The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children, Book 2)
Jean M. Auel
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This unforgettable odyssey into the distant past carries us back to the awesome mysteries of the exotic, primeval world of The Clan of the Cave Bear, and to Ayla, now grown into a beautiful and courageous young woman.
Cruelly cast out by the new leader of the ancient Clan that adopted her as a child, Ayla leaves those she loves behind and travels alone through a stark, open land filled with dangerous animals but few people, searching for the Others, tall and fair like herself. The short summer gives her little time to look, and when she finds a sheltered valley with a herd of hardy steppe horses, she decides to stay and prepare for the long glacial winter ahead. Living with the Clan has taught Ayla many skills but not real hunting. She finally knows she can survive when she traps a horse, which gives her meat and a warm pelt for the winter, but fate has bestowed a greater gift, an orphaned foal with whom she develops a unique kinship.
One winter extends to more; she discovers a way to make fire more quickly and a wounded cave lion cub joins her unusual family, but her beloved animals don’t fulfill her restless need for human companionship. Then she hears the sound of a man screaming in pain. She saves tall, handsome Jondalar, who brings her a language to speak and an awakening of love and desire, but Ayla is torn between her fear of leaving her valley and her hope of living with her own kind.
he knew. The Journey that had begun as an adventure had lost its edge of excitement, yet he was being drawn, almost against his will, farther away from home. What could Thonolan hope to find going east? And what could there possibly be for him in that direction? The great river gorge was foreboding under the gray overcast sky. Naked rock reared out of the water from deep roots and rose in towering bulwarks on both sides. On the left bank, a series of ramparts of sharp, angular rock climbed in
full-grown lion. He was Baby—that was all that mattered. She had no fear of this cave lion. She climbed up some jagged rocks toward him. He turned and snarled at her. “Stop it, Baby!” she commanded with signal and sound. He paused only a moment, but by then she was beside him and pushing him out of the way so she could see his prey. The woman was too familiar, her attitude too certain for him to resist. He moved aside, as he had always done before when she came upon him with a kill and wanted to
they’re human,” she interrupted. “You are going to hear that word a lot, Ayla. It’s only fair to tell you. You should also know that for a man to force a Clan woman is one thing—not approved, but overlooked. For a woman to ‘share Pleasures’ with a flathead male is … unforgivable to many people.” “Abomination?” Jondalar blanched, but pressed on. “Yes, Ayla. Abomination.” “I am not abomination!” she flared. “And Durc is not abomination! I did not like what Broud did to me, but it was not
your head looks a little different. Someday you’ll be a great hunter. And good with the sling. And run faster than anyone. You’ll win all the races at the Clan Gathering. Maybe not the wrestling, you might not be that strong, but you’ll be strong. But who will play the game of making sounds with you? And who will make the happy noises with you? I’ve got to stop this, she scolded herself, wiping tears away with the back of her hand. I should be glad you have people who love you, Durc. And when
prevented by his weakness, or his difference, from doing what other children did? How many times had he wished he could do something to be admired or envied for? Now, for the first time, as he sat on the back of a horse, all the children of the Camp, and all the adults, were watching him with wishful eyes. The woman from the dwelling saw and wondered, Had this stranger truly understood the boy so quickly? Accepted him so easily? She saw the way Ayla was looking at Rydag, and knew it was so.