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The Valley of Horses

Earth's Children, Book 2
Written by: Jean M. Auel
Narrated by: Sandra Burr
Series: Earth's Children, Book 2
Length: 21 hrs and 46 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (91 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A timeless epic of the dawn of civilization.

In The Valley of Horses, Ayla, the unforgettable heroine of The Clan of the Cave Bear, sets out on her own odyssey of discovery away from the nurturing adoptive family and friends of the Clan. She is in search of others like herself and in search of love.

Sharing a hidden valley with a herd of steppe horses, Ayla finds a unique friendship with animals as vulnerable as herself and ingeniously discovers the complex skills needed to survive - skills no Clan member was ever able to master.

But none of her experiences prepares her for the emotional turmoil she feels when she rescues a young man - the first of the Others she has seen - from almost certain death.

Torn between her desire for human companionship and her fear of the unknown Others, she struggles against her deep attraction to the handsome Jondalar. It is Jondalar who teaches her the meaning of true friendship and love.

©2004 Jean M. Auel (P)2004 Brilliance Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A fine sequel.

Valley of Horses and Clan of the Cave Bear are the two best books in the series, in my opinion. I found the others very repetitive but this story is still unique. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A little choppy but well done

Compared to the first book, it was quite short and parts were clearly re-recorded, making it feel very copy paste. Closer to the end one of the chapters ends abruptly and I hope nothing important was missed. Overall a well written story and the voice acting was accomplished well.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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And the Fabulous Saga Continues!

The whole series was so well written that it could not disappoint.
The audio books compliment the books and are equally well spoken!.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

the end of chapter 25 is missing

I love the story and I like the performance. But some of the chapters (like chapter 25) are incomplete

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Valley of Horses

 #Audible1 the narrator did a great job. Can't wait to start the next book.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • peabozzle
  • 2012-05-18

great series

I read this trilogy years ago, and loved it. I am loving it all over again. For me, this second book is wonderful because Ayla is such a strong spirit and her connection with animals intrigues me. It is also nice to have more humans for her to interact with. Can't wait for the next one!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Grimelda
  • 2008-07-08

Let down by the narration

I don't know why I enjoy the story of Ayla and Jondalar, but I do. Both characters have a definite Mary-sueish quality to them but the rich description of life in prehistoric Europe still manages to engage me even after several readings. I'm happy to find the entire, unabridged reading on Audible.

Unfortunately, this version is let down by the narration. The reader is competent enough, but I find her voice quite nasal, and she reads too quickly for me to really enjoy the story. The 'flashbacks' to Ayla's Clan life were particularly irritating to listen to. I eventually became accustomed to the reading, but I would have preferred it had she been a little less rushed.

I gave this 4 stars, but would have given 3.5 if I could.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 2011-01-21

Part II of a great read

I read the first book in this series shortly after it first came out and was captivated by the story and the setting. Auel had an excellent idea for a story and did a bang up job of telling it. The next four books in this series I grabbed as soon as they were released. When these books became available as audio books on cassette I bought them and listened to them again and again over the years. Now I have the entire series again through Audible. Good investment in money and great investment in time. Personally I think Sandra Burr does a good job with the series. My only complaint is that it has been 31 years since the first book in the series came out and Auel said at that time it would be a six book series. For anyone that's interested book 6 'Land of Painted Caves' will finally be released in book stores on March 29, 2011. I hope Audible makes it available then as well I've been waiting on for 31 years. Actually the five books of this series that have already been published read more like one exceptionally long book. I know a lot of people don???t care for the detail that Auel goes into but I like it.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Doug
  • 2010-11-02

great story, but the narration is a bit rushed

I'd read all these books previously - all but the first two as they were published.
I love the story and all the detail she wrote into it. Doesn't feel dated at all, despite being twenty years later for me.

Listening though, I felt the narration seemed rushed and somewhat difficult to get into each time I started it.



8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen
  • 2012-03-15

A Stunning Continuation of Clan of the Cave Bear

First reading The Clan of the Cave Bear is not required in order to start The Valley of the Horses. Jean M. Auel introduces all the information necessary to bring you up to date on Ayla’s past history and starts the parallel story of two men starting their journey from the other side of the continent. You will be introduced into the landscape of the geography, animal life and cultures of other peoples existing in this period. Ms. Auel once again, shares her detailed research into all these aspects as well as the strong character development she created in Clan of the Cave Bear. Sandra Burr continues her excellent narration of the story with her rich voice ranging the scope of all the characters.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lois
  • 2008-07-18

Engrossing story that needs some abridgment

The tale of Ala and Jondalar is well written and well worth it. Their prehistoric surroundings and the struggle for survival adds to the excitement of their meeting and romance. From the second chapter where Jondalar is introduced I couldn't wait for them to get together, but when they finally did, toward the end of part 2, human foibles kept their romance on the brink and the story rolling.
You can tell that Jean Auel put a lot of research into her work. It shows in the long, detailed descriptions of flora and fauna. While I appreciate the detail of their daily lives, I often felt that complete descriptions of how to nap flint, dry herbs, and of the wide steppes and the numerous animals found there could have been edited out. More often than not I was wishing I could just skip this section and move back to the people and what they were doing.
As mentioned in previous reviews the narrator is a bit speedy and "flashbacks" are disconcerting in their presentation (as if we suddenly are listening to an old time radio show).
This book has a great story, exciting romance, interesting surroundings and people you can believe really existed. Despite the cons, there are more than enough pros to warrant giving this book a solid four stars.

16 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Deborah Griffin
  • 2019-02-10

Swashbucking?

Wanted to enjoy this like I did the 1st in series. Not! Instead of survival & triumph in harsh prehistoric conditions, we got its bigliest golden boy cliche. How many times, how many ways did Auel need to convince readers that this male character is clearly the world's first sex god?

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • 2018-09-03

Too long. Dragged a bit.

The story really dragged on in this book compared to the first one. And the sex scenes were way too descriptive for me, read like a cheap romance novel in parts. But I really enjoyed the first book and this was a good continuation.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-04-14

Alone in a frozen world

Would you listen to The Valley of Horses again? Why?

Yes, I would listen again. Auel's language carries the reader into a world full of danger, beauty and extraordinary adventure.

What did you like best about this story?

The imagery of a lush verdant landscape containing incredible animal and plant life and a story line of a woman surviving and prospering.

What aspect of Sandra Burr’s performance would you have changed?

This book needs a reader who feels the world she is building for the listener. I did not get the feeling Burr was interested.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Too long for that

Any additional comments?

I discovered that all the intimacy of sex episodes detracted from the sweep of the story.for me. I could have done with editing most of that out.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Margaret Fey
  • 2013-06-02

historic novel or bad erotica?

What disappointed you about The Valley of Horses?

Lengthy passages dedicated to blow-by-blow sex. I'm no prude, but I found these bits neither interesting nor erotic. They were a distraction that did nothing to move the story forward.

The main characters are too impossibly perfect in every way. Ayla is like a stone-age Martha Stewart (in a hot body) who sets up a well-stocked cave all by herself. Where you know that Martha has a large staff helping her offstage, there is no conceivable way that one person could do everything that Ayla did on her own. Humans need community, especially primitive humans. One person cannot possibly hunt, fish, dry meat and tan hides, gather enough wood for an entire winter, harvest vegetables and herbs and enough grains to feed two horses, etc.. single-handed as Ayla does in the book. My suspension of disbelief couldn't keep up to the task.

Where Cave Bear was interesting in showing how people lived, and theorizing on what Neanderthals might have been like, Valley of the Horses only touches only a little on how Neanderthals and more modern humans might have perceived each other and interacted. It is marred by a descent into utter fantasy about two supermodel super-talented supersmart humans having super sex.

Has The Valley of Horses turned you off from other books in this genre?

What genre is it? I couldn't tell. I thought I was picking up a historical novel but it turned out to be more of a harlequin romance.

What about Sandra Burr’s performance did you like?

She stuck through the tedious bits like a trooper!

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Valley of Horses?

Cut 80% to 90% out of each sex scene.

Any additional comments?

This was a disappointment after Clan of the Cave Bear. I'll skip the rest of the series.

28 people found this helpful