• The Shelters of Stone

  • By: Jean M. Auel
  • Narrated by: Rowena Cooper
  • Length: 29 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (62 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The fifth book in the hugely successful Earth's Children series.

Ayla and Jondalar have reached home: the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii, the old stone age settlement in the region known today as south-west France. Ayla has much to learn from the Zelandonii as well as much to teach them. Jondalar's family are initially wary of the beautiful young woman he has brought back, with her strange accent and her tame wolf and horses. She is delighted when she meets Zelandoni, the spiritual leader of her people, a fellow healer with whom she can share her medicinal skills.

After the rigours and dangers that have characterised her extraordinary life, Ayla yearns for peace and tranquillity; to be Jondalar's mate and to have children. But her unique spiritual gifts cannot be ignored, and even as she gives birth to their eagerly-awaited child, she is coming to accept that she has a greater role to play in the destiny of the Zelandonii.

©2002 Jean M. Auel (P)2004 AudioGO Ltd

What listeners say about The Shelters of Stone

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I liked it but...

I was very disappointed in Rowena for changing her pronounciation of Zelandonii. In Valley of the Horses, it was established that it was pronounced Zelandonyee, but in this book (where it's repeated a hundred times!) she changes it to Zelandonee-eye. Soooo frustrating. There were a few other things that got on my nerves: The River she pronounces as Thee River, more often than not. I think this is more an error on Jean's part, though. It is extremely distracting and very unnecessary. This is the last book I care for in the series. The final book is not to my taste at all and I have no desire to purchase the audible version, having already read the printed version.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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dragged on

The author repeats information again and again. The plot is undeveloped and there are too many characters.

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Mediocre

Well.. I've been binge listening to these books for some months now and I love the first two. But the 3rd and this was rather mediocre. A lot of repetition and not much really happening. If I had something else in mind to read I'd end the series here as I don't expect the next one to be any better. But I don't have anything else in mind and it's grown into a routine so why not just finish it..? mixed feelings about this one and at times my thoughts wandered some were else as the book didn't really catch my attention as much as I'd preferred. Don't get me wrong; I love the world and the personalities, and I'll use my credit to give the last book a chance.

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Fantastic, Astounding, un-putdownable😁

absolutely love these books, have been hooked since the very first one and continue to be transfixed by Ayla and Jondular's journey both figuritively and emotionally. The amount of research that I know had gone into these books is astounding. Well done to Jean and all concerned, I can't wait to read the best installment into the lives of this wonderful couple 😊

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  • Treehugger
  • 04-18-20

Very repetitive!

The 5th book in the series about Ayla and Jondalar, who live during the Ice Age.

Jean Auel has done a prodigious amount of research, most of which would probably have been better presented in a lengthy and voluminous research paper about the Ice Age rather than trying to craft a story. This always reads as if Auel is petrified of wasting or omitting the slightest bit of research and so has to stuff it ALL in somehow, as if every chapter is allocated a list of animals/plants/rocks etc to be crammed in amid the storyline. There seems to be no editing or discrimination made between what's necessary to the story and what is just self-indulgently shoehorned in with no regard for the reader. (I quote: "They could see the confluence of the small river as it turned west, and the main stream as it flowed east. The smaller river flowed into the primary just before it turned south, while it was flowing down a west flowing section of its course". Yawn! Since we are not told the name of the continent or the local place names, we don't need this guidebook information as we won't be visiting....but for college students of geology, anthropology or archaeology, this info might be some use. )
However, it does serve to make the story believable and immersive, as we learn about all the details of the different societies, customs, foods, herbs, hunting, spiritual lore, clothing and dwellings described through the story. I liked all the detailed thought that went into the creating of different languages, ways and customs unique to every type of people. But all the geology and geography was just a bit too much.

The premise of this story is a good one, showing how a woman raised by Neanderthals can integrate into cro-magnon society.
Ayla is orphaned in an earthquake aged 5 and raised by a Neanderthal Clan till age 14 (1st and best book).
She is cast out by a nasty new leader, forced to leave her son behind, and wanders alone, finally finding a home in a lush green valley in the middle of inhospitable steppes, where she saves Jondalar, who is on a long journey, from a cave lion attack and they fall in love after some hideous misunderstandings (book 2, also very good).
They then plan to go back to his homeland but on the way meet the Mamutoi, who they stay with for the winter, amid more horrible misunderstandings which makes you want to bash their heads together (book 3, still pretty good although starting to get a little irritating wth repetitions).
After a long journey spanning an entire continent (4th book), heaps of annoying repetition and miles of intensely and unnecessarily detailed descriptions, Ayla and Jondalar finally reach his homeland. where, after a few hiccups, they settle down.... This is the basic storyline of this 5th book.

Nothing much happens here, but we do get inundated with more and more lengthy repetitions and intensely detailed descriptions which flesh out the story. The descriptions of every geological strata, river, insect, cave etc etc go on and on and on, forcing the poor reader to fast forward 10 minutes every few pages in order to be able to get back to the actual storyline.

The book is liberally peppered (nay, dolloped) with passages from the previous four books reproduced almost verbatim, showing that Jean Auel condescendingly considers her readers to be a retarded bunch of morons who can't remember anything. Either that or she has autism and OCD and suffers severe anxiety unless everything is obsessively explained over and over again every few minutes to make it more than crystal clear. Ayla's unusual accent, her control of horses, Wolf's way of being introduced to strangers and Jondalar's Mills and Boon-style lovemaking techniques are all explained in great detail every single time they occur. And of course, Ayla just happens to be a stunningly beautiful, incredibly virtuous nymphomaniac with huge breasts....

Rowena Cooper, the narrator, changes her pronunciation of certain words from book to book, sometimes for the better ("withes" becomes "withees" instead of the incorrect "wyths".) In this book, "Zelandoni" suddenly turns into "Zelandoni-eye" and "Mamuti" has become "Mamuti-eye" which is a little irritating.
Rowena also has her own idiosyncratic way of pronouncing certain other words such as primarily ("primrly") necessarily ("necessrly") and temporarily ("temprly") also, she stresses the 2nd syllable of "innovative" making it into "inNIvitive" instead of "INNovative". There's also a river called The River, which Rowena calls "Thee River" which is unnecessarily irritating.

In every book there are also mostly nice characters but always one token challenging or nasty character who Ayla has to win over. This also gets quite formulaic and repetitive.

Several key themes introduced in the previous books (Ayla's Clan son, meetings with Clan people, their longed-for child) are completely forgotten rather than being resolved or explored. Even once their child is born, she appears to be an amorphous blob who sleeps all the time, as if Auel can't be bothered with developing a new character or anything apart from her beloved caves and geology.

I have deliberately not bothered to get hold of the 6th book because of all the terrible reviews it got. I can see where it's going: nowhere.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Catherine Howard
  • 10-16-17

The series is hurtling downhill

Do read 'Clan of the Cave Bear' and 'Valley of Horses' after that the books start to go downhill. This one is hurtling to the pit which is the last book of the series that you shouldn't waste your money on. 'The Shelters of Stone' is just about worth buying.
Jean Auel knows her stuff and writes with authority and great depth about the Ice Age. And although the story has a good basis her story telling lets her down.
Dialogue is stilted and Auel hardly uses any other word to replace 'said', so in conversations so-and-so said, and he said and she said and so-and-so said. Please! Why on earth didn't the proof reader pick this up and ask her to change it to 'replied' or 'agreed' ...anything bar 'said'.
Auel also repeats parts of the story 2 or 3 times each book. It gets boring. As do the too-intimate sex scenes - after all, how many ways are there of saying 'pulsing manhood'

But if you've got this far in the series this book should wrap the story up but don't expect excitement or new ideas.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Sandy Suds
  • 07-20-15

Timeless

Would you listen to The Shelters of Stone again? Why?

I could listen to this story so many times. Having already read it, but now finding reading difficult due to failing eyesight, I have rediscovered these old friends anew and am delighting in the pleasure of the stories.

What other book might you compare The Shelters of Stone to, and why?

In my view there is no other book which can compare with this. The whole Clan of the Cave Bear Saga is a one-off and is so delightful in its development in the life of the young woman, Ayla.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

My favourite scene was when Ayla and Jondalar finally reached the land of the Zelandoni and she met Jondalar's family, at long last becoming a respected person in her own right.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could not stop listening to this, and unfortunately fell asleep on several occasions so that I had to rewind. In order to rectify this, I resorted to listening while in the bath - a most leisurely and much recommended way to have a long soak in a bath.

Any additional comments?

One of the best series of stories to have been produced in the modern day.

2 people found this helpful

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  • john
  • 09-01-21

Too much recapping.

If you've recently listened to the earlier books, the persistent recapping will drive you too distraction.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Antigone
  • 11-29-20

getting too repetitive

This book is the weakest so far - so so many repetitive themes and flashback and the Author repeats unnecessarily - we have endless wolf introductions and Whinney naming explanations.
I’m really sick of the deadly immature sex scenes and the flow of the book is irritating with the word ‘said’ in almost every sentence.
I enjoyed the earlier ones but this feels like the ending I’d just being dragged out

1 person found this helpful

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  • marika
  • 06-29-20

Enjoyable but redundant

I have loved this series for a long time. However I do start to find some parts quite redundant; as Jean M. Auel summarizes almost all of the previous books repeatedly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • LivingTheDream
  • 04-14-18

Getting repetitive

Having read all of the previous books this seems like a natural place to end Aylas story. Reviews for the next book are not good.

The story is still enticing but without the same level of intrigue created in previous books. There was a certain sense of inevitability which meant no real surprises. I felt more like I was going through the motions having devoted so much time to this story. Still worth a listen but unlikely I will continue to book 7.

1 person found this helpful

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  • GoldenAspen
  • 10-31-17

Enjoyable, but starting to get very repetitive

It’s nice to know what happens as Ayla and Jondalar reach the end of their journey, but I can’t help but feel we have heard the story of how she found the horses, found jondalar, trained wolf, introducing wolf a gazillion times. Hopefully the final book has a bit more storyline!

1 person found this helpful

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  • K. L. Sturgess
  • 07-23-22

a lovely continuation of thr story.

Ayla's life continues, returning to Jondalah's family. A heart warming story of their travels and life together, of love

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-14-22

Excellence

Another excellent book in the series, again a great narration! only 1 book left in the series snd already want an extra book!

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  • paulak1709
  • 09-20-20

credit needed please

I downloaded this book by mistake, though I'm loving the series, I have looked at this book out of order and request a credit please, it's unread, but I know the story now, so can't go back. Have LOVED this series though!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-03-18

Very repetitive but enjoyable

I was a little put off by some of the reviews on this book but having come so far with with Ayla and Jondalar I could not, in all good conscience, desert them now. The book is rather repetitive and I think Auel was so so impressed with her Mother Earth poem that she had to repeat it as often as possible. But the 5th time it was killing me. I did enjoy the rather slow moving story and will certainly finish out the series regardless of the poor reviews on the next book. Those that have come so far with these characters will have little problem continuing with their story. Happy Reading!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-25-22

great escapism

the final book did not dissapoint but sad that Jean did not continue the saga.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-13-22

Absolutely Great Storytelling

Absolutely wonderful xxxx i wanna go there and live. Such a vivid Story … all the earth series are wonderful Stories i feel i know the characters personally… i have read all the books numerous times and the content and Story never get old . i’d love to to see netflix do a series on the books/Story. i would recommend all the books to anyone that loves to read and escape with storytelling.

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  • R. E. Orkney
  • 04-09-22

A real downslide

the storyline just got so boring that nothing could save it. disappointing would be an understatement. Sadly the next one is even worse with masses of repetition and that god awful mother song.

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  • helen
  • 11-03-21

great continuing story line

continuing story of Ayla. sometimes repetitive of previous information to allow to be read as a stand alone I guess. unfortunately the narrators tone is not quite right, I am totally unable to listen to the frequent intimate moments between the characters as it's akin to having your mother read you an erotic story..... so I have to skip over these.

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  • Suzanne
  • 07-14-21

Great story and great narration

Rowena has a perfect voice for story telling and really does the book justice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-24-21

Clan of the Cave Bear 5: Nothing Happens

This book has no major plot. Ayla continues to be the ultimate Mary Sue (again): she is now TELEPATHIC and the first person to realise that sex leads to babies. Minor plots and themes include: Ayla and Jondalar marry and have a baby, Ayla and Wolf discover a cave, Zelandoni insists Ayla needs to become an acolyte, Ayla becomes child protective services, Ayla is victim to petty jealousy from Jondalar’s former fiancée, and tensions arise over Neanderthal-Homo sapien hybrids.
The ideas that Neanderthals are people and animals can be domesticated are repeated ad nauseam. Jean M. Auel is clearly extremely proud of her “song of the mother” poem because it’s repeated at least 3 times and takes up minimum 10 minutes each time. Also sex. Lots and lots of graphic Stone Age sex.
It’s an incredibly dull and repetitive story, with no major plot, and all minor plots coming to nothing.

The narrator does a credible job, aside from saying “THE river” instead of “the River,” and mispronouncing the ii in Zelandonii/Lanzadonii.

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  • Liana
  • 11-14-18

another amazing one

loved it, great easy listening, I can't wait to get my hands on the next book

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  • myshell
  • 02-14-18

Informative, heart warming story

If you could sum up The Shelters of Stone in three words, what would they be?

Informative, heart warming, just wow

What did you like best about this story?

the information it contained on locations, culture etc

Which character – as performed by Rowena Cooper – was your favourite?

Alya

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes

Any additional comments?

will be reading the series