Jacqui Murray: Against All Odds

It is ironic, I suppose, that my first post while learning how to use the new WordPress Block Editor is on Jacqui Murray’s latest novel Against All Odds. I say this because I am not very techy but Jacqui is a tech geek and trainer. I am quite certain that we’ll soon find some WordPress Block Editor tips on her blog.

https://jacquimurray.net/blogs/my-techie-side/

What has taken me hours to maneuver around this new WordPress editor and listening to YouTube tutorials would surely have taken Jacqui a much, much shorter time to process this new information.

Tech training requires analytical skills and sound research, two qualities which are present in her novels.

Spread throughout her novel are lovely literary gems bringing life to the many prehistoric settings the novel takes us to.

Xhosa increased their pace, up and down one rise and another, through a copse of lonely trees, and then around a rock formation as big as a family of elephants.

Xhosa trotted into the grove of narrow trees with spiky leaves, over a carpet of ankle-high leaves that muffled her footsteps. Her feet made a soft swishing noise as she walked, like the murmur of stream.

The enchanting names for her characters (Pan-do, Red Wolf, Spirit, Black Wolf, Seeker, Rainbow… give the story a fairy-tale fantasy genre. Although, Against All Odds is a fictitious story of migration in pre-historic times it also based on pre-historic reality.

Xhosa is the heroine and leader. She is on a mission to find for herself and her People a home base. She exhorts leadership traits such as empathy, caring for others, and collaboration with other tribes. Her kindness and persistence bring other tribes to join her fight for survival

…despite extreme adversity, well-equipped predators, and a violent natural environment that routinely asks them to do the impossible.

Jacqui Murray is a writers’ writer as well as being a writer for lovers of pre-historic fiction and strong female heroines.

If you’re feeling, like me, frustrated with learning this new editor, take a break and read Jacqui’s book. It will take you far away from the world of technology. Now how can I add a smiley emoji?

Jacqui Murray: The Quest For Home

the-quest-for-home-book-cover

Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

In her recent novel, The Quest for Home, Jacqui Murray ( using paleontological facts as backdrop) has written a well-researched work of fiction in which she brilliantly brings to life what it was like to live 830,000 years ago.

Through her main character, Xhosa, Jackie Murray provides the reader with the keys to survival: wit, strategy and perseverance. I loved that the lead warrior is a woman and that her characters come from diverse backgrounds such as Africa, Indonesia, China and Israel. Through them we learn how these people communicated, how they interacted with the animals in the wild and their struggle to survive. I was in awe by the physical and psychological strength of these people – our ancestors.

If you have followed Jacqui’s blog you know that she has a series of “how-to-describe” posts. For example, how to describe sight, how to describe pain, how to describe nature and so forth. Here, in The Quest for Home she applies her advice in how to describe similes:

Pan-do was like a river, curling over the land, sunlight glinting off its rippled surface, a welcome sight because it brought life. But underneath flowed fierce currents. Sharp rocks and treacherous plants filled its depths and it was home to vicious creatures that bit and tore without remorse. Pan-do, once riled, was no stranger to violence. He used it skillfully when he had no other choice, as a means to an end.

A word about violence. In her non-fiction introduction – which is an elucidation on prehistoric man – Jacqui Murray explains how the need to be violent was necessary in order to survive a treacherous world. In the novel’s opening, the violence was against Nature whereby  flood forced tribes to migrate; but the violence was also a means to survive against rival tribes. In this respect, we as mankind have not evolved all that much. We still have our wars, floods and hurricanes that force people to migrate, just as they did in prehistoric times.

The Quest for Home is book 2 of her Crossroads trilogy; however, it can be read as a standalone. Besides using her creative skills to craft a captivating adventure, Jacqui, also shines as an educator in sharing her knowledge of this period. If you are at all interested in learning about your prehistoric ancestors this is a novel you should pick up.

Bravo, Jacqui, for such a notable and sweeping novel.

 

Jacqui Murray: Born In A Treacherous Time

This post is part of Jacqui Murray’s book launch.

Jacqui Murray

 

Jacqui Murray took twenty years to write Born in A Treacherous Time. One might think that’s a long time but then the setting of her novel goes back 1.8 million years. Yikes!

Drawing from insights from various fields in paleo sciences and history the novel takes us into what survival and living everyday must have been like during this period in the hot, dry savannas of East Africa.

Lucy, whom you may remember from To Hunt a Sub  shows both ape like and human traits. She exhibits empathy, kinship, responsibility, inquisitiveness and tenderness. In her efforts to belong  into her new group Lucy confronts jealousy by the female members who disapprove of her going out to hunt. (Not a female thing to do).

The hunt plays a major role in this novel where Lucy – sometimes stalked by predators, sometimes herself the predator – encounters life and death situations. Murray excels at describing the different hunts and the rituals attached to them. I found these aspects of the novel to be very informative as well as adventurous.

Murray has a way of placing the reader right there in the jungle following Lucy in her will to survive. Right there with her in the climatic changes, witnessing man’s first weather forecaster. You are running/jogging/racing alongside Lucy. Learning how her group communicates. You admire her creativity and passion to solve problems and invent tools. Admire her knowledge of plants and their healing properties. You root for her. She is our pre-historic heroine!

We are far, far away from online shopping, walking on the moon, finding cures for diseases, building high-rises and even the invention of the wheel. Born in a Treacherous Time is a testament to the greatness and dominance of man against nature.

This is a novel which filled me with gratitude and respect for my ancestors and their resilience.  To somewhat quote Jacqui Murray in an interview with Tina Frisco:

Murray treats early man with majesty and nobility.

 

 

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