#NewBook: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray @WordDreams #DawnofHumanity #series

Hi everyone. Today, it gives me great pleasure to have Jacqui Murray, fellow author and blogging friend, over to visit. Jacqui has some exciting news to share with us … she has a new book coming out! Natural Selection is the 3rd book in her Dawn of Humanity series. This prolific writer has over 60 books published, both in fiction and non-fiction. And her love of research and education comes across delightfully. I’ll let Jacqui tell you all about her latest release … 🙂 


About the Book:

In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former tribe members captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

 A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

One Pack Ends, Another Begins

 

Africa  

 

The Canis’ packmates were all dead, each crumpled in a smeared puddle of blood, Upright killing sticks embedded where they should never be. His body shook, but he remembered his training. The killers’ scent filled the air. If they saw him—heard him—they would come for him, too, and he must survive. He was the last of his pack.

He padded quietly through the bodies, paused at his mate, broken, eyes open, tongue out, pup under her chest, his head crushed. A moan slipped from his muzzle and spread around him. He swallowed what remained in his mouth. Without a pack, silence was his only protection. He knew to be quiet, but today, now, failed.

To his horror, a departing Upright looked back, face covered in Canis blood, meaty shreds dripping from his mouth, the body of a dead pup slung over his shoulder. The Canis sank into the brittle grass and froze. The Upright scanned the massacre, saw the Canis’ lifeless body, thought him dead like the rest of the decimated pack. Satisfied, he turned away and rushed after his departing tribe. The Canis waited until the Upright was out of sight before cautiously rising and backing away from the onslaught, eyes on the vanished predators in case they changed their minds.

And fell.

He had planned to descend into the gully behind him. Sun’s shadows were already covering it in darkness which would hide him for the night, but he had gauged his position wrong. Suddenly, earth disappeared beneath his huge paws. He tried to scrabble to solid ground, but his weight and size worked against him and he tumbled down the steep slope. The loose gravel made gripping impossible, but he dug his claws in anyway, whining once when his shoulder slammed into a rock, and again when his head bounced off a tree stump. Pain tore through his ear as flesh ripped, dangling in shreds as it slapped the ground. He kept his legs as close as possible to his body and head tucked, thankful this hill ended in a flat field, not a river.

Or a cliff.

When it finally leveled out, he scrambled to his paws, managed to ignore the white-hot spikes shrieking through his head as he spread his legs wide. Blood wafted across his muzzle. He didn’t realize it was his until the tart globs dripped down his face and plopped to the ground beneath his quaking chest. The injured animal odor, raw flesh and fresh blood, drew predators. In a pack, his mate would purge it by licking the wound. She would pronounce him Ragged-ear, the survivor.

Ragged-ear is a strong name. A good one.

He panted, tail sweeping side to side, and his indomitable spirit re-emerged.

I live.

But no one else in his pack did.

Except, maybe, the female called White-streak. She often traveled alone, even when told not to. If she was away during the raid, she may have escaped. He would find her. Together, they would start over.

Ragged-ear shook, dislodging the grit and twigs from his now-grungy fur. That done, he sniffed out White-streak’s odor, discovered she had also descended here. His injuries forced him to limp and blood dripping from his tattered ear obstructed his sight. He stumbled trying to leap over a crack and fell into the fissure. Fire shot through his shoulder, exploded up his neck and down his chest. Normally, that jump was easy. He clambered up its crumbling far wall, breaking several of his yellowed claws.

All of that he ignored because it didn’t matter to his goal.

Daylight came and went as he followed White-streak, out of a forest onto dry savannah that was nothing like his homeland.

Why did she go here?

He embraced the tenderness that pulsed throughout his usually-limber body. It kept him angry and that made him vicious. He picked his way across streams stepping carefully on smooth stones, their damp surfaces slippery from the recent heavy rain, ignoring whoever hammered with a sharp rock inside his head. His thinking was fuzzy, but he didn’t slow. Survival was more important than comfort, or rest.

Ragged-ear stopped abruptly, nose up, sniffing. What had alerted him? Chest pounding, breathing shallow, he studied the forest that blocked his path, seeking anything that shouldn’t be there.

But the throbbing in his head made him miss Megantereon.

Ragged-ear padded forward, slowly, toward the first tree, leaving only the lightest of trails, the voice of Mother in his head.

Yes, your fur color matches the dry stalks, but the grass sways when you move. That gives away your location so always pay attention.

His hackles stiffened and he snarled, out of instinct, not because he saw Megantereon. Its shadowy hiding place was too dark for Ragged-ear’s still-fuzzy thinking. The She-cat should have waited for Ragged-ear to come closer, but she was hungry, or eager, or some other reason, and sprang. Her distance gave the Canis time to back pedal, protecting his soft underbelly from her attack. Ragged-ear was expert at escaping, but his stomach spasmed and he lurched to a stop with a yowl of pain. Megantereon’s next leap would land her on Ragged-ear, but to the Canis’ surprise, the She-cat staggered to a stop, and then howled.

While she had been stalking Ragged-ear, a giant Snake had been stalking her. When she prepared her death leap, Snake dropped to her back and began to wrap itself around her chest. With massive coils the size of Megantereon’s leg, trying to squirm away did no good.

Ragged-ear tried to run, but his legs buckled. Megantereon didn’t care because she now fought a rival that always won. The She-cat’s wails grew softer and then silent. Ragged-ear tasted her death as he dragged himself into a hole at the base of an old tree, as far as possible from scavengers who would be drawn to the feast.

 

He awoke with Sun’s light, tried to stand, but his legs again folded. Ragged-ear remained in the hole, eyes closed, curled around himself to protect his vulnerable stomach, his tail tickling his nose, comforting.

He survived the Upright’s assault because they deemed him dead. He would not allow them to be right.

 

Sun came and went. Ragged-ear consumed anything he could find, even eggs, offal, and long-dead carcasses his pack normally avoided. His legs improved until he could chase rats, fat round ground birds, and moles, a welcome addition to his diet. Sometimes, he vomited what he ate and swallowed it again. The day came he once again set out after what remained of his pack, his pace more sluggish than prior to the attack, but quick enough for safety.

Ragged-ear picked up the female’s scent again and tracked her to another den. He slept there for the night and repeated his hunt the next day and the next. When he couldn’t find her trace, instinct drove him and memories of the dying howls of his pack, from the adults who trusted their Alpha Ragged-ear to protect them to the whelps who didn’t understand the presence of evil in their bright world.

Everywhere he traveled, when he crossed paths with an Upright, it was their final battle.

 

Book information:

 

Title and author: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray

Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW

 

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

 

Social Media contacts:

 

Amazon Author Page:         https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                    http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

72 Comments on “#NewBook: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray @WordDreams #DawnofHumanity #series

  1. I love the opening to this book. It’s so evocative. It’s hard to think that we evolved from such primitive life and not think that they’re all aliens from another galaxy.

  2. What a great review, Harmony. You explain Jacqui’s newest book in a succinct but tantalizing manner. Well done, just as Jacqui’s novels are SO well done. And I love seeing that Anneli is Jacqui’s editor for this book. I use Anneli also and think she’s fabulous.

  3. I love how you share the first chapter of this enthralling read, as I always appreciate the chance to take a little sneak peek at a book before committing. 🙂

  4. HI Harmony, another great stop on Jacqui’s book tour. Thanks for hosting her.

  5. Great to see Jacqui here, Harmony. I enjoyed this whole series, and remember this excerpt from Natural Selection well. Congrats on a successful tour, Jacqui, and thanks for hosting, Harmony. Hugs to you both.

    • You too! I can’t believe how many stops you had on yours. Two months! I’m worn out after less than one month. Your tour has been wonderfully fun and enlightening.

    • It’s so lovely to have Jacqui here! I enjoyed your tour immensely too, Diana. Hugs 🤗💕🙂

  6. These little tidbits reminded me how much I enjoyed reading each book in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy. So much excitement packed into a page turner. The amount of research needed to write one of these books is tremendous. Then to be able to use that knowledge to make a novel with characters we care about and a plot that makes the book hard to put down – that takes a special talent, and Jacqui Murray has it, for sure.

  7. I’m a big fan of Jacqui’s prehistoric series. She put her heart and soul, and a ton of research into these books. I can’t recommend them enough!

  8. Thanks for hosting Jacqui today, Harmony. The entire series is fascinating, and I have them all waiting for me. Best wishes on this new release!

  9. Canis one of my favorites in book, but this was such a sad part. Thanks for hosting, Harmony!

  10. I’m reading the Dawn of Time Trilogy now. Lucy’s character shows me how valuable ancient women were to the survival of the group. It also makes sense that they hunted. I love these series and look forward to reading this new book soon. Thanks so much Harmony and Jacqui. 💜

    • I found no evidence that women weren’t capable of taking care of themselves. Individuals were part of a tribe, but the nuclear family with designated jobs doesn’t seem to have evolved yet. Maybe in my upcoming trilogy!

  11. I’ll be reading this one in the coming weeks. I think historical fiction is such a great genre because I love thinking about putting myself in another era. What I find most fascinating is how humans find a way to problem solve in any period of history.

    • It’s such a pleasure to have you visit. Wishing you every success, Jacqui! Hugs 💕🙂

  12. Congratulations, Jacqui! I have my copy, and I’m looking forward to reading it soon. Thank you, Harmony, for featuring Natural Selection and Jacqui today. 🤗