Born in a Treacherous Time / Man vs Nature

Book Launch–Born in a Treacherous Time

This week, my wonderful efriends here in the blogosphere are helping me launch my prehistoric fiction novel, Born in a Treacherous Time. I’ll be visiting their blogs to chat about the book, the process, and anything else on their minds. Some of the questions we’ll cover:

  1. Why did Born in a Treacherous Time take 22 years to write?
  2. Why did I change genres from thrillers to historical fiction?
  3. What books that you might have read are like this one?
  4. We know Lucy’s species, Homo habilis, died out about the time of this story (1.8 million years ago). Is this story dystopian—meaning Lucy loses in the end?
  5. What one characteristic allowed Lucy to survive in a world populated with Sabertooth Cats, violent volcanoes, and predatory species who liked to eat man?
  6. How do I differentiate Lucy from the species of man that followed her, probably led to her extinction, and became the most successful species of man ever?
  7. How is this a spin-off of To Hunt a Sub?
  8. Why did I write a book in such a tiny niche (I mean, what was I thinking?)
  9. Is there a goal to writing this story?
  10. This is part of a series, Man vs. Nature. What’s that about?
  11. What readers would like Born in a Treacherous Time?

Here’s the schedule of who’ll I’ll visit. I haven’t included the question–you’ll have to drop in to see the answer:





6/7/2018 Glynis Jolly

A Scripted Maze

(posted to her sidebar)

6/7/2018 Wendy Unsworth

Words and More

Wendy’s Amazon

Author Page

6/7/2018 Tina Frisco Tina’s

Amazon Page

6/8/2018 Ed Urbanowski

Ed’s Musings

6/8/2018 Sarah

Art Expedition

See her paintings and drawings on her blog
6/9/2018 Patrice Rolle

The Big Move to Sweet Cay

6/10/2018 Jennifer Kelland Perry Jennifer’s Amazon Author Page 
6/11/2018 Grace Allison

Modern Mystic Media

 Grace’s Amazon Author Page
6/11/2018 C. Lee McKenzie

Lee’s post is delayed for a family emergency. My heart is with her.

Lee’s Amazon

Author Page

6/11/2018 Mel

Melissa Barker-Simpson

Mel’s Amazon

Author Page

6/11/2018 Mike Tuggle

M.C. Tuggle, Writer

6/12/2018 Cathy

Curious as a Cathy

6/12/2018 Allie Hall

Tea by Leaf

6/13/2018 Juneta Key

Juneta Key, Speculative Fiction

Juneta’s writing
6/14/2018 Sharon Bonin-Pratt

Ink Flare

She’s gettin’ there!
6/15/2018 Jill Weatherholt Jill’s Amazon

Author Page

6/15/2018 Julie Holmes

Facets of a Muse

6/15/2018 Debby Gies

D.G. Kaye Writer

 Debby’s Amazon Author Page
6/16/2018 Robbie Cheadle

Robbie’s Inspiration

Robbie’s Amazon

Author Page

6/16/2018 Charles Ray

Charles Ray’s Ramblings

 Charles Ray’s 


6/17/2018 Walt

Walt’s Ramblings

6/17/2018 Balroop

Emotional Shadows

 Balroop’s Amazon

Author Page

6/17/2018 Deb Villines

The Butterfly’s Den

6/18/2018 Luciana Cavallero

Eternal Atlantis

Luciana’s Amazon

Author Page

6/18/2018 Julie Flanders

Julie Flanders, Writer

Julie’s Amazon

Author Page

6/19/2018 Roland Clarke

Writing Wings

Roland’s Amazon 

Author page

6/19/2018 Jina Salameh

Jina Bazzar Authors Inspirations

6/20/2018 Ken Rahmoeller

Website of Ken Rahmoeller

6/21/2018 Cathleen Townsend  Cathleen’s Amazon

Author Page

6/21/2018 Carol Balawyder Carol’s Amazon Author Page 
6/21/2018 Diana Peach

Myths of the Mirror

Diana’s Amazon

Author Page

Please join me whenever you can. I’d love to chat with you.

Short Summary

Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive in the harsh reality of a world where nature rules, survival is a daily challenge, and a violent band threatens to destroy everything Lucy thinks she understands.

If you like Man vs. Wild, you’ll love this book. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. It will bring that world to life in a way never seen before

Long Summary

Born in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when they are relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, their own people, and the next iteration of man. To make it worse, Lucy’s band hates her. She is their leader’s new mate and they don’t understand her odd actions, don’t like her strange looks, and don’t trust her past. To survive, she cobbles together an unusual alliance with an orphaned child, a beleaguered protodog who’s lost his pack, and a man who was supposed to be dead.

Born in a Treacherous Time is prehistoric fiction written in the spirit of Jean Auel. Lucy is tenacious and inventive no matter the danger, unrelenting in her stubbornness to provide a future for her child, with a foresight you wouldn’t think existed in earliest man. You’ll close this book understanding why man not only survived our wild beginnings but thrived, ultimately to become who we are today.

This is a spin-off of To Hunt a Sub’s Lucy (the ancient female who mentored the female protagonist).

Kirkus Review:

“Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout.

A well-executed tale of early man.”

–Kirkus Reviews

Click here for the entire review

An early reader’s review

Born in a Treacherous Time sheds light on a period of time that gave birth to the human race, and allow us to bear witness to the harshness and tenacious spirit that is uniquely human—to survive and endure. Readers with a thirst for knowledge and who enjoy historical fiction, this is a must read. I am looking forward to reading book 2 when it is published.

 “I devoured the book in 2 sittings.”

–Luciana Cavallaro, author of Servant of the Gods series and webmaster of Eternal Atlantis

Book information:

Title: Born in a Treacherous Time

Series: Book 1 in Man vs. Nature collection

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Cover by: Damonza 

Available at: Kindle US, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada

Social Media contacts

Sample chapter

The scene replayed in Lucy’s mind, an endless loop haunting her days and nights. The clear sun-soaked field, the dying Mammoth, the hunters waiting hungrily for its last breath before scavenging the meat, tendons, internal organs, fat, and anything else consumable—food that would nourish the Group for a long time.

But something went horribly wrong. Krp blamed Lucy and soon, so too did Feq.

Why did Ghael stand up?  He had to know it would mean his death.

Lucy wanted to escape, go where no one knew what she’d done, but Feq would starve without her. He didn’t know how to hunt, couldn’t even tolerate the sight of blood. For him, she stayed, hunting, scavenging, and outwitting predators, exhausting herself in a hopeless effort to feed the remaining Group members. But one after another, they fell to Snarling-dog, Panther, Long-tooth Cat, Megantereon, and a litany of other predators. When the strangers arrived, Feq let them take her.

By this time, Lucy felt numb, as much from the death of her Group as the loss of Garv. Garv, her forever pairmate, was as much a part of her as the lush forests, Sun’s warmth, and Snarling-dog’s guidance. Now, with all the other deaths, she could leave his memory behind.

Forests gave way to bushlands. The prickly stalks scratched her skin right through the thick fur that layered her arms and legs. The glare of Sun, stark and white without the jungle to soften it, blinded her. One step forward became another and another, into a timeless void where nothing mattered but the swish of feet, the hot breeze on her face, and her own musty scent.

Neither male—not the one who called himself Raza nor the one called Baad—had spoken to her since leaving. They didn’t tell her their destination and she didn’t ask, not that she could decipher their intricate hand gestures and odd body movements. She studied them as they talked to each other, slowly piecing together what the twist of a hand and the twitch of a head meant. She would understand it all by the time they reached wherever they headed.

It was clear they expected her to follow. No one traveled this wild land alone but her reasons for joining them, submissively, had nothing to do with fear. Wherever the strangers took her would be better than where she’d been.

Lucy usually loved running through the mosaic of grass and forest that bled one into another. Today, instead of joy, she felt worry for her future and relief that her past was past. She effortlessly matched Raza’s tread, running in his steps at his pace. Baad did the same but not without a struggle. His sweat, an equal mix of old and stale from the long trip to find her and fresh from trying to keep up, blossomed into a ripe bouquet that wafted over her. She found comfort in knowing this strong, tough male traveled with her.

Vulture cawed overhead, eagerly anticipating a meal. From the size of his flock, the scavenge must be an adult Okapi or Giraffe. Even after the predator who claimed the kill—Lucy guessed it to be Megantereon or Snarling-dog—took what it needed, there would be plenty left. She often hunted with Vulture. It might find carrion first but she could drive it away by brandishing a branch and howling. While it circled overhead, awaiting a return to his meal, she grabbed what she wanted and escaped.

Feq must smell the blood but he had never been brave enough to chase Vulture away.  He would wait until the raptor finished, as well as Snarling-dog and whoever else showed up at the banquet, and then take what remained which wouldn’t be enough to live on.

Sun descended toward the horizon as they entered a dense thicket. They stuck to a narrow lightly-used animal trail bordered by heavy-trunked trees. Cousin Chimp scuffled as he brachiated through the understory, no doubt upset by the intruders. Only once, when a brightly-colored snake slithered across her path, did Lucy hesitate. The vibrant colors always meant deadly venom and she didn’t carry the right herbs to counter the poison. Baad grumbled when her thud reverberated out of sync with Raza’s, and Cousin Chimp cried a warning.

Finally, they broke free of the shadows and flew through waist-high grass, past trees laden with fruit, and around the termite mound where Cousin Chimp would gorge on white grubs—if Cheetah wasn’t sleeping on top of it.

I haven’t been back here since that day…

She flicked her eyes to the spot where her life had changed. Everything looked so calm, painted in vibrant colors scented with a heady mix of grass, water, and carrion. A family of Hipparion raised their heads but found nothing menacing so turned back to their banquet of new buds.

As though nothing happened…

Lucy sprinted. Her vision blurred and her head throbbed as she raced flat out, desperate to outdistance the memories. Her legs churned, arms pumped, and her feet sprang off the hard earth. Each step propelled her farther away. Her breathing heaved in rhythm with her steps. The sack around her neck smacked comfortingly against her body. Her sweat left a potent scent trail any predator could follow but Lucy didn’t care.


Someone far behind shouted her call sign but she only slowed when the thump in her chest outstripped her ability to breathe. She fell forward, arms outstretched, and gasped the damp air into her tortured lungs. Steps thumped louder, approaching, but she kept her eyes closed. A hand yanked her head back, forcing her to look up.

Despite the strangeness of Raza’s language, this she did understand: Never do that again.

Feq followed until Lucy had reached the edge of her—Feq’s—territory. Here, he must let her go. Without Feq, the Group’s few children and remaining female would die. She threw a last look at her brother’s forlorn face, drawn and tired, shoulders slumped, eyes tight with resolution. Lucy dipped her head and turned from her beleaguered past.

Maybe the language difference made Raza ignore Lucy’s every question though she tried an endless variety of vocalizations, gestures, and grunts. Something made him jumpy, constantly, but Lucy sniffed nothing other than the fragrant scrub, a family of chimps, and the ever-present Fire Mountain. Nor did she see any shift in the distant shadows to signal danger.

Still, his edginess made her anxious.

What is he hiding? Why does he never relax?

She turned toward the horizon hoping whatever connected sky to earth held firm, preventing danger from escaping and finding her. Garv credited Spider’s web with that task, said if it could capture Fly, it could connect those forces. Why it didn’t always work, Garv couldn’t explain. Herds and dust, sometimes fire, leaked through, as did Sun at the end of every day.  Lucy tried to reach that place from many different directions but it moved away faster than she could run.

Another truth Lucy knew: Only in Sun’s absence did the clouds crack and send bolts of fire to burn the ground and flash floods to storm through the canyons. Sun’s caring presence kept these at bay.

A grunt startled her back to the monotony of the grassland. At the rear of their column, Baad rubbed his wrists, already swollen to the thickness of his arm. When she dropped back to ask if she could help, his face hardened but not before she saw the anguish in the set of his mouth and the squint of his eyes. The elders of her Group suffered too from gnarled hands. A common root, found everywhere, dulled the ache.

Why bring a male as old and worn as Baad without that root?

Lucy guessed he had been handsome in his youth with his commanding size, densely-haired body, and brawny chest. Now, the hair hung gray and ragged and a white line as thick as Lucy’s finger cut his face from temple to ear. In his eyes smoldered lingering anger, maybe from the shattered tooth that peeked through his parted lips.

Was that why he didn’t try to rut with her? Or did he consider her pairmated to Raza?

“Baad,” she bleated, mimicking the call sign Raza used. “This will help your wrist,” and handed him a root bundle from her neck sack. “Crack it open and swallow the juice.”

Baad sniffed the bulb, bit it, and slurped up the liquid. His jaw relaxed and the tension drained from his face, completely gone by the time they passed the hillock that had been on the horizon when Lucy first gave him the root.

“How did you know this would work?” Baad motioned as he watched her face.

Why didn’t he know was a better question. Lucy observed animals as they cared for their injuries. If Gazelle had a scrape on her flank, she bumped against a tree that wept sap so why shouldn’t Lucy rub the thick mucus on her own cut to heal it? If swallowing certain leaves rid Cousin Chimp of the white worms, why wouldn’t it do the same for Lucy? Over time, she’d collected the roots, blades, stems, bark, flowers, and other plant parts she and her Group came to rely on when sick.

But she didn’t know enough of Baad’s words to explain this so she shrugged. “I just knew.”

Baad remained at her side as though he wanted to talk more.

Lucy took the opportunity. “Baad. Why did you and Raza come for me?”

He made her repeat the question as he watched her hands, body movements, and face, and then answered, “Sahn sent us.”

His movement for ‘sent’ was odd. One finger grazed the side of his palm and pointed toward his body—the backtrail, the opposite direction of the forward trail.

“Sent you?”

“Because of the deaths.”

Memories washed across his face like molten lava down the slopes of Fire Mountain. His hand motions shouted a rage she never associated with death. Predators killed to feed their families or protect their territory, as they must. Why did that anger Baad?

“Can you repeat that? The deaths?”

This time, the closest she could interpret was ‘deaths without reason’ which made no sense. Death was never without reason. Though he must have noticed she didn’t understand, he moved on to a portrayal of the world she would soon live within. His location descriptions were clear. In fact, her Group also labeled places by their surroundings and what happened there—stream-where-hunters-drink, mountains-that-burn-at-night, and mound-with-trees. Locations were meaningless without those identifications. Who could find them if not for their surroundings?

His next question surprised her.

“Why did you come?”

Bile welled in Lucy’s throat. She couldn’t tell him how she failed everyone in her Group or explain that she wanted a better life for the child she carried. Instead, she grunted and pretended she misunderstood.

That night, Lucy slept fitfully, curled under a shallow overhang without the usual protection of a bramble bush barrier or a tree nest. Every time she awoke, Raza and Baad were staring into the dark night, faces tight and anxious, muscles primed.

When Sun reappeared to begin its journey across the sky, the group set out, Lucy again between Raza and Baad. She shadowed the monotonous bounce of Raza’s head, comforted by the muted slap of her feet, the thump in her chest, and the stench of her own unwashed body. As they trotted ever onward, she became increasingly nervous. Though everything from the berries to the vegetation, animals, and baobab trees reminded her of home, this territory belonged to another group of Man-who-makes-tools. Before today, she would no sooner enter or cross it as they would hers. But Raza neither slowed nor changed direction so all she could do to respect this land-not-hers was to move through without picking a stalk of grass, eating a single berry, or swallowing any of the many grubs and insects available. Here and there, Lucy caught glimpses of the Group that called this territory theirs as they floated in the periphery of her sight. She smelled their anger and fear, heard them rustling as they watched her pass, reminding her she had no right to be here. Raza and Baad didn’t seem to care or notice. Did they not control territories where they lived?

Before she could ponder this any further, she snorted in a fragrance that made her gasp and turn. There on the crest of a berm across the savanna, outlined against the blue of the sky, stood a lone figure, hair puffed out by the hot breeze, gaze on her.

“Garv!” Lucy mouthed before she could stop herself. He’s dead. I saw it.

No arm waved and no voice howled the agony of separation.

“Raza!” Baad jerked his head toward the berm.

“Man-who-preys?” Raza asked with a rigid parallel gesture.

Lucy’s throat tightened at the hand movement for danger.

“Who is Man-who-preys?” Lucy labored with the call sign. “We don’t prey. We are prey.” Why did this confuse Raza?

Raza dropped back and motioned, “I refer to the one called Man-who-preys—upright like us but tall and skinny.” He described the creature’s footprints with the distinctive rounded top connected to the bottom by a narrow bridge. She knew every print of every animal in her homeland. These didn’t exist.

“No. I’ve never seen those prints.”

He paused and watched her face. “You’re sure Mammoth slaughtered your males?  Could it have been this animal?”

“No. I was there. I would have seen this stranger.”

Raza dropped back to talk to Baad. She tried to hear their conversation but they must have used hand motions. Who was this Man-who-preys and why did Raza think they caused the death of her Group’s males? Worse, if they followed Raza from his homeland, did that bring trouble to Feq?

Lucy easily kept up with Raza, her hand tight around an obsidian scraper as sharp and sturdy as the one the males gripped. Her wrist cords bulged like the roots of an old baobab, familiar with and accustomed to heavy loads and strenuous work. Both males remained edgy and tense, often running beside each other and sharing urgent hand motions. After one such exchange, Raza diverted from the route they had been following since morning to one less trodden. It’s what Lucy would do if worried about being tracked by a predator or to avoid a group of Man-who-makes-tools. They maintained a quicker-than-normal pace well past the edge of her world. That suited her fine though she doubted that Man-who-preys could be more perilous than what preyed on her mind.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time, first in the Man vs. Nature collection. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


137 thoughts on “Book Launch–Born in a Treacherous Time

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  13. Hi Jacqui. You’ve had a great launch. Congratulations. I’ll be sending out my Email Connect on June 27 with a link to my review. Thank you for being so understanding about the delay in my support for your book. It’s a great story, so I know it will be well received.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. Pingback: Jacqui Murray: Born In A Treacherous Time | Carol Balawyder

  16. Lots of new blogs to explore here and a lot of good questions you mentioned, some of which I had speculated on in general, I shall hunt through some of the blogs (it’s great to discover new blogs) to seek the answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hey there, Jacqui! I saw the announcement of your book on Jill W’s blog and wanted to hop over here to learn more about you. 🙂 I’m reminded of Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series, which I absolutely ADORED reading when I was a teenager. I haven’t thought of those books until I read about yours. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, and I appreciate the time and focus and dedication it takes for authors to see a project through to the end. You have my best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kate. Jean Auel was one of my favorite early author’s too though she seemed to struggle with her last book (I still devoured it though–there’s not a lot in this genre). This book is that same balance of historic detail and action, kind of Man vs. Wild, or survival vs. the alternative.


  18. Pingback: Born In A Treacherous Time Author Jacqui Murray - Juneta Key

  19. Jacqui,

    Best of luck to you with the launch of your book. I know how exciting this all is as I remembered how thrilled I was to get my children’s book published. My post is live. I hope my contribution helps to catapult your sells! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Pingback: Introducing Born In A Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray | Melissa Barker-Simpson

  21. Jacqui hi! It was the perfectly wonderful Sarah who alerted me to your book. I will share it on my FaceBook page and also personally to a few of people I am certain will be interested. I wish you so much success with your ‘baby’ and you can be sure that I will be grabbing my own copy which will be read not just by me but by my husband and our children. Bon courage et félicitations a vous 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Congratulations, Jacqui. I’m so excited for you. The excerpt you provided is wonderful, and gives a real taste of what we can expect – it pulled me right in (I was lucky to have an advanced taste of the chapter!).

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Many congratulations Jacqui – have a happy busy day! I’ll be back to read and then over to see your friends and read your answers … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Wow! Best of luck with the book launch!! This is one massive blog hop … you’ll be busy! Have lots of fun and see you around. Btw I like the chart and how you link to the bloggers’ books etc…thoughtful touch!

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Jacqui Murray announces the release and book launch of her new book. Born in a Treacherous Time is set 1.8 million years ago in Africa. “Born in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when they are relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, their own people, and the next iteration of man” Jacqui will be on a book launch tour, answering questions about the book and you can find the dates in the post. #recommended

    Liked by 4 people

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