Jean M. Auel books in order
Jean Marie Auel, otherwise known as Jean M. Auel, is an American author of historical fiction novels.
She is best known for writing the Earth’s Children series, which has been translated into several languages, selling more than 45 million copies across the globe.
Raised in Chicago, Jean tied the knot with her husband, Ray Auel, right after graduating high school. They then relocated to Oregon, where they had five children.
Jean continued her education, earning her Master’s degree in business administration from the University of Portland.
A decision to write a short story in 1977, about the social interactions of a Cro-Magnon woman with a Neanderthal clan in prehistoric Europe, turned into The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980), her first book in the Earth's Children series.
It was adapted into a 1986 film by the same name starring Daryl Hannah and Pamela Reed.
Jean, who has honorary degrees from four universities, as well as a medal from the Ministry of Culture of the French government, lives with her husband, Ray, in Oregon.
Genre: Historical Fiction
- The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980)
- The Valley of Horses (1982)
- The Mammoth Hunters (1985)
- The Plains of Passage (1990)
- The Shelters of Stone (2002)
- The Land of Painted Caves (2011)
Detailed book overview
A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly—she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them.
Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.
Director: Michael Chapman
Cast: Daryl Hannah, Pamela Reed, James Remar, Thomas G. Waites, John Doolittle
Cruelly cast out by the new leader of the ancient Clan that adopted her as a child, Ayla leaves those she loves behind and travels alone through a stark, open land filled with dangerous animals but few people, searching for the Others, tall and fair like herself.
Living with the Clan has taught Ayla many skills but not real hunting. She finally knows she can survive when she traps a horse, which gives her meat and a warm pelt for the winter, but fate has bestowed a greater gift, an orphaned foal with whom she develops a unique kinship.
One winter extends to more; she discovers a way to make fire more quickly and a wounded cave lion cub joins her unusual family, but her beloved animals don’t fulfill her restless need for human companionship. Then she hears the sound of a man screaming in pain. She saves tall, handsome Jondalar, who brings her a language to speak and an awakening of love and desire, but Ayla is torn between her fear of leaving her valley and her hope of living with her own kind.
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 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.
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 also 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.
The Shelters of Stone opens as 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 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 initiated 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.
Whatever obstacles she faces, Ayla finds inventive ways to lessen the difficulties of daily life, searching for wild edibles to make meals and experimenting with techniques to ease the long journeys the Zelandonii must take while honing her skills as a healer and a leader.
And there are the Sacred Caves that Ayla’s mentor takes her to see. They are filled with remarkable paintings of mammoths, lions, and bears, and their mystical aura at times overwhelms Ayla.
But all the time Ayla has spent in training rituals has caused Jondalar to drift away from her. The rituals themselves bring her close to death, but through them Ayla gains A Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change her world.