This is a review of the book “The Valley of Horses” it is the 2nd novel of Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children Series. It follows on from “The Clan of the Cave Bear“.
This book begins where the last novel ended. Ayla has just been exiled from the Neanderthal clan, leaving her small son behind. She begins her search for her own people, the Cro Magnons, those the Neanderthals call “The Others”.
In a parallel narrative, the novel follows the adventures of Jondalar (Cro Magnon Male of the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii) and his half brother Thonolan. Jondalar is accompanying his brother on his traditional Rite of Passage called the Great Journey.
Ayla travels on alone, searching for “The Others”. As winter approaches, she decides to settle down in a valley, to shelter for the winter. She is very lonely, and after killing its mother for food, she decides to befriend and take in a small filly whom she names Whinny. While in the valley she also discovers and raises a Cave Lion cub, whom she names Baby.
Jondalar and Thonolan make a home for themselves with some River People, Thonolan even mating a local woman and getting her pregnant. But when Thonolan’s mate dies during childbirth, he cannot bear to stay, and so they continue on to the Mamutoi People, The Mammoth Hunters.
As Jondalar and Thonolan journey into the valley where Ayla resides, they stumble into a Cave Lion’s den. Fortunately, the lioness is the mate of Baby, and Ayla is able to save Jondalar, however Thonolan is killed. Ayla utilizes the skills she had learned in her time as a clan Medicine Woman and nurses Jondalar back to health.
Jondalar and Ayla attempt to communicate with one another. Soon they find themselves falling in love. They decide to leave the valley at the end of the novel to seek out other people.
An interesting novel to read. The reader learns more about the people (especially the Cro Magnons) of Prehistoric Times.