Title: The Mammoth Hunters (#3 in the Earth’s Children series)
Author: Jean M. Auel
Themes: Adventure, Survival, Romance
I have been reading Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series for pleasure on and off for about 6 months now. I chose not to review the first two books (The Clan of the Cave Bear and The Valley of Horses), however, this is such an impressive story that I really feel the need to at least mention it!
I first discovered the series by chance, when it was mentioned by an anthropologist on TV. She said this series was the reason she chose her career path, and so I went ahead and got the first book.
The books follow the life of Ayla, a young girl orphaned when her parents are killed in an earthquake when she is in her early years. She is discovered by the Clan, who happen to pass her where she has fallen unconscious, and after some discussion, agree to take her in and nurse her back to health.
They, however, are reluctant. She is not one of them. They are Neanderthals, she is one of the ‘Others’. Xenophobia is a big issue in the series, and it begins here. Because Ayla is brought up by the Clan, she becomes one of them in all but appearance. The tall, blonde and immensely clever young girl grows into a woman over the course of the first 3 books.
This instalment is sees her and Jondalar meeting the Mamouti: the Mammoth Hunters. Their camp is full of brilliant characters (Rydag being my favourite) and Ayla’s good looks and intriguing background draws her a lot of attention, particularly from an attractive man named Ranec. Ayla’s story progresses a lot in this installment, and as always, Auel’s writing is spot on. She manages to make learning interesting, and her characters real.
These are long books, and are packed full with extremely well researched information, from the design of the huts the characters live in, to the plants Ayla uses in her medicines. At first look, this might be off-putting for new readers, the books are long, and I’d go as far as likening them to a Game of Throne epic. But take my word for it, they are well worth the read. You start the first few pages and before you know it, you’re on the third book and desperate for the fourth!
Because of the length and information, I have been reading them along side a number of other books, and I find them easy to dip in and out of. More than anything I just don’t want to reach the end of the series,but I’m slowly but surely getting there.
If you’ve read the Earth’s Children series, I’d love to know what you thought of it!