hard choices - a novel certain to garner Jean M. Auel even greater acclaim as a master storyteller of the dawn of humanity."

Original Publication: Crown, December 1985
This Edition: Crown, December 1985
Cover Art: Hiroko
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Earth's Children Series, book #3.

Review:


The Plains of Passage

"Ayla, the heroine first introduced in The Clan of the Cave Bear, is known and beloved by millions of readers. The Earth's Children series is a national literary phenomenon. As fresh and new as the young earth itself, Jean M. Auel's brilliant epic transforms readers into passionate and devoted followers. Now, in The Plains of Passage, Ayla's story continues. Ayla and Jondalar set out on horseback across the windswept grasslands of Ice Age Europe. To the hunter-gatherers of their world - who have never seen tame animals - Ayla and Jondalar appear enigmatic and frightening. The mystery surrounding the woman, who speaks with a strange accent and talks to animals with their own sounds, is heightened by her uncanny control of a large, powerful wolf. The tall, yellow-haired man who rides by her side is also held in awe, not only for the magnificent stallion he commands, but for his skill as a crafter of stone tools, and for the new weapon he devises, the spear-thrower. In the course of their cross-continental odyssey, Ayla and Jondalar encounter both savage enemies and brave friends. Together they learn that the vast and unknown world can be difficult and treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful and enlightening as well. All the pain and pleasure bring them closer to their ultimate destination, for the orphaned Ayla and the wandering Jondalar must reach that place on earth they can call home. As sweeping and spectacular as the land she creates, Jean M. Auel's The Plains of Passage is an astonishing novel of discovery, danger, and love, a triumph for one of the world's most original and popular authors."

Original Publication: Crown, September 1990
This Edition: Crown, 1990
Cover Art: Hiroko
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Earth's Children Series, book #4.

Review:


The Shelters of Stone

"The Shelters of Stone opens Ayla and Jondalar, along with their animal friends, Wolf, Whinney, and Racer, complete their epic journey across Europe and are greeted by Jondalar's people: the Zelandonii. The people of the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii. The people of the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii fascinate Ayla. Their clothes, customs, artifacts, even their homes - formed in great cliffs of vertical limestone - are a source of wonder to her. And in the woman Zelandoni, the spiritual leader of the Ninth Cave (and the one who intiated Jondalar into the Gift of Pleasure), she meets a fellow healer with whom to share her knowledge and skills. But as Ayla and Jondalar prepare for the formal mating at the Summer Meeting, there are difficulties. Not all the Zelandonii are welcoming. Some fear Ayla's unfamiliar ways and abhor her relationship with those they call flatheads and she calls Clan. Some even oppose her mating with Jondalar, and make their displeasure known. Ayla has to call on all her skills, intelligence, knowledge, and instincts to find her way in this complicated society, to prepare for the birth of her child, and to decide whether she will accept new challenges and play a significant role in the destiny of the Zelandonii. Jean Auel is at her very best in this superbly textured creation of a prehistoric society. The Shelters of Stone is a sweeping story of love and danger, with all the wonderful detail - based on meticulous research - that makes her novels unique. It is a triumphant continuation of the Earth Children saga that began with The Clan of the Cave Bear. And it includes an amazing rhythmic poem that describes the birth of Earth's Children and plays its own role in the narrative of The Shelters of Stone."

Original Publication: Crown, April 2002
This Edition: Crown, April 2002
Cover Art: Hiroko
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Earth's Children Series, book #5.

Review:

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