End of the Cave Bear

Hard to believe, but it was more than three decades ago that the world learned about the Clan of the Cave Bears, the prehistoric group created by novelist Jean Auel.

painted caves

In stock: Painted Caves.

The continuing series has had its doubters as to conclusion. It may seem like decades have passed for readers of Shelters of Stone, who have been patiently – or impatiently – waiting for the next episode.

During the interim, there were rumors that Jean Auel had died, was in serious decline, or had simply quit writing. Not true.

The sixth and purportedly final chapter of the series, The Land of the Painted Caves is in bookstores Wednesday, and early reviews indicate the wrap up may not be complete.

If you are not among those who have plowed through one of Auel’s reported 45 million books sold, here is an overview.

Five-year-old Ayla is an orphaned Cro-Magnon girl who finds herself taken in by Neanderthals in The Clan of the Cave Bear, the first book in the series called Earth’s Children. Through the course of five tomes (they average 700 pages), Ayla finds a mate, gives birth to a baby girl, Jonayla. Ayla isn’t an outcast any longer.

She’s the big prehistoric cheese.

The book jumped in at thte #5 spot on Amazon’s daily bestselling list.