Jean M Auel's new Earth's Children title is Amazon.co.uk's most pre-ordered book of 2011.
The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children 6 (Hodder & Stoughton), is the last in the Earth's Children series. It will be published next Tuesday (29th March)—nine years after Auel's last title The Shelters of Stone: Earth's Children 5.
Auel wrestled Amazon's most pre-ordered crown from Vampire Diaries title The Return: Midnight by L J Smith, previously the most pre-ordered title of 2011.
A spokesperson for Hodder confirmed that the first print run for the book had reached 250,000 copies—50,000 more than Auel's last title which sold 2.3 million copies worldwide in its first six months. She added, "It is completely wonderful news and just goes to show the staying power of Jean Auel and the Ice Age. It is our biggest ever first print run since her last book in 2002."
Neil Campbell, books manager at Amazon.co.uk, said: "Jean M Auel's series is incredibly popular, evident by the fact it has surged to the top of the pre-order chart on Amazon.co.uk despite a nine-year hiatus since the previous title in the Earth's Children series was published.
"Her gift for bringing to life a period so long ago has really captured the imagination of readers who are now eager to learn how the story will conclude for Ayla and her family."
The series began in 1980 and follows Ayla, a girl orphaned in an earthquake and brought up by a clan of Neanderthals before becoming a wife, mother and now in the last book a wise woman of the Ninth Cave, a group of Cro-Magnons in south-west France.
The r.r.p. is £19.99 for the hardback. Amazon.co.uk is selling it on pre-order for £9.99.