|Jean M Auel's The Shelters of Stone, is the latest title in the Earth's Children series--undoubtedly one of the most celebrated works in publishing history--and includes The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters and The Plains of Passage. Each of these books enjoyed long runs on the bestseller lists across the world and have sold more than three million copies in the British marketplace. There are 28 foreign language editions of Auel's books in print and 34 million copies have been sold worldwide.|
The Shelters of Stone continues the story of Ayla who lost her family to an earthquake and was raised by the people who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. She arrives in the land of the man she loves, but his people are wary of her and think of the Clan who cared for her as animals that resemble people and who are not much smarter than beasts. Ayla has brought with her two horses and a wolf over which she has uncanny control. Ayla vows to learn from the Zelandonii and hopes, in turn, to teach them. She is particularly pleased to meet the spiritual leader of the tribe, a fellow healer with whom she is able to share medical skills and knowledge. But Ayla's greatest problem is to convince her new hosts that she is from a tribe of human beings, not the subhumans they are regarded as. And when she gives birth to her eagerly awaited child, she is forced to accept that she and her child will have to play a very significant role in the clouded destiny of the Zelandon.
Auel is particularly sharp in her characterisation of Ayla, the woman who is foreign and strange in this new land, and her heroine's clashes with her new-found people are handled skilfully. The reader is immersed in another world, one whose every detail is skilfully evoked, while the writing has all the colour and vividness of Auel's previous books.--Barry Forshaw