This is the long-awaited latest in the Earth's Children series by Jean Auel. She has stated this will be the last one; she has also stated that she feels the story of Ayla isn't finished, and I personally thought the end of the book leaves way too many loose ends. I wouldn't at all be surprised to see more in this saga, maybe focusing on her daughter Jonayla.
But what did I think of the book? Well, I did enjoy it although I found parts of it kind of repetitive. The Mother's Song is a beautiful piece of poetry but I didn't need to read it ten times. And I do find it a bit annoying that Ayla and Jondalar seem to the the only people who can figure out how to tame horses and wolves, use horses to haul things, every other new advancement in human history, etc. The dust jacket promises that Ayla discovers a new piece of knowledge that is life-changing. Which it is, but I find it a bit hard to believe that nobody would have figured it out before.
However, as usual the descriptions of the painted caves (the famous ones in France that can still be seen to this day) are breathtaking. I find Auel's characters a bit one-dimensional but she's very good at bringing a scene to life so that I can almost see it in front of me.
If you've read all the others, you gotta read this one too. Even if you've never read any of the others, this one can stand on its own as she does explain certain things that happened in the past. It helped me too although I did read all the others, but it's been so long!
I hope Auel hasn't hung up the quill yet. I think she still has a lot of stories to tell.