Having read the first five books in Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series, I was eagerly awaiting the next installment. I was not disappointed. While there is not much drama until nearer the end of the book, we do get to see what path Ayla’s life has taken.
Ayla is the main character throughout the series, beginning with her childhood. While Ayla is extraordinary even for her time, we do get a comprehensive look at what life was, or could have been like, for our early ancestors. The Land of Painted Caves would therefore be a good read for those who have read the Earth’s Children series and for anyone who enjoys prehistorical fiction.
There were some differences between this book and the others in the series; the biggest was that the book was divided up into parts. Each part started some years after the previous part, a technique Auel has not utilized before. We were thus able to see more of Ayla’s life, which was appreciated, since this is supposed to be the final installment in the series.
A wonderful accompaniment to the book would be the documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, currently in theatres. It is about a cave in France, the Chauvet Cave, which contains the oldest cave paintings ever discovered.