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Dear Ms. Auel,

I have just read that the The Land of Painted Caves will come out next spring, and I want you to know that I am delighted. Not so much because I want to read it, (although I do, and plan to buy it) but because I am hopeful that it will free you up to write the book we have all been waiting for.

You see, The Clan of the Cave Bear was an excellent book, and all of your Earth’s Children books are stunningly detailed, if somewhat idealized, picture of this cold and ancient land. Ayla is a lovable, if frustratingly perfect, character. Jondalar is a bit of a whiner, but basically a nice guy.

However, it is time for us to be honest with you – the reason everyone keeps reading each book that you produce is because we want to find out what happened to Durc and Uba and Broud and the rest of them, and we keep hoping that the NEXT book will finally address this.

Seriously. This is what everyone says. Whenever someone sees one of your books on my shelf, they ask how I like it. I say that the first book is amazing, and you keep reading the others in the hope that you’ll find out what happens. The person always says “that’s what everyone tells me…”

This is the book that we really want to read:

Durc’s story.

Did he remember his Mama leaving? Did he believe that she was really dead, or did he inherit Ayla’s ability to question the world as it is presented to him? How did the Clan react when Broud cursed their luck, as well as pieces of their own spirits (because they were never reclaimed from Ayla) to the underworld? Did this motivate them to help protect Durc against Broud’s hatred? Did Durc grow up loved and protected by the clan, or did Broud make his life a misery? Did he hurt Durc? Did he curse Durc? Did Oga stand up to Broud again for Durc’s sake? Did Vorn protect the adopted son of his hearth, for Uba’s sake? Did Grev stand up to his own father to protect his “milk brother”? Did Brun restrain his son?

We keep reading each book you produce, hoping to find the answers to these questions. Maybe The Land of Painted Caves will address them, but I think that’s unlikely. Even if it does, we want more. We want a whole book of Durc. We want him reunited with his mother, or at least, we want to know that he’s ok. I don’t indulge in fan fiction, because I believe that the world and characters belong to their author, and that other people can not come in to that author’s reality and tinker around with it, so I have no outlet for my frustrations.

He’s the son of everyone, remember? He’s ours, too. People have been worrying about him since 1980. Please put us out of our misery.