The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children #3)

The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children #3)

by Jean M. Auel

Paperback(Large Print)

$10.77 $16.95 Save 36% Current price is $10.77, Original price is $16.95. You Save 36%. View All Available Formats & Editions


Once again Jean M. Auel opens the door of a time long past to reveal an age of wonder and danger at the dawn of the modern human race. With all the consummate storytelling artistry and vivid authenticity she brought to The Clan of the Cave Bear and its sequel, The Valley of Horses, Jean M. Auel continues the breathtaking epic journey of the woman called Ayla.

Riding Whinney with Jondalar, the man she loves, and followed by the mare’s colt, Ayla ventures into the land of the Mamutoi—the Mammoth Hunters. She has finally found the Others she has been seeking. Though Ayla must learn their different customs and language, she is adopted because of her remarkable hunting ability, singular healing skills, and uncanny fire-making technique. Bringing back the single pup of a lone wolf she has killed, Ayla shows the way she tames animals. She finds women friends and painful memories of the Clan she left behind, and meets Ranec, the dark-skinned, magnetic master carver of ivory, whom she cannot refuse—inciting Jondalar to a fierce jealousy that he tries to control by avoiding her. Unfamiliar with the ways of the Others, Ayla misunderstands, and thinking Jondalar no longer loves her, she turns more to Ranec. Throughout the icy winter the tension mounts, but warming weather will bring the great mammoth hunt and the mating rituals of the Summer Meeting, when Ayla must choose to remain with Ranec and the Mamutoi, or to follow Jondalar on a long journey into an unknown future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781560549819
Publisher: Macmillan Library Reference
Publication date: 06/01/1991
Series: Earth's Children Series , #3
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 1211
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jean M. Auel is an international phenomenon. Her Earth's Children® series has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide and includes The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters, The Plains of Passage, The Shelters of Stone, and The Land of Painted Caves. Her extensive research has earned her the respect of archaeologists and anthropologists around the world. She has honorary degrees from four universities and was honored by the French government's Ministry of Culture with the medal of an "Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters". She lives with her husband, Ray, in Oregon.


Portland, Oregon

Date of Birth:

February 18, 1936

Place of Birth:

Chicago, Illinois


M.B.A., University of Portland, 1976

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Trembling with fear, Ayla clung to the tall man beside her as she watched the strangers approach. Jondalar put his arm around her protectively, but she still shook.

He's so big! Ayla thought, gaping at the man in the lead, the one with hair and beard the color of fire. She had never seen anyone so big. He even made Jondalar seem small, though the man who held her towered over most men. The red-haired man coming toward them was more than tall; he was huge, a bear of a man. His neck bulged, his chest could have filled out two ordinary men, his massive biceps matched most men's thighs.

Ayla glanced at Jondalar and saw no fear in his face, but his smile was guarded. They were strangers, and in his long travels he had learned to be wary of strangers.

"I don't recall seeing you before," the big man said without preamble. "What Camp are you from?" He did not speak Jondalar's language, Ayla noticed, but one of the others he had been teaching her.

"No Camp," Jondalar said. "We are not Mamutoi." He unclasped Ayla and took a step forward, holding out both hands, palms upward showing he was hiding nothing, in the greeting of friendliness. "I am Jondalar of the Zelandonii."

The hands were not accepted. "Zelandonii? That's a strange . . . Wait, weren't there two foreign men staying with those river people that live to the west? It seems to me the name I heard was something like that."

"Yes, my brother and I lived with them," Jondalar conceded.

The man with the flaming beard looked thoughtful for a while, then, unexpectedly, he lunged for Jondalar and grabbed the tall blond man in a bone-crunching bear hug.

"Then we are related!" he boomed, a broad smile warming his face. "Tholie is the daughter of my cousin!"

Jondalar's smile returned, a little shaken. "Tholie! A Mamutoi woman named Tholie was my brother's cross-mate! She taught me your language."

"Of course! I told you. We are related." He grasped the hands that Jondalar had extended in friendship, which he had rejected before. "I am Talut, headman of the Lion Camp."

Everyone was smiling, Ayla noticed. Talut beamed a grin at her, then eyed her appreciatively. "I see you are not traveling with a brother now," he said to Jondalar.

Jondalar put his arm around her again, and she noticed a fleeting look of pain wrinkle his brow before he spoke. "This is Ayla."

"It's an unusual name. Is she of the river people?"

Jondalar was taken aback by the abruptness of his questioning, then, remembering Tholie, he smiled inwardly. The short, stocky woman he knew bore little resemblance to the great hulk of a man standing there on the riverbank, but they were chipped from the same flint. They both had the same direct approach, the same unselfconscious—almost ingenuous—candor. He didn't know what to say. Ayla was not going to be easy to explain.

"No, she has been living in a valley some days' journey from here."

Talut looked puzzled. "I have not heard of a woman with her name living nearby. Are you sure she is Mamutoi?"

"I'm sure she is not."

"Then who are her people? Only we who hunt mammoth live in this region."

"I have no people," Ayla said, lifting her chin with a touch of defiance.

Talut appraised her shrewdly. She had spoken the words in his language, but the quality of her voice and the way she made the sounds were . . . strange. Not unpleasant, but unusual. Jondalar spoke with the accent of a language foreign to him; the difference in the way she spoke went beyond accent. Talut's interest was piqued.

"Well, this is no place to talk," Talut said, finally. "Nezzie will give me the Mother's own wrath if I don't invite you to visit. Visitors always bring a little excitement, and we haven't had visitors for a while. The Lion Camp would welcome you, Jondalar of the Zelandonii, and Ayla of No People. Will you come?"

"What do you say, Ayla? Would you like to visit?" Jondalar asked, switching to Zelandonii so she could answer truthfully without fear of offending. "Isn't it time you met your own kind? Isn't that what Iza told you to do? Find your own people?" He didn't want to seem too eager, but after so long without anyone else to talk to, he was anxious to visit.

"I don't know," she said, frowning with indecision. "What will they think of me? He wanted to know who my people were. I don't have any people any more. What if they don't like me?"

"They will like you, Ayla, believe me. I know they will. Talut invited you, didn't he? It didn't matter to him that you have no people. Besides, you'll never know if they will accept you—or if you will like them—if you don't give them a chance. These are the kind of people you should have grown up with, you know. We don't have to stay long. We can leave any time."

"We can leave any time?"

"Of course."

Ayla looked down at the ground, trying to make up her mind. She wanted to go with them; she felt an attraction to these people, and a curiosity to know more about them, but she felt a tight knot of fear in her stomach. She glanced up and saw two shaggy steppe horses grazing on the rich grass of the plain near the river, and her fear intensified.

"What about Whinney! What will we do with her? What if they want to kill her? I can't let anyone hurt Whinney!"

Jondalar hadn't thought about Whinney. What would they think? he wondered. "I don't know what they will do, Ayla, but I don't think they would kill her if we tell them she is special and not meant for food." He remembered his surprise, and his initial feeling of awe over Ayla's relationship with the horse. It would be interesting to see their reaction. "I have an idea."

Talut did not understand what Ayla and Jondalar said to each other, but he knew the woman was reluctant, and the man was trying to coax her. He also noticed that she spoke with the same unusual accent, even in his language. His language, the headman realized, but not hers.

He was pondering the enigma of the woman with a certain relish—he enjoyed the new and unusual; the inexplicable challenged him. But then the mystery took on an entirely new dimension. Ayla whistled, loud and shrill. Suddenly, a hay-colored mare and a colt of an unusually deep shade of brown galloped into their midst, directly to the woman, and stood quietly while she touched them! The big man suppressed a shudder of awe. This was beyond anything he had ever known.

Was she Mamut? he wondered, with growing apprehension. One with special powers? Many of Those Who Served the Mother claimed magic to call animals and direct the hunt, but he had never seen anyone with such control over animals that they would come at a signal. She had a unique talent. It was a little frightening—but think how much a Camp could benefit from such talent. Kills could be so easy!

Just as Talut was getting over the shock, the young woman gave him another. Holding onto the mare's stiff stand-up mane, she sprang up on the back of the horse and sat astride her. The big man's mouth gaped open in astonishment as the horse with Ayla on her back galloped along the edge of the river. With the colt following behind, they raced up the slope to the steppes beyond. The wonder in Talut's eyes was shared by the rest of the band, particularly a young girl of twelve years. She edged toward the headman and leaned against him as though for support.

"How did she do that, Talut?" the girl asked, in a small voice that held surprise and awe, and a tinge of yearning. "That little horse, he was so close, I could almost have touched him."

Talut's expression softened. "You'll have to ask her, Latie. Or, perhaps, Jondalar," he said, turning to the tall stranger.

"I'm not sure myself," he replied. "Ayla has a special way with animals. She raised Whinney from a foal."


"That's as close as I can say the name she has given the mare. When she says it, you'd think she was a horse. The colt is Racer. I named him—she asked me to. That's Zelandonii for someone who runs fast. It also means someone who tries hard to be best. The first time I saw Ayla, she was helping the mare deliver the colt."

"That must have been a sight! I wouldn't think a mare would let anyone get close to her at that time," one of the other men said.

The riding demonstration had the effect Jondalar had hoped for, and he thought the time was right to bring up Ayla's concern. "I think she'd like to come and visit your Camp, Talut, but she's afraid you may think the horses are just any horses to be hunted, and since they are not afraid of people, they would be too easy to kill."

"They would at that. You must have known what I was thinking, but who could help it?"

Talut watched Ayla riding back into view, looking like some strange animal, half-human and half-horse. He was glad he had not come upon them unknowing. It would have been . . . unnerving. He wondered for a moment what it would be like to ride on the back of a horse, and if it would make him appear so startling. And then, picturing himself sitting astride one of the rather short, though sturdy, steppe horses like Whinney, he laughed out loud.

"I could carry that horse easier than she could carry me!" he said.

Jondalar chuckled. It hadn't been hard to follow Talut's line of thought. Several people smiled, or chuckled, and Jondalar realized they must all have been thinking about riding a horse. It was not so strange. It had occurred to him when he first saw Ayla on Whinney's back.

Ayla had seen the shocked surprise on the faces of the small band of people and, if Jondalar had not been waiting for her, she would have kept on going right back to her valley. She'd had enough of disapproval during her younger years for actions that were not acceptable. And enough freedom since, while she was living alone, not to want to subject herself to criticism for following her own inclinations. She was ready to tell Jondalar he could visit these people if he wanted; she was going back.

But when she returned, and saw Talut still chuckling over his mental picture of himself riding the horse, she reconsidered. Laughter had become precious to her. She had not been allowed to laugh when she lived with the Clan; it made them nervous and uncomfortable. Only with Durc, in secret, had she laughed out loud. It was Baby, and Whinney, who had taught her to enjoy the feeling of laughter, but Jondalar was the first person to share it openly with her.

She watched the man laughing easily with Talut. He looked up and smiled, and the magic of his impossibly vivid blue eyes touched a place deep inside that resonated with a warm, tingling glow, and she felt a great welling up of love for him. She couldn't go back to the valley, not without him. Just the thought of living without him brought a strangling constriction to her throat, and the burning ache of tears held back.

As she rode toward them, she noticed that, though Jondalar wasn't as big as the red-haired man in size, he was nearly as tall, and bigger than the other three men. No, one was a boy, she realized. And was that a girl with them? She found herself observing the group of people surreptitiously, not wanting to stare.

Her body movements signaled Whinney to a stop, then, swinging her leg over, she slid off. Both horses seemed nervous as Talut approached, and she stroked Whinney and put an arm around Racer's neck. She was as much in need of the familiar reassurance of their presence as they were of hers.

"Ayla, of No People," he said, not sure if it was a proper way to address her, though for this woman of uncanny talent, it well might be, "Jondalar says you fear harm will come to these horses if you visit with us. I say here, as long as Talut is headman of the Lion Camp, no harm will come to that mare or her young one. I would like you to visit, and bring the horses." His smile broadened with a chuckle. "No one will believe us otherwise!"

She was feeling more relaxed about it now, and she knew Jondalar wanted to visit. She had no real reason to refuse, and she was drawn to the easy, friendly laughter of the huge red-haired man.

"Yes, I come," she said. Talut nodded, smiling, and wondered about her, her intriguing accent, her awesome way with horses. Who was Ayla of No People?

Ayla and Jondalar had camped beside the rushing river and had decided that morning, before they met the band from the Lion Camp, that it was time to turn back. The waterway was too large to cross without difficulty, and not worth the effort if they were going to turn around and retrace their route. The steppeland east of the valley where Ayla had lived alone for three years had been more accessible, and the young woman hadn't bothered to take the difficult roundabout way to the west out of the valley very often, and was largely unfamiliar with that area. Though they had started out toward the west, they had no particular destination in mind, and ended up traveling north, and then east instead, but much farther than Ayla had ever traveled on her hunting forays.

Jondalar had convinced her to make the exploratory trip to get her used to traveling. He wanted to take her home with him, but his home was far to the west. She had been reluctant, and scared, to leave her secure valley to live with unknown people in an unknown place. Though he was eager to return after traveling for many years, he had reconciled himself to spending the winter with her in the valley. It would be a long trek back—likely to take a full year—and it would be better to start in late spring, anyway. By then, he was sure he could convince her to come with him. He didn't even want to consider any other alternative.

Ayla had found him, badly mauled and nearly dead, at the beginning of the warm season that was now seeing its last days, and she knew the tragedy he had suffered. They fell in love while she was nursing him back to health, though they were long in overcoming the barriers of their vastly different backgrounds. They were still learning each other's ways and moods.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children #3) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 362 reviews.
jansquared More than 1 year ago
Great book for 3rd in Series. Characters rich and well thought out by writer. References to plant life/usage on the mark. Animal descriptions as accurate as I've ever seen. Geographical/topical detail in minutae. Ms Auel is often redundant with prior story background and descriptions of locals and plantlife, but above all the reading is still great. This series of books would make a great collection for a personal library so it could be read again and/or shared with others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You definately need to read Clan of the Cave Bear and Valley of the Horses first. They would not be nearly as good out of order. Wonderful insite into how early man developed and lived but written in such an exciting and romantic fashion. Excited to start the next in the series
Roxie56 More than 1 year ago
If this the first in the series you read you may like it, but it was the third for me. I found myself literally skipping over multitude of pages. It is like the author was looking for "filler" to 'make' a book. The descriptions of the environment, the animals, the feelings, the plants, the flint carving, everything went too far. Drama drama drama. I didn't like it much but had already paid for it, so I skimmed it. Don't spend money on it; go to a library and check it out for free.
Jennifer Seastrand More than 1 year ago
I cant believe almost EVERY page had typos to include special characters instead of letters... names switched which was confusing... what a mess... i recommend just reading it hard copy its not worth the frustration of reading it on your Nook!
MagiV More than 1 year ago
So sad - I have all of this series in hard copy, but really wanted them on my new Nook, especially with the new Land of the Painted Caves coming out next month! I started reading at the beginning, and was immediately struck by how AWFUL the translation to eBook had been - NEVER occurred to me that B&N didn't get access to the electronic files which the printers use when printing up new books, right? - NEVER occurred to me these books were OCRed, which means that many times the words are incorrect or missing. There are formatting issues like italics where it does not belong, a sentence that runs right off the page of the Nook never wrapping around. Punctuation that was incorrect or completely missing. And, unlike the old classics, we have to PAY for this. I actually needed to use my hard copy to be sure of what I was reading - in each edition! I wrote a letter of disgust to B&N, and was told - in short, that my issues were being sent on to the publisher and when they made corrections, it would automatically be uploaded to my Nook - BUT, that I was not entitled to any kind of refund per B&N blah, blah, blah.... Very sad. I have many other books on my Nook that are 10 & 20 years old yet there are no "typos" in those books. Be warned!
Brigit More than 1 year ago
This third book in the series is written just as well as the two before it. The descriptions of the plant and animal life make it easy to picture what these steps and plains must have been like. In this story, Ayla and Jondalar set out of the valley with their horses to explore the surrounding area. They come across the Lion Camp of the Mamutoi (Mammoth Hunters) and are invited to stay the winter with them. I thought it was fascinating to read how these people built an earth lodge complete with a hearth for each family, annexes for food storage and sweat baths and that they constructed it out of mammoth bones, hides, sod and silty mud. The interactions between these people, their social order, customs and beliefs were so vividly described, I felt as if I was there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Mammoth Hunters are people that gave Ayla her home and her new friends. The book shows the life of two travellers among the Hunters. Jondalar loves Ayla and he is afraid to lose her. Ayla feels the same towards Jondalar, but she doesn't know if he loves her. The story is breathtaking and I am going to read the 4th book. Please, don't stop writing.
susieb327 More than 1 year ago
Adored this one too. Must get the rest of the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel for many years. Always waited impatiently for the next book in the series. Love all the descriptions she gives of plants, animals and landscapes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting ready to read plains of passage
Jadxia More than 1 year ago
Seems like the publisher ran this series through OCR conversion and didn't bother to spellcheck. The name "Brun" ends up being "Bran" until halfway through the book. Vowels are interchanged with predictably confusing results. This ebook is still able to be read and understood, but who wants to pay for a book filled with typos?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the best in the series. I cannot put it down and can't wait to finish Ayla and Jondalar's adventures and find out if she stays a Mamutoi or stays with Jondalar - although I think I know which one she's gonna choose.
nieva21 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If I could I would give this book 10 stars! I loved this book better than Valley of the Horses. Maybe I just like sappy happy tear-jerker endings that are the classic making for love that was at first unrequited, but them was denied out of fear and jealousy. It was realistic because of the love triangle many of Auel's female audience will be able to identify with, having two very different men pulling for you and not being able to be honest or strong emotionally, but learning as a result of pain, budding passion, close calls in life and the mystical flaws of the predetermined eventuality that fulfills Ayla and Jondalar's destiny.
mikedraper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The action continues the saga of earth's children and takes place during the Ice Age 25,000 years ago.Ayla and Jandlar meet the Mamutoi, who are people like Ayla, they are Mammoth Hunters. When people in the village see that Ayla can control a horse by riding on it and having it come when she whistles, some think she has great power, others become distrustuful.Ayla develops a fondness for Ranec who is a carver of Ivory and artistic. Since she and Jondlar have been lovers, he becomes jealous.One of the points that the author makes is that we should accept others who are different. Ayla helps a six-year-old boy who cannot speak. He is half Clan and half Other. He is a Flathead but Ayla has the ability to communicate through sign language. She teaches this child, Rydag sign language. The boys first sign is 'mother' and his mother is delighted. She tells Ayla that she never expected to be able to communicate with her son.This ficticious examination of history shows how things might have been and shows readers how people of different races (Clans) can get along together. This makes the novel timely with the political climate today.Ayla is a heroic figure who is a born leader at a time when women weren't highly regarded. She stands out in her ability to communicate and her wisdom.
DavidBurrows on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a good read but not as good as the first two. It's a little overly long. Very imaginative though and worth the effort. It follows on from the Clan of the Cave Bear, set in prehistoric times as the title suggests
janiereader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another lllllooonnnnggg book. It is interesting and I finished it but the length of it is so daunting. I think it would have been much better if it had been edited better. I am not going to finish the series, I don't think I could take it. Though I am interested in knowing how it all ends up.
Justjenniferreading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been working on this series off and on for about 12 years. I bought them right after I graduated high school and didn't realize at the time the mental fortitude this series takes to read. At 18 I just didn't have the patience to read 700 pages. But now that I'm a bit older I can really appreciate this series.Since I did start the series 12 years ago I feel like Ayla's been a part of my life for quite a while. She pops in to say hello every few years. So I've really become attached to her. It's hard for me to criticize this book at all because I do love Ayla and Jondalar so much. But it took me forever to read The Mammoth Hunters. I started this book in the summer of 09 and had to put it down about half-way through. Partly because I had just finished reading The Valley of the Horses and partly because the romance scenes were becoming a bit too much for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from a prude (believe me) but it just felt like all Ayla and Jondalar did was make love.I'm glad I picked it back up. As it really is a great story. Again, I do seem to have a bit of an attachment to Ayla and Jondalar so I may be a bit biased here, but I really do like this series. There are times when I think the descriptions go a bit more into detail than necessary, but they also create such a vivid picture as to where the characters are and what is going on. The Mammoth Hunters introduces us to so many new characters I didn't think I'd ever get them all straightened out, but as the story goes on I really didn't have any problems keeping track of everyone.I obviously like the main characters but I really liked the Mammoth Hearth. Tulie, Talut, and Frebec are probably my favorite new characters. Frebec comes off as being a bit of a jerk at first but he's really loyal and protective. He also seems to have a bit of a soft side that, like most men, he was trying to hide. Tulie and Talut are great characters. They are strong, wise, serious, playful, and humorous all at the same time. They just seemed so real to me.While I don't think I'll be reading Plains of Passage anytime in the near future, knowing it's sitting on my bookshelf is a bit of a comfort too me. When I decide I need to see what Ayla and Jondalar are up to I can just pick it up and start reading it. It's like a having one of those great friends that even if you don't talk for awhile you can sit down and have a conversation and it feels like no time has passed at all.
mssbluejay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The third of Earth's Children series, the story line became somewhat overdone, repetitive, and predictable. As did the following sequels.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like a cross between the two previous books, with a bit of a love triangle thrown in. I still miss the Neanderthals - these Mammoth Hunters seem a little too modern. Is there anything they haven't worked out how to do? I half expected one of them to whip out an i-Pod. Certainly anything they haven't yet discovered, Ayla promptly invents. But not to criticise too much - it's well written, packed with information and fairly eventful. Still left me wanting to read the next one in the series.
MaryRunyan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once again, Jane Auel outdid herself! I love the Mammoth hunters and she made it all come so alive! Outstanding books
becbb88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really, Really good read.
Sherri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another fine installment in the Earth's Children Series
surreality on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Plot: A travel/adventure plot, interrupted by long stretches of soap opera community living and romance. The pacing is horribly slow and the plot tends to get bogged down with repetitions of earlier scenes. Tension build-up is rare and usually resolved in anticlimatic ways. No real ending. Characters: There is no real character development going on anymore for the main characters; they stay who they are, despite the adventures they experience. Side characters don't get much attention as far as their personality goes; the focus is on their task rather than who they are, which doesn't make them very interesting and highly replacable. Style: Lots of description of flora and fauna and an increasing amount of rather badly written sex. Personal interaction in general rarely feels very authentic; the dialogue tends to be stilted and just doesn't sound like actual speech. Plus: Beautiful depictions of the surroundings and stone age life. Minus: The soap opera elements. Badly written porn. Ayla the wonder-woman solving every problem imaginable. Summary: This is where the series jumps the shark. There just isn't much to say, and it shows.
jennmurphy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is were the clan series starts to take a downward turn for me. While the first 2 books held my attention with the writing and unique setting, this book seems to rely on a very soap opera-ish formula as other reviewers have pointed out. The main plot of this book is Ayla choosing between two men: not what I had come to expect from the series. Still to give Auel credit, it did keep my interest, I just was not as excited about it as the others.
Bookmarque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Now we get to the soap opera of communal living. Fun story though Ayla's constant inventing and heroism are now starting to grate.