The Winter of Our Discontent: a Review of The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel

Book 3 of the Earth’s Children Saga

Review by Navah Kennedy

Ayla and Jondalar have decided to visit with the Lion Camp of the Mamutoi so that Ayla can acclimate to the “People of the Others”, people like herself.  After a short stay, Talut, the headman of Lion Camp, with the approval of his sister Tulie the headwoman of the camp, offers the pair a place to winter. the two accept after a short debate. Ayla mostly wants to stay because of Rydag, a young boy who like her own son is half Clan, half Others.  Ayla instantly loves him and compares him to her Durc. Rydag was adopted when he was an infant by Nezzie, Talut’s mate, and she too, loves the boy like a son.  However, there is a prejudice by some in the camp against the boy, and against the Clan. The Clan are  viewed as animals by many in the Lion Camp, and even Jondalar holds a similar hatred of Ayla’s adopted Family.

Ayla and Jondalar are living at the Mammoth Hearth as do all visitors when out of Nowhere, Talut and Tulie offer to adopt them both into the Mamutoi. Jondalar declines the offer saying he will always be of the Zelandonii, but Ayla, after much thought decides to become Ayla of the Mamutoi, as she is currently Ayla of No People.  At her adoption Ayla’s names and ties are officially named. she is now Ayla of the Lion Camp of the Mamutoi, Friend to the horses Whinney and Racer, Chosen of the Great Cave Lion, Protected by the Cave bear.

Ayla is taken into the Mammoth Hearth and becomes Old Mamut’s daughter.  Mamut is the group’s shaman and reminds Ayla of her beloved Creb, who died in the earth quake after Broud had Ayla  Death Cursed.  On the night of her adoption the ebony skinned carver Ranec gives Ayla what she has come to recognize as the “signal” of the Others.  As a woman of the Clan, Ayla had no choice in whom she shared her body with. If a man gave her the signal, she had to assume the position so that the man could use her to relieve himself. Only having been with Jondalar, Ayla had no way to know that she could refuse Ranec. She goes to his bed.

In this one instance a green fire of jealousy ignites between Jondalar and Ranec. They both want Ayla to Join with them.   Jondalar, wanting Ayla to be happy, decides, without consulting her, that Ayla would be happier staying with the Mamutoi and mating with Ranec, and so makes plans to Journey home in the spring.  Ayla struggles to figure out what she has done wrong to make Jondalar not love her anymore.

Ayla decides that if Jondalar, whom she loves, no longer loves her, at least Ranec does love her and so she will mate with Ranec.  Ayla hopes every day that Jondalar will change his mind, but will he come to his senses and talk to her before it’s too late?

This is a beautifully human story. So touching! I have outlined the basic story,but as with all of Auel’s books, this is so full of historically accurate details, one learns just as much as one is entertained. This has a lot of twists, and almosts.  It is filled with tension and is relevant even today with many of the themes that are found in the tale. Highly reccomended.

4/5 stars

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About Navah Vesper Anat Yehudit

I am an avid fan of the Ballet, am expanding my tastes in Opera and all all Classical Arts. I enjoy Japanese art, needle craft, crochet, knitting, and though my past-times are old-fashioned, and some of my ideas are, that isn't necessarily a bad thing in this age of progress for the sake of progress.
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2 Responses to The Winter of Our Discontent: a Review of The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel

  1. Can you tell me who did your layout? I’ve been looking for one kind of like yours. Thank you.

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