This one has been sitting on my bookshelf for about 10 years now...
About the Book
The epic journey begun in The Clan of the Cave Bear, and furthered in The Valley of Horses continues in this stunning, vivid adventure. Once again Jean M. Auel opens the door of a time long past to reveal an age of wonder and danger at the dawn of the modern human race.
Riding a horse called Whinney and accompanied by Jondalar, the man she saved when wounded by a cave lion and has grown to love, Ayla comes to the land of the Mamutoi--the Mammoth Hunters. She has finally found the ones the Clan called “The Others,” people who look like her.
Though Ayla must learn their different customs and language, she is adopted because of her remarkable hunting ability, singular healing skills, and uncanny fire-making technique. Bringing back the single pup of a lone wolf she has killed, Ayla amazes the Mamutoi by demonstrating how she tames animals. Even though she faces some prejudice when it is revealed that she lived her early years among the Clan–the ones called “Flatheads”–Ayla at long last finds women friends and begins to put the pain of her past behind her.
As Ayla becomes more a part of Mamutoi society, she meets Ranec, the dark-skinned master carver of ivory. She becomes enamored and her passion for this new man makes Jondalar fiercely jealous. He compensates by avoiding her. Because of her early life with the Clan, his behavior is mystifying to her. She mistakes his anger and hurt for disinterest, and turns more fully to the charismatic Ranec. Throughout the icy winter she shelters with the Mamutoi, while Jondalar broods over his disappointment.
Then it is summer again, and as the great mammoth hunt approaches with its annual Matrimonial ritual, Ayla must finally choose: to stay with the Mamutoi who have become friends and mate with Ranec, or to choose Jondalar, and leave this sanctuary for the hardship of a journey toward his home
many miles, and many adventures, away.
For more information about The Mammoth Hunters of Jean M Auel you can visit her website or like her on Facebook.
I've been working on this series off and on for about 12 years. I bought them right after I graduated high school and didn't realize at the time the mental fortitude this series takes to read. At 18 I just didn't have the patience to read 700 pages. But now that I'm a bit older I can really appreciate this series.
Since I did start the series 12 years ago I feel like Ayla's been a part of my life for quite a while. She pops in to say hello every few years. So I've really become attached to her. It's hard for me to criticize this book at all because I do love Ayla and Jondalar so much. But it took me forever to read The Mammoth Hunters. I started this book in the summer of 09 and had to put it down about half-way through. Partly because I had just finished reading The Valley of the Horses and partly because the romance scenes were becoming a bit too much for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from a prude (believe me) but it just felt like all Ayla and Jondalar did was make love.
I'm glad I picked it back up. As it really is a great story. Again, I do seem to have a bit of an attachment to Ayla and Jondalar so I may be a bit biased here, but I really do like this series. There are times when I think the descriptions go a bit more into detail than necessary, but they also create such a vivid picture as to where the characters are and what is going on. The Mammoth Hunters introduces us to so many new characters I didn't think I'd ever get them all straightened out, but as the story goes on I really didn't have any problems keeping track of everyone.
I obviously like the main characters but I really liked the Mammoth Hearth. Tulie, Talut, and Frebec are probably my favorite new characters. Frebec comes off as being a bit of a jerk at first but he's really loyal and protective. He also seems to have a bit of a soft side that, like most men, he was trying to hide. Tulie and Talut are great characters. They are strong, wise, serious, playful, and humorous all at the same time. They just seemed so real to me.
While I don't think I'll be reading Plains of Passage anytime in the near future, knowing it's sitting on my bookshelf is a bit of a comfort too me. When I decide I need to see what Ayla and Jondalar are up to I can just pick it up and start reading it. It's like a having one of those great friends that even if you don't talk for awhile you can sit down and have a conversation and it feels like no time has passed at all.