Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray

Driven from their ancestral home, Xhosa’s people have been wanderers for far too long. But now, coming down from the Pyrenees mountains into what will become the Spanish plains, her people are filled with hope. Finally, they have found a homeland. But Xhosa and her people are in sorry shape. Always learning how to cope in a new land—and surviving outright attacks by vicious brigands—have left them gaunt and haggard, with wounds that have yet to heal. To top it all off, Xhosa is plagued by migraine headaches and is having difficulty finding medication.

This is a tale that would be poignant no matter when it occurred. But these people lived 850,000 years ago. At the risk of paraphrasing the intro to “Gilligan’s Island,” that means no stores where you can nip in to pick up a carton of milk. No Home Depots, with roof shingles that are guaranteed not to leak and 2 x 4s that are quite often straight. And if you wanted to get anywhere, you had feet. Nobody had cars or even horses.

It was a completely different, savage world, one that you and I would have difficulty surviving in. But our ancestors did. They dug deep and found the will to survive, sometimes against all odds.

Like with Ms. Murray’s other books, this one is meticulously researched, lending a verisimilitude that is detailed and believable. Sights, sounds, smells—they’re all here. Pain, both from straightforward physical causes and from fear of being pursued by enemies, fills their thoughts. Characters react and grow, sometimes with wise choices, other times not, but always believably. Even the wolves are convincing. All in all, Ms. Murray has achieved the enviable result of creating a timeless story set in an environment that is both familiar and strange.

All lovers of prehistoric fiction should consider picking up copies of Ms. Murray’s books. And even if you haven’t been enthralled with the genre before, if you ever enjoyed Ishi or The Island of the Blue Dolphins, Ms. Murray’s Crossroads trilogy might tickle your story bone. Go on, give it a whirl, although I’d start with the first book in the series, Survival of the Fittest.

Happy reading! : )

Avid writer and reader of Faerie tales and noblebright fantasy.

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Posted in Book Reviews
16 comments on “Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray
  1. JM Williams says:

    Love this author. Thanks for offering your take on the new book!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. balroop2013 says:

    Fabulous review Cathleen. Besides a compelling story, Jacqui has created awe-inspiring female characters who never give up in adversity, never look back and forge ahead with renewed vigor after each battle. I loved the series.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I enjoy Jacqui’s prehistoric fiction too. When I started reading her books, I had no idea what a fan I’d become. Wonderful review, Cathleen. I hope you’re doing well. Stay safe and creative, my friend. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ann Coleman says:

    I do enjoy historic fiction, but I’ve never tried prehistoric fiction. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yikes I just woke up, Cathleen! Thanks so much for featuring me. Something happened to my WordPress announcement of blogs I follow. They don’t arrive in my email anymore. Aside from all that, I am so happy to be here with your community.

    Liked by 1 person

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