Categories
Book Reviews

The Many Faces of Natural Selection, Big Dogs and Humans

This blog is primarily about Leonbergers and our late Leonberger Bronco as well as the book I wrote about him and his dog friends. However, sometimes I review other Leonberger books here as well as books that I love and want to promote. This time I am reviewing Natural Selection, the third and last  book in the Dawn of Humanity series – October 18, 2022, by Jacqui Murray. This paperback is 283 pages, 978-1942101628, item weight 1.09 pounds, dimensions 6 x 0.64 x 9 inches. You can buy it from Amazon, as a paperback or e-Book. The paperback version is currently $15.99 on Amazon. The Kindle version is $4.99 or free if you are part of Kindle Unlimited.

This book is truly great historical fiction, and it features a pre-historic canine called Ump who reminds me of our late Leonberger Bronco. So, I feel there is a special connection. Reading this book was a great joy. I wrote a review on Amazon, which can be found here (The Many Faces of Natural Selection), as well as on my social media.

Photo of the Front cover of the book Natural Selection, book 3 in the dawn of humanity trilogy by Jacqui Murray. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for Natural Selection.
Front cover of the book Natural Selection, book 3 in the dawn of humanity trilogy by Jacqui Murray. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for Natural Selection.

Below I am posting my Amazon review for Natural Selection.

The Many Faces of Natural Selection

The survival of the fittest is an important theme in this book. Keen senses, intelligence, strength, speed, cooperation, and health all help you survive, but as the sixth paragraph on page 240 clearly shows, so does empathy. Read what Vex says. Empathy and caring for others, is not a weakness, even in brutal and treacherous times. It encourages loyalty and cooperation that in turn create strong groups. Strong groups have a better chance of surviving and that is natural selection. Natural selection seems to be a cold and cruel process, and maybe it is, but it created humans with compassion and the ability to empathize and care for others.

The main character is a pre-historic homo habilis woman who lived 1.8 million years ago. She is brave, a great hunter, a healer (using various herbs), and she cares about others. She is the wonder woman of the early Paleolithic age. The premise of the story is that Lucy’s group of homo habilis is enslaved by a cruel but strong group of Homo Erectus, the man-who-preys. Lucy and a few others are able to flee and so begins their long and perilous journey through Africa. Along the way Lucy assembles a very diverse group around herself. However, it turns out that even though diversity can create challenges, especially with respect to communication, it also creates strength.

Other important characters include Xha, an initially cruel Homo Erectus leader whose character develop in interesting ways, and Ump, Lucy’s canine companion. Ump is a large pre-historic canine who is friendly, brave, and very protective of his group. Ump is able to communicate with the hominids using body language in a manner that is similar to how dogs do it today. Ump reminded me of my late Leonberger dog. He was smart, strong, had a keen sense of smell and hearing, he was fierce, yet compassionate, and loving and above all very protective. He saved the members of the group on several occasions, just like our Leonberger protected us and his fellow dogs on a number of occasions.

This book, like the previous two in the series, is filled with action-packed adventure and interesting subplots. You never know what is going to happen next and you have to find out. In other words, it is a real page turner. Without giving anything else away I can say that the book ends on a quite satisfying note but with some twists and turns that you may not expect.

I loved this book, just like I loved the previous two books in the series. It is enjoyable, fun, action packed, the stories are creative and fascinating, and the book is very well written. It is possible to read this book on its own, but I recommend reading the other two books first. Reading the entire series will give you a more complete sense of why the plots are evolving the way they do. I highly recommend this book as well as the whole series.

Photo of the back cover of the book Natural Selection, book 3 in the dawn of humanity trilogy by Jacqui Murray
Back cover of the book Natural Selection, book 3 in the dawn of humanity trilogy by Jacqui Murray

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Finally, if you would like to learn about more about my book and find out where to buy it, click here or here. You can also click the image below to buy it from Amazon.

Image of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.
Categories
Book Reviews

The Prehistoric Dog Ump and His Motley Crew

This blog is primarily about Leonbergers and our late Leonberger Bronco as well as the book I wrote about him and his dog friends. However, sometimes I review other Leonberger books and other great books. This time I am reviewing Laws of Nature, the second book in the Dawn of Humanity series – July 3rd, 2021, by Jacqui Murray. This paperback is 307 pages, 978-1942101604, item weight 14.6 ounces pounds, dimensions 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches. You can buy it from, for example, Amazon or Barnes and Noble, as a paperback or e-Book. The paperback version is currently $15.99 on Amazon.

Not only is this book great Historical Fiction but it was released July 3rd on my best friend’s birthday. I am talking about Bronco, or Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, our late Leonberger. The pre-historic canine in this book, Ump reminds me of Bronco. I feel there is a special connection. Reading this book was a great joy. I wrote a review on Amazon, which can be found here (Lucy, Ump and their motley crew survive in brutal pre-historic times), as well as on my social media. Here I am presenting a reworked version of the same review. From now on I will be focusing on her next book “Natural Selection” in her Dawn of Humanity series. I recommend that you read all three books. Who knows what will come next?

Photo of the front cover of the book Laws of Nature by Jacqui Murray. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page for the book.
Front cover of the book Laws of Nature by Jacqui Murray. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page for the book.

Lucy, Ump and their motley crew survive in brutal pre-historic times

The story follows Lucy, a Homo Habilis woman who lived 1.8 million years ago, her tribe, and her canine companion Ump. Lucy’s tribe is attacked by a tribe of Homo Erectus, and we follow them as they migrate across Africa. They have to fight for their survival in various ways, finding food, finding shelter, fighting off saber tooth tigers, other dangerous animals as well as hostile tribes. Fortunately, Lucy is a special kind of pre-historic woman, a healer, a hunter, clever and wise.

I know a little bit about human pre-history, but I am not an expert. However, I find the author’s depictions of life in the early Quaternary quite believable and fascinating. Like Jean M Auel before her, Jaqui Murray has done her research. At the beginning of the book, she is explaining the background, the groups, what the various animals are, etc. This helps readers understand what is going on. It is especially helpful to readers who did not read the first book, Born in a Treacherous Time. I also highly recommend this book.

I was especially intrigued by Ump. Ump is a large pre-historic canine who became one of Lucy’s companions. Ump is friendly, he is brave, and he is very loving and protective of Lucy and her group. Ump is able to communicate with the hominids using body language in  a manner that reminds me of how dogs do that today. It is amazing how much you can say using body language and how this translates across species boundaries. I see this with my dogs today. If you pay attention there’s so much a dog can tell you.

Ump reminded me of our late Leonberger Bronco. Like Ump Bronco was friendly, brave, protective and he loved his family. Like Ump he saved the lives of fellow family members a few times, and he chased off threating people. Like Ump he was a good communicator using body language, growls, grunts and barks, and like Ump he was in tune with the feelings of his family. Reading about Ump and other canines in this book was a joy.

Another thing I think the book makes clear is that even though diversity makes communication more challenging it makes for a stronger group. A group that is homogenous might be great for defense temporarily, but to venture out, to seek new pastures, to survive the unfamiliar you need diversity; and thus, we have Lucy’s and Ump’s diverse group. Ump’s canine skills, Boah’s special skills with traveling through the canopy, and the skills of the different hominid races and their experiences, all within Lucy’s small group allow them to survive challenges beyond what you can expect to be bearable.

This book is full of action-packed adventure. The stories are not only thrilling but imaginative, captivating, and full of surprises. This book feature some quite unexpected and surprising but credible plot twists towards the end. I love it when story lines are coming together in surprising but logical ways that you do not expect. The book also introduces some new characters, one of them “Wild”, which was, well quite wild to say the least. I highly recommend this book, but now I will focus on her next book “Natural Selection”.

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Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.

This is an image of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is an image of the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is an image showing the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954

ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR