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Authors: Jean M. Auel

The Valley of Horses

BOOK: The Valley of Horses
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The Valley of Horses

“Auel may be creating one of the most believable characters in English fiction—one to rank with Sherlock Holmes, Scarlett O’Hara and a handful of others.”


“A powerful story … Auel is a highly imaginative writer. She humanizes prehistory and gives it immediacy and clarity.”

—The New York Times Book Review

“Ayla is an unforgettable heroine of fierce courage, determination, and sensitivity. A wonderful, exciting story.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Entertaining and provocative … A kind of prehistoric romance replete with graphic descriptions of Ayla’s awakening sexual interest … An old love story in a totally unpredictable and delightfully drawn setting.”

Chicago Tribune Book World

“A fascinating and original novel.”

—Los Angeles Herald Examiner

“Auel makes a plot come alive.… She writes with innocent sensuousness, good humor, and compassion.”

Houston Chronicle

This eBook version of
contains bonus content not found in the printed version.

A Sneak Preview from
Read an exciting preview from Jean M. Auel’s
The Land of Painted Caves
, on sale in hardcover in Spring 2011.

Series Sampler
Read excerpts from each of the novels in the
Earth’s Children

Q&A with Jean M. Auel
In this special Q&A, Jean M. Auel discusses her bestselling
Earth’s Children

This edition contains the complete text of the original hardcover edition.

A Bantam Book / published by arrangement with Crown Publishers

Crown edition published September 1982
A Featured Alternate Selection of The Literary Guild / January 1983
Bantam edition / September 1983
Bantam reissue / November 1991
Bantam reissue / March 2002

EARTH’S CHILDREN is a trademark of Jean M. Auel

All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1982 by Jean M. Auel

Excerpt from
The Land of Painted Caves
copyright © 2011 by Jean M. Auel.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 82-005123.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
For information address: Crown Publishers, Inc.,
New York, NY.

eISBN: 978-0-307-76762-2

This book contains an excerpt from the
forthcoming book The Land of Painted Caves
. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.

Bantam Books are published by The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, New York 10036.


who read the first draft of both
and for ASHER,
with love



Title Page



Novels by Jean M. Auel



Excerpt from
The Land of Painted Caves

Earth’s Children
Series Sampler

An Interview with Jean M. Auel

About the Author

Novels by Jean M. Auel


And the latest novel in the
Earth’s Children


In addition to the people mentioned in
The Clan of the Cave Bear
, whose help has been of continuing assistance for this
Earth’s Children
book, and for which I am still grateful, I am further indebted to:

The director, Dr. Denzel Ferguson, and staff of Malheur Field Station, in the high desert steppes country of central Oregon, and most especially to Jim Riggs. He taught, among other things, how a fire is made, how a spear-thrower is used, how bulrushes make sleeping mats, how to pressure-flake a stone tool, and how to squish deer brains—who would have thought that could turn deer hide into velvety soft leather?

Doreen Gandy, for her careful reading and most appreciated comments so I could be assured this book stands alone.

Ray Auel, for support, encouragement, assistance, and doing the dishes.

  1. “Venus” of Lespugue. Ivory (restored). Height 14.7 cm/5¾ in. Found Lespugue (Haute-Garonne), France.
    Musée de l’Homme, Paris
  2. “Venus” of Willendorf. Limestone with traces of red ochre. Height 11 cm/4 in. Found Willendorf, Wachau, Lower Austria.
    Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna
  3. “Venus” of Vestonice. Fired clay (with bone). Height 11.4 cm/4½ in. Found Dolni Vestonice, Mikulov, Moravia, Czechoslovakia.
    Moravian Museum, Brno
  4. Female Figurine. Ivory. Height 5.8 cm/2¼ in. Found Gagarino, Ukraine, USSR.
    Ethnographic Institute, Leningrad
  5. Lady of Brassempouy. Ivory (fragment). Height 3.2 cm/1¼ in. Found Grotte du Pape, Brassempouy (Landes), France.
    Musée des Antiquites Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-laye

She was dead. What did it matter if icy needles of freezing rain flayed her skin raw. The young woman squinted into the wind, pulling her wolverine hood closer. Violent gusts whipped her bearskin wrap against her legs.

Were those trees ahead? She thought she remembered seeing a scraggly row of woody vegetation on the horizon earlier, and wished she had paid more attention, or that her memory was as good as that of the rest of the Clan. She still thought of herself as Clan, though she never had been, and now she was dead.

She bowed her head and leaned into the wind. The storm had come upon her suddenly, hurtling down from the north, and she was desperate for shelter. But she was a long way from the cave, and unfamiliar with the territory. The moon had gone through a full cycle of phases since she left, but she still had no idea where she was going.

North, to the mainland beyond the peninsula, that was all she knew. The night Iza died, she had told her to leave, told her Broud would find a way to hurt her when he became leader. Iza had been right. Broud had hurt her, worse than she ever imagined.

He had no good reason to take Durc away from me, Ayla thought. He’s my son. Broud had no good reason to curse me, either. He’s the one who made the spirits angry. He’s the one who brought on the earthquake. At least she knew what to expect this time. But it happened so fast that even the clan had taken a while to accept it, to close her out of their sight. But they couldn’t stop Durc from seeing her, though she was dead to the rest of the clan.

Broud had cursed her on impulse born of anger. When Brun had cursed her, the first time, he had prepared them.
He’d had reason; they knew he had to do it, and he’d given her a chance.

She raised her head to another icy blast, and noticed it was twilight. It would be dark soon, and her feet were numb. Frigid slush was soaking through her leather foot coverings despite the insulating sedge grass she had stuffed in them. She was relieved to see a dwarfed and twisted pine.

Trees were rare on the steppes; they grew only where there was moisture enough to sustain them. A double row of pines, birches, or willows, sculptured by wind into stunted asymmetrical shapes, usually marked a watercourse. They were a welcome sight in dry seasons in a land where groundwater was scarce. When storms howled down the open plains from the great northern glacier, they offered protection, scant though it was.

A few more steps brought the young woman to the edge of a stream, though only a narrow channel of water flowed between the ice-locked banks. She turned west to follow it downstream, looking for denser growth that would give more shelter than the nearby scrub.

She plodded ahead, her hood pulled forward, but looked up when the wind ceased abruptly. Across the stream a low bluff guarded the opposite bank. The sedge grass did nothing to warm her feet when the icy water seeped in crossing over, but she was grateful to be out of the wind. The dirt wall of the bank had caved in at one place, leaving an overhang thatched with tangled grass roots and matted old growth, and a fairly dry spot beneath.

She untied the waterlogged thongs that held her carrying basket to her back and shrugged it off, then took out a heavy aurochs hide and a sturdy branch stripped of twigs. She set up a low, sloping tent, held down with rocks and driftwood logs. The branch held it open in front.

BOOK: The Valley of Horses
3.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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