This is a review of “The Land of Painted Caves” by Jean M. Auel. It is the 6th and final book in the Earth’s Children Series. It follows on from “The Shelters of Stone“.
This book has three parts. In Part 1, Ayla is still an acolyte to the Zelandoni. She goes on a tour of the places sacred to the healing order (the painted caves). Travelling with her are Jondalar and their newborn daughter Jonayla. Their animal companions are with them too. This tour is vital in her training to become a spiritual leader.
Part 2 is set some years later than Part 1. She is taken on a more extensive tour, and is spending much more time away from her family to fulfill her healing duties. This is putting some strain on her and Jondalar.
Part 3 contains most of the storyline. She ends her training by succumbing to “The Calling” and becomes a fully fledged Zelandoni. She then makes her way to The Summer Meeting, where all of the caves of The Zelandonii people meet. On her arrival she discovers Jondalar with another woman…
Ayla feels deeply betrayed, and a large rift is created between the two. She falls into a depression that she cannot seem to shake. Will these two reconcile? Or will this be the end of Jondalar and Ayla?
Full of some amazing and intricate descriptions of prehistoric cave paintings, this book is a treat for those interested in Archaeology. However, it is quite lengthy and The Mother’s Song does get quite old as it is repeated numerous times. A good book to end a wonderful series.