2002 "First Edition" stated; Crown Publishers, New York; large hardbound in ivory and earth yellow boards with gilt lettering on spine; author's signature imbedded on front cover, very nice; very good condition with unmarked pages, appears unread; dust jacket very good.
The Shelters of Stone is a historical fiction novel by Jean M. Auel published in April 2002. It is the sequel to The Plains of Passage – published 12 years earlier – and fifth in the Earth's Children series. It describes the return of Jondalar to his homeland along with Ayla.
Central to this book is the tension created by Ayla's healing art, her pregnancy, and the acceptance of her by Jondalar's people, the Zelandonii. Ayla was raised by Clan Neanderthals, known as "flatheads" to the Zelandonii and viewed as no better than animals. For the Zelandonii to accept Ayla they must first overcome their prejudice against the Neanderthals. Luckily for Ayla and Jondalar, some of the higher-ranking Zelandonii already have doubts of this misjudgment.
Two of their number, Echozar and Brukeval, are of partial Neanderthal ancestry and are ashamed of it. Echozar at least is pacified by Ayla's own story and by his (Echozar's) own marriage to Joplaya, Jondalar's close-cousin (half-sister). Brukeval, on the other hand, rejects his heritage utterly and refuses to listen to reason.
Jondalar's first romantic interest, Zelandoni, formerly known as Zolena, has now become the First among the spiritual leaders. She supports adopting Ayla into their society, if not least for the healing arts she brings to the cave, although Ayla also must overcome the feeling that she is uncomfortable with a full connection with the spirit world. After Ayla helps a mortally injured hunter live long enough to see his mate, the First senses that Ayla needs to be brought into the fold of the Zelandonia (mystics, named after their culture so as to identify themselves with it) so that she will be accepted as a healer by all the people of the cave.
At one point, Ayla persuades...