Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray Blog tour

Today is my stop for Jacqui Murray’s blog tour for her latest book, Natural Selection.

The concept of how humans evolved is a curious and complex one, with not enough books on the topic. Kudos to Author Jacqui Murray for setting up these characters in such a time period, and basing them on true events! In this installment, Jacqui tackles a topic dear to me, because I can relate: an almost blind character, Ahnda. Having suffered an unfortunate series of event, Ahnda finds himself alone and almost blind. He has two options: give up and die, or keep going and achieve his goal (Finding Lucy and her tribe).

Read on to the end and find out what Author Jacqui Murray has to say about this character.

Title: Natural Selection

Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Book summary:

In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribemembers 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!


Available print or digital) at:

Could an almost-blind person survive primordial Africa?

There’s a fascinating character in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, with a big part in my latest book, Natural Selection, named Ahnda. Ahnda is a normal early man youth, growing up with his tribe, looking forward to hunting and knapping stone tools with the adults, until a series of mishaps land him alone, in an unknown area, and almost blind. Ahnda would like to give up, but then he would die so he makes the decision to keep moving toward his goal–to find Lucy and her tribe–until he can’t. He learns to rely on senses other than sight, to be furiously aware of his surroundings, to trust his ability to solve problems, and to never give up even when his journey seems impossible.

I hadn’t planned on Ahnda’s sight challenges when I started writing Natural Selection. I developed Glaucoma and suddenly, unbidden, Ahnda’s mishaps ended him in near-blindness as though the Universe was telling me to stop whining. Others have it worse. At first blush, I didn’t believe it was possible for him to survive, and then I read Enos Abijah Mills’ story, The Adventures of a Nature Guide. He had been exploring the peak of the Continental Divide, alone as was his norm, when he lost his vision to snow blindness. In the late 1800’s, there were no phones, compasses, or any other technology to help him out of this trouble. Most of us would ponder our mortality, but Mills rationally and calmly found his way back to civilization by employing his remaining senses:

“[Blindly, trudging through endless snow, I shouted] … listened intently … and noticed the direction from which the reply came, its intensity, and the cross echoes …”

The farther he traveled, the less Mills cared what nature threw at him. Each problem presented an opportunity to learn about the natural world and himself. That became the model for Ahnda. Today’s world has lots of sight-challenged individuals who function well with canes, seeing-eye dogs, and clickers, but Ahnda has none of those. Is it reasonable that he could survive? Let’s look at the science.

There is a lot of evidence backing up the ability to navigate one’s environment via sounds.

One: Bats fly in dark caves and find insect prey using a skill called echolocation. They produce sound waves outside of the human ear’s ability to hear to locate objects around them. You can do an Internet search for details.

Another: Sight-challenged people can learn to move around well using a combination of sonar, echolocation, and “clicking”. If you didn’t know they were sight-challenged, you wouldn’t know. Interested? Search “Daniel Kish” and “Perceptual Navigation” for more information.

I bet all of you know at least one physically-challenged individual that doesn’t let that stop them at. all. Share those stories in the comments!

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.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page:






Read an excerpt:

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.

Grab your copy!


15 Replies to “Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray Blog tour”

  1. Ahnda’s passages where he describes the world through his senses other than sight were some of the most poetic in the book. He was a great character and a unique addition to Lucy’s group. Thanks for sharing your research, Jacqui. And thanks, Jina, for hosting. A wonderful trilogy!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, I wanted him to be a normal boy forced to face impossible circumstances, and figure out how to survive. To me, those types of individuals are a lot more common than the superheroes I love to read about.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Jina – this is great … Jacqui has really explored her characters and introduced them to us, a similar bunch to those we’d find in society today … I’m looking forward to finding out about Ahnda and how much his other senses helped him survive … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

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