The Valley of Horses

By Darlene Robinson,2014-11-04 20:18
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Review"Shiningly intense... Sheer storytelling skill holds the reader in a powerful spell." -- Publishers Weekly From the Paperback edition.Product `desc`riptionThis 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 Published by Bantam on 1983/01/02


The Valley of Horses

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


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

    —The New York Times Book Review

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

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    “Entertaining and provocative?…?A kind of prehistoric romance replete with graphicdescriptions of Ayla’s awakening sexual interest?…?An old love story in a totallyunpredictable 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, andcompassion.”

    Houston Chronicle

This eBook version of THE VALLEY OF HORSES contains bonus content not found in the printed


    A Sneak Preview from THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES Read an exciting preview from Jean M. Auel’s The Land of Painted Caves, on sale in hardcoverin Spring 2011.

     EARTH’S CHILDREN ? Series Sampler

    Read excerpts from each of the novels in the Earth’s Children ? series.

    Q&A with Jean M. Auel

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

    This edition contains the complete text of the original hardcover edition.NOT ONE WORD HAS BEENOMITTED.


    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 1991Bantam 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 2010 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, electronicor mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrievalsystem, 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. Thisexcerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of theforthcoming edition.

    Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, 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, 1540Broadway, New York, New York 10036.


For KAREN,?????who read the first draft of both


    and for ASHER?????with Love



    Title Page



    Novels by Jean M. Auel



    Chapter 1

    Chapter 2

    Chapter 3

    Chapter 4

    Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 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 ? series



    , whose help has been ofIn addition to the people mentioned in The Clan of the Cave Bear

    continuing assistance for this book, and for which I am still grateful, I amEarth’s Children

    further indebted to:

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

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

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

    1.“Venus” of Lespugue. Ivory restored). Height 14.7 cm/5? 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. FoundWillendorf, Wachau, Lower Austria. Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna.

    3.“Venus” of Vestonice. Fired clay (with bone). Height 11.4 cm/4? in. Found Dolni Vestonice,Mikulov, Moravia, Czechoslovakia. Moravian Museum, Brno.

    4.Female Figurine. Ivory. Height 5.8 cm/2? in. Found Gagarino, Ukraine, USSR. Ethnographic

    .Institute, Leningrad

    5.Lady of Brassempouy. Ivory (fragment). Height 3.2 cm/1? 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 youngwoman squinted into the wind, pulling her wolverine hood closer. Violent gusts whipped herbearskin wrap against her legs.

    Were those trees ahead? She thought she remembered seeing a scraggly row of woody vegetation onthe horizon earlier, and wished she had paid more attention, or that her memory was as good asthat 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, hurtlingdown 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 sheleft, 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 hadtold her to leave, told her Broud would find a way to hurt her when he became leader. Iza hadbeen 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 goodreason to curse me, either. He’s the one who made the spirits angry. He’s the one who broughton the earthquake. At least she knew what to expect this time. But it happened so fast thateven the clan had taken a while to accept it, to close her out of their sight. But theycouldn’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 hadprepared 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 theinsulating sedge grass she had stuffed in them. She was relieved to see a dwarfed and twistedpine.

    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 asymmetricalshapes, usually marked a watercourse. They were a welcome sight in dry seasons in a land wheregroundwater was scarce. When storms howled down the open plains from the great northernglacier, 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 channelof water flowed between the ice-locked banks. She turned west to follow it downstream, lookingfor 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. Acrossthe stream a low bluff guarded the opposite bank. The sedge grass did nothing to warm her feetwhen the icy water seeped in crossing over, but she was grateful to be out of the wind. Thedirt wall of the bank had caved in at one place, leaving an overhang thatched with tangledgrass 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 itoff, then took out a heavy aurochs hide and a sturdy branch stripped of twigs. She set up alow, sloping tent, held down with rocks and driftwood logs. The branch held it open in front.

    She loosened the thongs of her hand coverings with her teeth. They were roughly circular piecesof fur-lined leather, gathered at the wrist, with a slit cut in the palms to poke her thumb orhand through when she wanted to grasp something. Her foot coverings were made the same way,without the slit, and she struggled to untie the swollen leather laces wrapped around herankles. She was careful to salvage the wet sedge grass when she removed them.

    She laid her bearskin wrap on the ground inside the tent, wet side down, put the sedge grassand the hand and foot coverings on top, then crawled in feet first. She wrapped the fur aroundher and pulled the carrying basket up to block the opening. She rubbed her cold feet, and, when

her damp fur nest warmed, she curled up and closed her eyes.

    Winter was gasping its last frozen breath, reluctantly giving way to spring, but the youthfulseason was a capricious flirt. Amid frigid reminders of glacial chill, tantalizing hints ofwarmth promised summer heat. In an impulsive shift, the storm broke during the night.

    Ayla woke to reflections of a dazzling sun glinting from patches of snow and ice along thebanks, and to a sky deep and radiantly blue. Ragged tatters of clouds streamed far to thesouth. She crawled out of her tent and raced barefoot to the water’s edge with her waterbag.Ignoring the icy cold, she filled the leather-covered bladder, took a deep drink, and ran back.After relieving herself beside the bank, she crawled inside her fur to warm up again.

    She didn’t stay long. She was too eager to be out, now that the danger of the storm had passedand the sunshine beckoned. She wrapped on foot coverings that had been dried by body heat andtied the bearskin over the fur-lined leather wrap she had slept in. She took a piece of driedmeat out of the basket, packed the tent and hand coverings, and went on her way, chewing on themeat.

    The stream’s course was fairly straight and slightly downhill, and the going was easy. Aylahummed a tuneless monotone under her breath. She saw flecks of green on the brush near thebanks. An occasional small flower, bravely poking its miniature face through melting patches ofsnow, made her smile. A chunk of ice broke loose, bumped along beside her for a pace, thenraced ahead, carried by the swift current.

    Spring had begun when she left the cave, but it was warmer at the southern end of the peninsulaand the season started earlier. The mountain range was a barrier to the harsh glacial winds,and maritime breezes off the inland sea warmed and watered the narrow coastal strip and south-facing slopes into a temperate climate.

    The steppes were colder. She had skirted the eastern end of the range, but, as she travelednorthward across the open prairie, the season advanced at the same pace. It never seemed to getwarmer than early spring.

    The raucous squeals of terns drew her attention. She glanced up and saw several of the smallgull-like birds wheeling and gliding effortlessly with wings outstretched. The sea must beclose, she thought. Birds should be nesting now—that means eggs. She stepped up her pace. Andmaybe mussels on the rocks, and clams, and limpets, and tide pools full of anemones.

    The sun was approaching its zenith when she reached a protected bay formed by the southerncoast of the mainland and the northwestern flank of the peninsula. She had finally reached thebroad throat connecting the tongue of land to the continent.

    Ayla shrugged off her carrying basket and climbed a craggy outcrop that soared high above thesurrounding landscape. Pounding surf had cleaved jagged chunks of the massive rock on theseaward side. A bevy of dovekies and terns scolded with angry squawks when she collected eggs.She broke open several and swallowed them, still warm from the nest. She tucked several moreinto a fold of her wrap before climbing down.

    She took off her footwear and waded into the surf to wash sand from mussels pried loose fromthe rock at water level. Flowerlike sea anemones drew in mock petals when she reached to pluckthem from the shallow pools left stranded by the receding tide. But these had a color and shapethat were unfamiliar. She rounded out her lunch with a few clams instead, dug from the sandwhere a slight depression gave them away. She used no fire, enjoying her gifts raw from thesea.

    Surfeited on eggs and seafood, the young woman relaxed at the foot of the high rock, thenscaled it again to get a better view of the coast and mainland. Hugging her knees, she sat ontop of the monolith and looked out across the bay. The wind in her face carried a breath of therich life within the sea.

    The southern coast of the continent curved in a gentle arc toward the west. Beyond a narrowfringe of trees, she could see a broad land of steppes, no different from the cold prairie ofthe peninsula, but not a single sign of human habitation.

    There it is, she thought, the mainland beyond the peninsula. Where do I go now, Iza? You saidOthers were there, but I don’t see anyone at all. As she faced the vast empty land, Ayla’sthoughts drifted back to the dreadful night Iza died, three years before.

    “You are not Clan, Ayla. You were born to the Others; you belong with them. You must leave,child, find your own kind.”

    “Leave! Where would I go, Iza? I don’t know the Others, I wouldn’t know where to look forthem.”

    “North, Ayla. Go north. There are many of them north of here, on the mainland beyond thepeninsula. You cannot stay here. Broud will find a way to hurt you. Go and find them, my child.Find your own people, find your own mate.”

    She hadn’t left then, she couldn’t. Now, she had no choice. She had to find the Others, therewas no one else. She could never go back; she would never see her son again.

    Tears streamed down Ayla’s face. She hadn’t cried before. Her life had been at stake when sheleft, and grief was a luxury she could not afford. But once the barrier was breached, there wasno holding back.

    “Durc?…?my baby,” she sobbed, burrowing her face in her hands. Why did Broud take you awayfrom me?

    She cried for her son, and for the clan she had left behind; she cried for Iza, the only mothershe could remember; and she cried for her loneliness and fear of the unknown world awaitingher. But not for Creb, who had loved her as his own, not yet. That sorrow was too fresh; shewasn’t ready to face it.

    When the tears had run their course, Ayla found herself staring at the crashing surf far below.She watched the rolling breakers spout up in jets of foam, then swirl around the jagged rocks.

    It would be so easy, she thought.

    No! She shook her head and straightened up. I told him he could take my son away, he could makeme leave, he could curse me with death, but he could not make me die!

    She tasted salt, and a wry smile crossed her face. Her tears had always upset Iza and Creb. Theeyes of people in the Clan did not water, unless they were sore, not even Durc’s. There wasmuch of her in him, he could even make sounds the way she could, but Durc’s large brown eyeswere Clan.

    Ayla climbed down quickly. As she hoisted her carrying basket to her back, she wondered if hereyes were really weak, or if all the Others had watering eyes. Then another thought echoed inher mind: Find your own people, find your own mate.

    The young woman traveled west along the coast, crossing many streams and creeks that foundtheir way to the inland sea, until she reached a rather large river. Then she veered north,following the rushing waterway inland and looking for a place to cross. She passed through thecoastal fringe of pine and larch, woods which boasted an occasional giant dominating dwarfedcousins. When she reached the continental steppes, brush of willows, birches, and aspens joinedthe cramped conifers that edged the river.

    She followed every twist and turn of the meandering course, growing more anxious with eachpassing day. The river was taking her back east in a general northeasterly direction. She didnot want to go east. Some clans hunted the eastern part of the mainland. She had planned toveer west on her northward trek. She did not want to chance meeting anyone who was Clan—notwith a death curse on her! She had to find a way to cross the river.

    When the river widened and broke into two channels around a small gravel-strewn island withbrush clinging to rocky shores, she decided to risk a crossing. A few large boulders in thechannel on the other side of the island made her think it might be shallow enough to wade. Shewas a good swimmer, but she didn’t want to get her clothes or basket wet. It would take toolong for them to dry, and the nights were still cold.

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