It’s a delight to take part in Jacqui Murray’s Blog Hop for her latest novel, ‘Survival of the Fittest’!

Her previous books have taken us from the modern subterranean world of nuclear submarines and terrorism to an era over 1.8 million years ago at the very start of mankind’s development.

‘Survival of the Fittest’ is set 850,000 years ago and centres around five tribes with one leader as they face a treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home.

As the blurb succinctly describes:

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind a certain life in her African homeland to search for an unknown future. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands but an escape path laid out years before by her father as a final desperate means to survival. She is joined by other homeless 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, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that this enemy doesn’t want her People’s land. He wants to destroy her.

As with all fiction writing, there is often an overlay of fact but with a book set so far back in time one wonders how much is artistic license, how much can be based on true fact? I put this question to Jacqui with regard to one angle in the book.

Survival of the Fittest hints at a spiritual side to man. Is that accurate?

Scientists have no idea when man’s spirituality started. Because 850,000 years ago (when Xhosa lived) is considered prehistory—before any sort of recorded record—there’s no way to tell. Survival of the Fittest offers one speculative theory of how that could have happened.

Finally, below is the beginning of ‘Survival of the Fittest’ and I as read the whole chapter kindly forwarded by Jacqui I found myself hooked! The story is thoroughly captivating and I was drawn immediately into Xhosa’s world, feeling her pain, fears, her strength! The writing is superb, taut, fast-paced whilst not rushed and the upcoming themes and plot lines are clearly outlined! Will you be as tempted by this extract as I was … a copy of the book is now on my kindle and I can’t wait to read it! Purchase links are below.

Her foot throbbed. Blood dripped from a deep gash in her leg. At some point, Xhosa had scraped her palms raw while sliding across gravel but didn’t remember when, nor did it matter. Arms pumping, heart thundering, she flew forward. When her breath went from pants to wheezing gasps, she lunged to a stop, hands pressed against her damp legs, waiting for her chest to stop heaving. She should rest but that was nothing but a passing thought, discarded as quickly as it arrived. Her mission was greater than exhaustion or pain or personal comfort.

She started again, sprinting as though chased, aching fingers wrapped around her spear. The bellows of the imaginary enemy—Big Heads this time—filled the air like an acrid stench. She flung her spear over her shoulder, aiming from memory. A thunk and it hit the tree, a stand-in for the enemy. With a growl, she pivoted to defend her People.

Which would never happen. Females weren’t warriors.

Feet spread, mouth set in a tight line, she launched her last spear, skewering an imaginary assailant, and was off again, feet light, her abundance of ebony hair streaming behind her like smoke. A scorpion crunched beneath her hardened foot. Something moved in the corner of her vision and she hurled a throwing stone, smiling as a hare toppled over. Nightshade called her reactions those of Leopard.

But that didn’t matter. Females didn’t become hunters either.

With a lurch, she gulped in the parched air. The lush green grass had long since given way to brittle stalks and desiccated scrub. Sun’s heat drove everything alive underground, underwater, or over the horizon. The males caught her attention across the field, each with a spear and warclub. Today’s hunt would be the last until the rain—and the herds—returned.

“Why haven’t they left?”

She kicked a rock and winced as pain shot through her foot. Head down, eyes shut against the memories. Even after all this time, the chilling screams still rang in her ears…

‘Survival of the Fittest’ is available at: Kindle US Kindle UK Kindle CA Kindle AU

Jacqui Murray can be found on the following social media:




91 thoughts on “SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST #NewRelease

  1. Although I’m a bit behind and still playing catch-up after my time away, I had to say how much I enjoyed your post. The book sounds incredible and definitely one I’m adding to my own personal library. Thank you for hosting the tour and sharing the book with us, Annika!

    1. Mackay, thank you so much and it’s been a joy to share Jacqui’s new book here – lovely to see all the support. I’m so happy you’ve another book to add to your personal library. Enjoy when you have a chance to read it!

  2. hilarymb

    Hi Annika – a great review and summary of Jacqui’s new book … and I was interested to read your post and to see all the comments. It’s a mammoth task she’s taken on – this trilogy and the saga series of Man v Nature – I’m really fascinated to see how it all develops.

    I see you’re off to Sweden and will read Jacqui’s book once there – we need time for these things don’t we … and there’s certainly lots to think about re 850,000 years and that period so far back in time.

    Cheers and great to be here – I’ve your book too to read … and I must get myself organised with Jacqui’s … all the best to you both – Hilary

    1. Hilary, thank you so much for your terrific comment and I’m so glad you enjoy the post. I too am thoroughly in awe with Jacqui and her work! So many books… plus everything else but knowing Jacqui she will be highly organised and accomplish them all!

      I have a feeling our cabins in the forest will be the perfect setting to read this book, away from so many distractions of modern life! I am so looking forward to the break.

      Ahh…lovely to know that my book is also on your TBR list – Happy Reading and all the best to you. 😀

  3. Wonderful dear Annika that you are sharing Jaqui’s wonderful sounding book..And sometimes I wonder will that day arrive again when we all have to rethink in our survival of the fittest..
    As the World’s climate keeps reminding us we need to pay attention.

    Much love to you Annika, and to you Jacqui… ❤

    1. Sue, your point is alas one that has to be taken increasingly seriously and it is heartening how the younger people are now protesting about the world’s climate and the leaders of the world overwhelmingly ineffectual attempts to improve matters. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to the survival of the fittest … although for some countries this is already sadly the case.

      So glad you enjoyed reading about Jacqui’s book and it’s been a joy to share it here.

      Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, Sue … it’s heavenly to see the sun again after so many days of storm. hugs xx

    1. Staci, you’re right, Survival of the Fittest is doing the tours and it is wonderful how readers are captivated by the story, particularly as it is such an unusual time era for a book. The writing, tension and characterisation looks superb and ensures we are caught up with the book.

  4. I enjoyed your review of the first chapter, Annika. Great question too. The excerpt is fascinating and intriguing. Congratulations on your new release, Jacqui! All the best! Great weekend to the both of you! ❤

    1. Vashti, thank you so much … I wasn’t sure if a mini-review was the ‘done thing’ but it came to me naturally and I wanted to share how the writing style and story is so captivating. So glad you liked it. Wishing you a lovely weekend too, Vashti! 🌸😀

  5. Annika, a lovely post to draw in new readers for Jacqui Murray. 🙂

    Another friendly author/blogger to host you, Jacqui. This is so wonderful, how well your blog hop is going. I sincerely hope your book does well.

      1. Jacqui, ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ is literally the title of the next book I’m going to reading! Oh, I feel with genuine help and friendship there is nothing ever owed …

    1. Jan, you should have seen me reading the chapter … I became tenser with each paragraph, totally caught up in the story and excited to know what happened next … hence I just had to buy the book! 😀

    1. Julie, I love the idea of these book tours and the wide geographical nature of them … all from the comfort of home/office! 😀 Yep, the ever-burgeoning TBR list is a double-edged sword! We’re stressed by its enormity but wouldn’t be without it!😀

  6. Khaya Ronkainen

    Ah, this sounds like a book I must read. I love historical reads or prehistoric in this case. I’m drawn to female warrior protagonists. But I’m also curious to find out if Xhosa’s world looks anything like mine, with reference to South Africa mentioned in the blurb.

    Thank you Annika for this wonderful feature. I’m adding the book to my TBR list. And all the best, Jacqui! I’ll be following your trilogy with great interest. 🙂

    1. Khaya, this book sounds just perfect for you with your interest in historical books, South Africa connection and a strong female protagonist! I love the Xhosa’s name and her fearless and powerful nature … I can’t wait to learn more about her! I’m so glad you enjoyed this feature about Jacqui’s book and enjoy it when you have a chance to read Survival of the Fittest! 😀

    1. David, I’m smiling at your lovely poetic comment … your thoughts reflect mine! 😀😀 I’m always in awe at those surviving tough conditions as I know I never could! Xhosa is a person to aspire to … or just inspired perhaps! 😀

    1. Many thanks for sharing and your lovely comment, Bette! 😀 I can’t wait to read Jacqui’s book and will be a first for me … I’ve never read any prehistoric fiction before! From this first chapter I imagine I will barely stop for anything else!

  7. Oh, this is such an interesting post, Annika. Your opening question to Jacqui immediately hooked me in. And Jacqui’s response was enticing, to say the least. (Great marketing there, Jacqui!)
    It’s a bit sad, though, isn’t it, to think that even after 850,000 years women are still fighting for equality, not only in developed countries but especially in regimes. Xhosa sounds like a true warrior. ❤

    1. It’s almost sad to envision a world where there was no god/God to provide hope. I had difficulty writing that and figured they must have had hope which precedes the miracles of a God. I need to go back to that time and chat with them!

    2. Carol, thank you so much for your in-depth comment. First, Jacqui is such a pro at marketing and promotion … her preparation for this tour alone is exemplary and perhaps she has time to squeeze in a help book on the topic between the fiction! 😀 Xhosa and her fight for her place in the world is alas as you say still true of today … and a theme that is not only topical but will resonate with many. I can’t wait to read it! Maybe it will help us all find that warrior inside ourselves! ❤️

    1. Curt, Jacqui’s Xhosa seems a superlative female role model and how true that is needed in today’s world! More so than ever it seems … and that fact alone can be rather dispiriting. The book sounds fantastic and I can’t wait to read it!

  8. I am reading Jacqui’s book and appreciate how well she has put together the survival of early man. Thank you for being a lovely hostess Annika. Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Balroop, that’s wonderful to know and the first chapter was incredibly fluid and knowledgeable … I would baulk at even trying to write anything set in such a far gone era. I can’t wait to read her book and think this will be perfect for my Easter break.

      Awww…thank you so much for your kind words and wishing you a lovely weekend too! 😀❤️We have a son-free time as my son just took a flight to Scotland with friends for a few days! Gardening and a visit to Gainsborough house / museum beckons!

    1. My pleasure, Jacqui! 😀 I’m lucky to have so many lovely friends popping by … some you know but some new ones here as well I’m sure!

      BTW I was just writing a comment to you yesterday afternoon when we had a power cut! Hence the later reply … all up and running as normal now!

  9. Annika, your make a lovely host for Jacquie and I have thoroughly enjoyed your write up of this exciting new book. I love how consicely you put the historical eras, makes it very clear of
    the time gap Jaquie bridges to reach Xhosa.
    Congratulations to both you and to you Jaquie and I am sure the book will fly.


    1. Miriam, thank you so much! 😀😀 I am impressed by how versatile a writer Jacqui is and how she manages to immerse herself and the reader in all these different eras … a fact I wanted to highlight. Yes, I’m sure the book will fly off her … it’s having a great book launch tour! 😀

      1. Jacqui, I’m beaming away at your words here … thank you so much! 😀 I’m quite tempted by the idea … for just a moment! Much more fun to help others market /promote here! But it is important to get across what other want to know. Your information helped a lot and I always keep in mind what I would like to learn! 😀

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