Welcome to the series where I will be sharing a selection of book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.
I will be sharing the reviews out of sequence between 2017 – 2020 as some authors have more than one book in the folder…
Today a review from April 2019 for Jacqui Murray – Survival of the Fittest (Book 1 of the Crossroads Trilogy)
About the book
Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home. Written in the spirit of Jean Auel, Survival of the Fittest is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion.
Chased by a ruthless enemy, Xhosa leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands following a path laid out decades before by her father, to be followed only as a last resort. She is joined by other fleeing tribes from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant, all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, tragedy, secrets, and Nature itself, Xhosa is forced to face the reality that her enemy doesn’t want to ruin her People. It wants to ruin her.
The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia, where ‘survival of the fittest’ was not a slogan. It was a destiny. Xhosa’s People were from a violent species, one fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened their lives except for one: future man, a smarter version of themselves, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.
My review for Survival of the Fittest – April 17th 2019.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jacqui Murray’s Born in a Treacherous Time which introduced us to one of the earliest humans, Lucy. In her latest book Survival of the Fittest, we fast forward to a mere 850,000 years ago, when the earth continues to be extremely unsettled as it goes through its own growing pains.
The dangers are frighteningly and ever present for humans, who are forced to flee, not just environmental perils, but the brutality of invading tribes who want to usurp rivals for the safest caves, and the lands needed to support life.
We meet a woman who is strong and unusually a leader of men. Xhosa has a massive responsibility on her shoulders to take her tribe to safety, as well as find a way to work side by side with other human species that they encounter. She is supported by a warrior who has to fight his own ingrained resistance to a female leader, and along the way she finds good counsel in Pan-do and his daughter who are also fleeing to safety with their tribe. However, at the end of the day, it is she who must decide which path to follow despite resistance from some of her followers.
There is adventure in abundance, since this is not a gentle environment, and one can only admire the strength, courage and intelligence required to navigate all the obstacles that stand between Xhosa, her people, and sanctuary.
The language is straightforward, descriptive and direct, which is appropriate, since at the time communication would have been reliant on body language, sign language and I would imagine a lot of guesswork. Especially as each tribe had different identifiers for the same animals, landscape or danger. But Murray has created a language and a world that we can become immersed and invested in, leaving us with a desire to find out what happens next to these people that have so many of the traits and flaws we understand and see in ourselves.
The environment has been established and the various groups are poised for the next stage in their development, which 850,000 years into the future led to the humans we are today.
This is what adds an extra element of fascination to the story. These are our ancestors and as we see their struggles, invasions of land, and the thousands fleeing anywhere to call home, it is difficult not to draw parallels with our world today. I am looking forward to reading book II to find out what my ancestors faced next in this trilogy.
A selection of other books by Jacqui Murray
About Jacqui Murray
Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have found some books to take away with you.. thanks Sally.