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The Plains of Passage: Earth's Children, Book Four Mass Market Paperback – Oct 1 1991

4 out of 5 stars 226 customer reviews

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  • The Plains of Passage: Earth's Children, Book Four
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  • The Mammoth Hunters: Earth's Children, Book Three
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  • The Shelters of Stone: Earth's Children, Book Five
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (Oct. 1 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553289411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553289411
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 3.8 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 226 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The long-awaited fourth installment of the Earth's Children series is as warm and inviting as its campfire milieu. sure fire bestseller. Auel again describes her characters' travails, a passionate interest of millions of readers, in impeccably researched detail. The continuous recitation of flora and fauna, coupled with flashbacks to events in the previous books, becomes somewhat tiresome, however. (Would that our "memory" were as instinctual as that of the Clan.) The saga continues the cross-continental journey of Ayla, her mate Jondalar and their menagerie to his homeland. En route, they encounter a variety of problems, yet manage to find panaceas for each. Their enlightened compilation of skills, inventions, therapies and recipes transforms the voyagers into spirit-like personas providing The Others with constant awe. A brief encounter with the Neanderthal Clan rekindles the unique charm of the first (and strongest) book. Such locutions as "out of the cooking skin into the coals" or "Mother's path of milk" for the Milky Way are coyly anachronistic. Nonetheless, this volume is as welcome as letters from a long-lost friend. A novel 1.25 million first printing; major ad/promo; first serial to Ladies' Home Journal; BOMC main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Auel follows the successful formula of the other books in this series--man's emergence from primitivism to civilization. Ayla and Jondalar continue their journey, accompanied by Whinny, Racer, and Wolf, closely observing the terrain and prudently, even inventively, developing "modern" techniques to deal with danger and evil. Perhaps most interesting is Ayla's triumph over the matriarchal despot Attaroa; the reverberating echoes of the women's movement's attendant strengths and weaknesses lend a nice touch of irony. The love scenes are not quite as steamy as in the other books. The conclusion is too abrupt, coming just as the characters reach their destination, but The Plains of Passage is still satisfying.
- Joan L. Reynolds, West Potomac High School, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The frustration I have with this book (and also with the fifth book in the series) is that, after reading the Clan of the Cave Bear, I know the talent of which this author is capable. We do not, unfortunately, see much of that talent in this book.
Readers do not appreciate being treated as though they lack intelligence, and the extreme repetition found in this book (and in the fifth book) sends the reader the message that she is just too stupid to remember what went on before.
So much of the book became tedious and boring. Even the [love] scenes were repetitive. You could sum it all up by saying that Jondalar is quite a lover. Jondalar has a really big .... manhood. Ayla is as vunerable as a virgin, yet deep enough to take in all of Jondalar, which Jondalar really digs.
Readers feel cheated because the first book was so very, very good. But now it seems that all we are getting for our loyalty and anticipation is a lazy, repetitive effort.
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By A Customer on April 30 2002
Format: Hardcover
Well.... I picked up the first book in the series and should have put it down right away. I found Auel's narration very repetitive, even in the first few chapters, but I stuck with it, intrugued at what would happen to little Ayla. At the end of the book, I scurried to read the second, then the third and finally this one.
I have to say, this fourth book bored me stupid. I am not one to pass a sex scene by, but puh-lease! After the first one (a repeat performance of all the ones in "The Mammoth Hunters") I could stand no more. Between boring sex scenes, endless descriptions of pleistocene plant life (thanks Jean, we know you did some research, but enough already!) and a male lead I couldn't stand (Jondular), I probably skipped half the book in Fast Forward mode!
Am I the only person who just despised this guy Ayla was with? Who wanted her to tell him where to shove his moods and protectiveness, and run back to the place where she was happy (The Lion Camp)? Auel tried very hard to make you like this guy, but he was a whiner and wasn't going to be happy unless Ayla was bound up in a tent, unable to move and "get into danger." I really did try to like him, but couldn't see past his actions to actually doing so! The highlight of the book for me is when he gets caught by the tribe of women. As you can probably guess, Ayla goes bounding in to save him - and quite honestly, I don't think she should have bothered! He goes straight back to whining the second she hauls him out of there (he's desperate to get home and stops her from having any fun all the way through - except when he fancies a bit of nookie!)
In the unlikely event Ms Auel reads this, I am still intrigued to know how Ayla does in her new home, but please - no more repetitions!!
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By A Customer on Sept. 4 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What went wrong with Jean Auel? Her series went downhill fast after the first book, and by the third I was beginning to wonder if she'd run out of plot! It was over 50% 'filler' --- descriptions of the scenery, the sex, and a contrived love triangle that made me want to step in and mediate so we could get on with the story. Fans of the series might be able to hang on long enough to finish this book, but if you're not already hooked you're better off to walk away from this worm!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This section of the saga could have been combined with the arrival at Jondalar's home, minus the boring travel-log, and would have been a much better read.
Seriously, it read like a travel log.
Day 1 - they saw these plants, these animals. They ate this and that... They had a truly ridiculous conversation to recap the previous books just in case the reader hasn't read them yet.
Day 2 - repeat of day one with different plants and animals and food and another utterly stupid conversation...
Frankly, I skipped the other day-to-day travel descriptions, skimming ahead until they encountered other people just so I wouldn't have to read the horrific conversations the two of them had with each other. I told my husband that if we ever got to the point where we had conversations like that during our travels I would have to kill him. Yes, the author needed to recap the other 3 books just in case the reader hasn't read them, but honestly I felt it could have been done in a much more interesting way. Anyone who read this book without reading the others probably wouldn't read the previous (and much better) books strictly because no one wants to read about characters stupid enough to have these idiotic "remember when" conversations.
The characters didn't grow with this section of the saga. With the previous books, you could see improvements in the characters, ways that they grew spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, whatever. In this book, they appeared to be stuck in traveler's limbo. The characters themselves became boring and stagnant, making me wonder if they will continue to be characters that I truly want to read about. Truthfully, if I hadn't already purchased "Shelters of Stone", I think I would just pass. However, there is hope since I have started reading the 5th book in the series and so far, it is much better than the 4th.
I feel I could have skipped this segment of the saga entirely and not really missed anything.
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By A Customer on Jan. 3 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I actually bought and read this book when it first came out in hardcover in '91. The book has some interesting points, but it really starts to drag. When you get to the point where Ayla and Jondalar are bickering constantly, it gets really hard to read. Also, by this installment of the series, it really started to bug me that Ayla was always so well liked, and that she could do no wrong. Don't get me wrong, you always want the main character in any book to be smart, likable, etc., and you expect adversity, but it seemed like Ayla is just too eager to please everyone, too eager to help just gets really annoying. We all are waiting for the inevitable- her pregnancy, the two of them arriving at Jondalar's home- it just took too long to develop. The biggest disappointment is that when they finally arrive, oh! guess what? It's the end of the book!! I believe the first three books were way more interesting, and the stories certainly moved quickly. Be thankful that none of you will have to buy it in hardcover!
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