Roberta Writes – Natural Selection, Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series by Jacqui Murray book blog tour #prehistoricalfiction #review #readingcommunity

Today, I am delighted to welcome talented author, Jacqui Murray, to Roberta Writes with a fascinating post for the launch of her new book, Natural Selection, Dawn of Humanity Book 3.

A prehistoric day with Lucy

Lucy, Natural Selection’s main character, is representative of the first humans. She walks upright, solves problems with her big brain as much as instinct, and has daylight left over each day to do something other than eat, sleep, hunt, defend herself, and procreate. She doesn’t wear clothing, live in a shelter, believe in gods or God, cook, or use fire. She thinks animals are superior because they’re physically more powerful. She is a hunter-gatherer (pre-farming), will eat anything (she’s an omnivore). Her tribe is a small group of about ten with no leader. The attitude is to work as hard as they can for the good of the group.

Here’s her typical day:


Lucy wakes up in a tree nest like those built by chimpanzees (Natural Selection tells you how to do this in case you’d like your own). If she isn’t close to a forest, she’ll settle for huddling against a cliff, around a baobab, under a stone ledge, or in an abandoned Canis (a pre-wolf) den.

Lucy relieves her urine and waste in a spot well away from where her tribe sleeps, but uses her feces and urine as animals do, to mark the boundaries of her territory.

Lucy eats when food is available. This might be as she’s foraging, hunting, or migrating. There are many days she doesn’t eat at all.

The tribe is fairly safe in their home, called a ‘homebase’, the place where they gather during the day, but when scavenging or foraging, the world is dangerous so they move quietly and cautiously.

Late morning-afternoon

Lucy spends most of the day in activities that feed her. She might stay at the homebase to pummel roots and stems to an edible softness, travel to a grove of fruit trees to collect fruit before other animals find it, gather nuts and berries when available–eating as she collects–or scavenge the carcass of an animal killed by predators. She always travels in small groups because the land is dangerous. Many predators feast on her meat. She is small–under five feet–with no defenses against attack other than her growing brain. Her skin is thin, her nails aren’t the shearing claws of predators, and her teeth are worthless for offense with no tearing fangs. Plus, if chased, she doesn’t run fast. She can climb trees to escape or in some cases, outsmart enemies with a clever idea.


When hunting, foraging, and gathering is completed, Lucy returns to the homebase where she grooms her tribe members. This is when she cleans their hair of lice, bugs, twigs, and debris, much like chimpanzees do (details on how to do that in the book). That done, she will knap stone tools required for chopping and cutting. If she has managed to find a carcass left by a predator, she will disarticulate the meat from the bones and break them open to retrieve the marrow.


Lucy’s days are filled with danger, threats, and stress, but also the latent sense of family and community. The juxtaposition of these instinctive and emotional traits makes a story I think you’ll enjoy.

About Natural Selection

In this final book of the trilogy, Lucy and her tribe leave their good home to rescue captured tribemembers who are in grave danger. Since leaving her mate, Lucy created a tribe that includes an eclectic mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium kit, and different iterations of early man. More will join and some will die but that is the nature of prehistoric life, when survival depends on a mix of man’s developing intellect and untiring will to live. Each brings unique skills to the task of saving Raza and his Group from sure death. Based on true events from 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her band of early humans 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.

Purchase Natural Selection

Digital or paperback:

Book trailer

Sneak peak into Natural Selection

Chapter 1: One Pack Ends, Another Begins


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.

My review of Laws of Nature, Dawn of Humanity Book 2

I am very interested in pre-history and have visited the Cradle of Mankind, Sterkfontein Caves, and Maropeng exhibition several times as well as the paleontology department at the University of the Witwatersrand. As a result, I have a good knowledge of the time period in which this series is set, and how humanity lived, hunted and created tools. I have also read the Earth Children series of books by Jean M. Auel. When I came across the Dawn of Humanity series by Ms. Murray, I knew I had to read it.

I have not been disappointed by this, or any of Ms. Murray’s other pre-historical books. The attention to detail and research is impeccable and I not found any errors relating to the theories and research findings of the period. I particularly appreciate the authenticity of these books which I have not experienced to the same degree in the other pre-historical novels I have read.

Laws of Nature picks up where book 1 left off with Lucy and her small tribe of diverse members and personalities trying to find a new and safer home after their larger tribe was attacked and many members taken prisoner.

Lucy is of the Man Who Makes Tools tribe, a peace loving race of ‘uprights’ who prefer to live in harmony with the land and the animals which populate it. The advent of Man Who Preys, a more aggressive race of ‘uprights’ who attack and kill other tribes and also animals, has forced Lucy and many of her fellow tribesmen to flee to save their lives and reestablish their peaceable lifestyles somewhere else.

I enjoyed Lucy’s travel companions: Ump the Canis, Boah the Tree-Man, Garv, Lucy’s soul-mate, and Voi, Lucy’s son. My favourite, other than Lucy who represents a strong and innovative woman and leader, was Boah. He is a good natured and peaceable man with certain limitations that he tries hard to overcome in order to be useful to his small tribe.

The captured half of Lucy’s tribe are also determined to escape and find Lucy. There is also another man, an enemy of Man Who Makes Tools, who is seeking Lucy for his own purposes. The story is told from each of the three perspectives, Lucy’s tribe, the escapees, and the tracker, as it follows each of these primary story threads.

A superbly researched and exciting book with a fascinating pre-historical setting that will not disappoint.

About Jacqui Murray

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.

Find Jacqui Murray

Amazon Author Page:






80 thoughts on “Roberta Writes – Natural Selection, Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series by Jacqui Murray book blog tour #prehistoricalfiction #review #readingcommunity

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading about her day. Before we had farming and technology, so much of our day was spent hunting for food. Luckily, our early ancestors were good at that and had a bit of extra time to revolutionize their lives!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. What a great place to launch this tour, Jacqui! And don’t those three book covers look great all together? Congratulations on this release and best wishes for tons of success. Thank you for sharing, Robbie!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi Roberta and Jacqui ~
    I had the chance to read advance chapters of Jacqui’s books and her stories take me right into the lands long ago where her characters struggle for survival each day, learn from nature and experience, gather in groups and form attachments — in short, they function in their primeval world doing what we still do today! The marvel in Jacqui’s work is how real she makes the descriptions of their surroundings and actions in that time millions of years ago. As a reader, I learn so much about our primordial roots from her research, and I love her dramatic storytelling.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve been surprised how often early man ended up in South Africa. My next trilogy also will feature that area. I’m researching, with no goal but to learn, and I keep ending up in South Africa, some caves on the ocean. They look beautiful actually.


  3. I’ve never read much in this genre, but Jacqui’s post, the sample, and your review, Robbie, make me quite curious about it. It sounds like a great series, and I am sure a tree nest might come in handy bat some point. Good luck to Jacqui with her new book!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Olga, thanks for visiting and commenting. There are not many authors who write in this genre (that I know in any event). I like Jacqui’s books because they are realistic and well researched. Jean Auel’s books are good, but there is to much sex in them for me. I find it a bit OTT.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You don’t have to be a historical fiction fan to enjoy my prehistoric fiction. I focus on survival skills, overcoming danger with nothing but your body and brain. It’s been pretty interesting to research that. Tree nests really are interesting. Chimps make them–at times–with roofs! To protect them from rain. Who would have thought?


  4. It’s fascinating to see history through the author’s eyes. I’m amazed by Lucy and her tribe’s ingenuity with so little to keep them safe.
    Great review, Robbie. Congrats to Jacqui for all of her hard work on this series- it shows!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. congrats on writing 3 books and finishing them all. I can’t even finish one non fiction book. Wish you all the success you deserve with thes trilogy, I am sure you will be writing another book very soon. All the best. Regards bella

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Roberta – great starting tour post … I’m looking forward to reading Jacqui’s last part – and like you I can relate to the African home of Lucy and her tribe … it’s been fun being a part of Jacqui’s tours – I’ve enjoyed the learning I’ve sent her way via my guest posts … cheers to you – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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