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Earth’s Children Books In Order

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Publication Order of Earth's Children Books

The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Valley of Horses (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mammoth Hunters (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Plains of Passage (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Shelters of Stone (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Land of Painted Caves (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

This is a series of speculative alternative historical fixation which was written by Jean M. Aeul. Basically, they are six novels in the series. The series are set in Europe during the upper Paleolithic era. Generally, the series is a story of personal discovery; invention, explicit romantic sex, cultural complexities, and coming of age. It covers the story of Ayla who is an orphan girl. She is adopted and raised by a certain tribe in Neanderlands. In the book of Valley of Horses, She embarks on a journey to find others of her kind. She eventually meets Jondalar who turns to be her romantic interest and supporting co-protagonist. They meet various groups of Cro magnons and encounter their technology and culture. The series includes very detailed focus on herbology, archaeology, anthropology, botany, and herbal medicine. It also features extensive amount of romance.

The series

In this series, two cultures are seen to vie for space, resources, and survival in the clan of Cro-Magnons. Both cultures have different technology but both depend on flint for their tool. They also recognize the importance of fire and its use; they use it in gathering and hunting. Cro magnons are enthusiastic about innovation and have moved on to making spears. The clans clothing, tools and household implements are less refined compared to those of Cro magnons that are technologically stylish.

The Neanderthals have a far more limited vocal collection than the others and are able to communicate effectively instead of using gestures or sign language. Aeul describes the language sued as being quite nuanced.

The wider clan possesses localized language and more formal ancient language. It is used to converse with ancestors and is almost understood by every member in the clan. The language facilitates easy communication at the interregional meetings which are normally held in separate groups and which don’t require the multilingualism that others must require.

In Cro-Magnon culture, the idea of telling an untruth is strange to the culture of the clan. Aeul depicts the clan’s reluctance to change as they are presented in as dependent on their race and genetic memory. The average child in the clan memorizes everything, he/she is only reminded once and the child knows it permanently through skilled responsibilities, but still need repetitive practice. They also need to encode everything into the brain to increase the average of Neanderthal size of the head.


In the series, every Neanderthal is a member of the clan. They live in small tribes which are also called clans. Ayla is adopted into the clan of Brun which later develops into Broud’s clan. Women in the clan can’t hunt or make hunting tools, neither can a woman lead a clan or become a Mog Ur.

Sex and reproduction

Aeul has incorporated sex into her culture in unique ways. According to her, sex can be treated as purely physical need but later it is always imbued with something of the sacred. In the clan, there exists a hand sign that only men are capable of making and women can only receive. The clan has a belief that babies are created by totems and they have no connection with copulation and conception, and the lines of descent are matrilineal. Any children born by a man’s mate are considered his heir and he is obligated to provide for his family and train her sons on how to hunt. The issue of who is mated to who is purely decided by the men and in most cases through wise leaders. Aeul also talks about sexual maturity which is a subject of semi religious customs which usually take place in the summer meetings. Women volunteers every year to become sexual tutors for boys at maturity. These women are mostly pregnant by the end of the summer; a belief of great earth mother smiling upon their devoutness. Young women are subject of a far more formal ceremony referred to as First Rites; it involves ritual deflowering by a man chosen from her friends.

In mother Festivals, women and men are allowed to copulate with however they choose. Generally, the polygamous practices smear hereditary lines. Ayla has a belief that children result for sexual activity and this belief is treated with skepticism among other members in the clan. Women are seen to be infrequently celibate therefore connection between pregnancy and sex appears to be harder to separate.


The clan basically worships animal spirits specifically the Ursus Cave Bear. The spirit taught the clan to wear fur and store up reserves in the seasons of abundance. The honoring of the spirit is what binds the clans together. The book, Clan of the Cave Bear, it describes the Brun’s clan chance of seeing a living cave bear on their way to the clan gathering. This was Ursus; he was the Kin of the clan and embodied their very essence. The people felt that there was a spiritual bond between them which was far more meaningful than any other physical one. It was through the spirit of Ursus that all clans were united.

The animals used in worship were always male. However, in those early days, weather spirits such as rain and wind usually bore female names. The tradition of the clan holds that if a woman sees one of the means religious ceremonies, the clan will suffer a disaster. When a ceremony is held to sanction Ayla’s hunting, there was a strong protection for the men to guard against the female who were present in the ceremony. Ayla observed one of the highest ceremonies at the clan gathering which was interpreted by Creb to foretell doom for the whole clan.

Other people in the clan worship the moon and the Great Earth Mother. Spiritual leaders administer faith and guidance with different names depending on language. Aeul also describes the names of those people who abandoned their personal names in favour of name of their god and people i.e Mamutoi who was the only Mamut of the lion camp.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Earth’s Children

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