After an 11-year wait since the fourth book in her mega-selling Earth's Children series, about life in prehistoric times, Jean Auelhas finally delivered the fifth, The Shelters of Stone, to her anxious publishers at Crown. Publisher Chip Gibsonannounced that the novel will be published next May, with an international laydown, and a Bantam paperback will follow in 2003. Since it began in 1980 with The Clan of the Cave Bear,Auel's series has produced a succession of No. 1 bestsellers, and has sold more than 34 million copies worldwide. Auel's agent, Jean Naggar, who has already read it, described this continuation of the story of Ayla as "everything we could have wished for. The end left me longing for book six"—on which Auel is already working. Naggar holds all foreign rights to the series.