Ayla and Jondalar along with their beloved horses have ventured out from Ayla’s valley. They have decided it is time for Ayla to meet more of her own people. Before long they run into the Mamutoi, the Mammoth Hunters. Ayla’s different and unique ways attract the interest of these people who soon come to love the unusual new group, but there are also many challenges that the group must face together.
The Mammoth Hunters is the third of six books in the Earth Children’s series. This is a fictional story that takes place at the dawn of time, over 30,000 years ago and examines the practical and spiritual life of Cro-Magnons, the first early modern humans. Ms. Auel has done extensive research on this time period and her books have a wonderful historical quality. The story is told by a third-person omniscient narrator centering primarily on the main protagonist, Ayla, a young Cro-Magnon woman who was raised by Neanderthals and is now trying to reintegrate back into the society of her birth.
There are several themes running throughout this novel. The story looks at surviving within an environment where people are closely confined and in order to thrive they must live with co-operation and consideration. Yet it also examines discrimination, the harm that can come from it as well as the strength that is required to overcome it. I did enjoy the story, but I also thought it dragged and most of the dialogue was weak. There was too much detail given towards everyday living and not enough given for the development of the characters. I also felt that Jondalar’s conflict went on too long and became rather tiresome.
This standalone novel concludes a portion of Ayla’s journey, but her story is not yet over. Overall, I thought the book was OK, and I am not sure whether I am going to continue with the series.