Jean M. Auel fans have waited 12 years for the fifth book in the Earth's Children® series and the wait has been worth it! After traveling thousands of miles and experiencing incredible adventures, Ayla and Jondalar arrive at his home to settle down with his family and tribe, the Zelandonii of the Ninth Cave. Their homes, carved out of the limestone crevasses, are a wonder to Ayla, who was raised by a Neanderthal Clan in caves. She is fascinated by these shelters of stone and by Jondalar's people.

Much as she is intrigued by the Zelandonii, they are somewhat wary but fascinated by Ayla. Though attracted by her skill in hunting and healing, as well as her horses and wolf, the tribe doesn't always know what to make of this outsider who is Jondalar's beloved. Is she a wise woman they can trust?

From the very beginning of this series, I have been intrigued by how Ms. Auel has made prehistoric peoplewith their struggles to survive, their heartaches, passions and hatredsso much like us. Through her books, I've come to believe that time and technology may change, but mankind does not. Once more, within the pages of THE SHELTERS OF STONE, we glimpse the lives of another people so like us, and yet not. I was enraptured.

SHELTERS is not as action-packed as some of the earlier novels, such as The Mammoth Hunters, but it's just as compelling. It focuses more on Cro Magnon culture and the Zelandonii's ties to nature, their reverence of the Great Mother Earth. Ayla and Jondalar's passion burns brightly as they prepare to share their hearththe book is worth the price for their Matrimonial ceremony alone! Auel's fans will relish this latest offering. SENSUAL (Apr., 700 pp., $28.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin