Jacqui Murray’s wonderful book, Against All Odds, was published in August 2020, and her successful blog tour was picked up by many bloggers eager to share the latest book in the Crossroads Trilogy.

Book Review Against All Odds

I missed joining the tour due to a planned blogging break. Then the rest of 2020 happened. I am beyond excited today to finally share my review and a much-belated promotion of Jacqui’s eagerly-anticipated book.

Jacqui and I go way back as bloggers and fellow educators. I discovered her blog and wonderful books through another blogger. Like Jacqui’s self-published books, I seek to read books written by fellow bloggers. My Kindle is loaded with books published by these hard-working authors.

Please join me today as I share her latest book, Against All Odds. Promotional text provided by Jacqui.

Against All Odds


Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family.


A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:

Author Bio:

Author Jacqui Murray

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 Man vs. Nature saga. She is also an adjunct professor of technology in education, a blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021.

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My 5-Star Amazon and Goodreads Review

5 stars

Jacqui Murray knocks it out of the park again with the third book in the Crossroads Trilogy. Set 850,000 years ago, thoughtful and compassionate leader Xhosa fearlessly guides her people to their final home in what we know as modern Spain. Meticulously researched, the setting invites the reader to feel the heat, the flies and lurking predators as Xhosa’s people navigate their home and surroundings. Definitely a page-turner, Murray deftly weaves the flaws and ordinary humanity into the characters which flesh out the probable personalities of Homo Erectus. Despite Xhosa’s chronic headaches, Seeker’s spiritual capacity and oddness, Wind’s stoicism, and Pan-Do’s experience and capacity to accept his emotions, the People exist and thrive in a cohesive group with an insatiable will to survive. Loyal wolves round out the group and provide a unique perspective to the series relating to the domestication of some mammals. If you are into pre-historic fiction, I highly recommend Murray’s Crossroads Trilogy.

Against All Odds Cover

Excerpt: Chapter 1 The foothills of the Pyrenees

They came out of the mountains, hair frozen in sparkling strands, hands and feet wrapped in shredded pelts, ribs etched against their skin under ragged hides white with snow, faces haggard with fatigue. Blood crusted scrapes and gashes, many recent, others almost healed, reminders of the violent struggles endured on their journey.

Though their steps flagged, not one of these upright creatures exhibited a hint of defeat. All males and a few females carried at least one spear, some two, many with warclubs strapped to their backs. Despite the anxiety and fear of entering this foreign land, hope energized them today, that their migration might be at an end.

All of them—Xhosa and her tribe, Pan-do and his, Wind, Zvi, and Seeker—had been chased from their homes by enemies. In their flight, they found each other. It took time to work through their differences but now they traveled side by side, respected ideas not theirs, and called themselves the People.

Their charismatic Leaders—Xhosa, Wind, and Pan-do—were known as reliable friends to those who earned their trust and dangerous enemies to those who opposed them. Two wolves—Spirit and Black Wolf—journeyed with them. Though the People lacked the animals’ sharp claws, dense fur, and piercing teeth, each considered the other “pack” and would defend them to death.

The exhausted group straggled down the gently sloping flank, feet shuffling carefully over the slippery scree. The ground changed from talus to stunted tufts of grass, sparse and brown which made walking easier. Optimism shone from their faces even as their tired eyes flicked side to side in search of unexpected movement, ears strained for out-of-place noises, and noses sniffed.

Rather than continue across the meadow, Xhosa led the People into the shade of the edging forest.

“Do you smell it, Wind?” Anticipation filled her gestures.

She and Wind, pairmates as well as Co-Leaders, stood quietly, absorbing their surroundings. Light filtered lazily through the canopy, the shadowed ground dappled with patches of warmth. She sniffed in the essence of wet earth and rotting leaves, the mustiness of moss, and something else much more enticing.

“It’s there.” She pointed and strode forward, lengthening her stride.

An icy gust whipped down the hillside through the shadows and raised bumps on her arms but she ignored it. The forest gave way to open sky and searing heat. It was too hot for her thin pelt but she didn’t stop to remove it. Green stalks swayed as far as she could see, edged on one side by more mountains and the other by some sort of leaves and branches. Sunlight glinted off the rippled surface of a distant river as it curled over the terrain.

“Dung!” The scent overpowered every other odor.

Wind huffed to her side. “It’s been a long time since we smelled dung that wasn’t frozen.”

“We did it, Wind.” Her eyes glistened with relief.

For most of a Moon, dread gnawed at her courage and left her wondering if following the guidance of Seeker—a boy barely a man—was a mistake. But Seeker assured her in his ebullient way that once out of the hills, their new home base would welcome them. Xhosa wanted to believe him because she wasn’t sure what else to do. Nor did she know what to do if it didn’t work.

Wind motioned, arms inclusive, “It’s beautiful, Xhosa.”

Siri, Pan-do, Ngili, the wolves Spirit and Black Wolf, and the rest of the People gathered around Xhosa and Wind, eyes locked on what lay in front of them.

Pan-do whispered, “We made it.” His eyes were moist, mouth open…..

Thank you for taking the time to read my review and book promotion of Jacquie Murray’s Against All Odds. If you have not done so, please consider adding this to your next read!

Image Credits: Jacqui Murray; Neil Mark Thomas on Unsplash

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22 thoughts on “Book Review: Against all Odds by Jacqui Murray

  1. I was amazed by the amount of research that had to go into writing these books. I’ve never read anything prehistoric before, but, thanks to museum visits, could easily picture Xhosa and her bandmates.
    Excellent review, Terri!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terri, thanks for commenting on my blog about Liesbet and Mark’s travels this week. Curiosity led me here, a good thing. My husband hails from western Washington in the Vancouver area. In fact, my memoir ends when I meet him. 😀

    Again, thanks for visiting Plain & Fancy. I’m glad we have a mutual friend in Liesbet and her amazing book Plunge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems many are moving out of California and heading to Washington and Idaho, Marian. My husband (also of German descent) has extensive family here in Spokane. I’ve enjoyed my first 6 weeks here already, even the snow 😁 Thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I followed Jacqui’s book tour last year and have been reading her excerpts with interest, anticipating the moment I can finally dive into her Crossroads Trilogy. I have the two first books of the series on my Kindle and hope to finally start reading them in a month or two, when things with Plunge slow down a bit for me. I have no doubt, I will be captivated and intrigued. Thank you for this wonderful review, Terri, for featuring Jacqui, and for confirming that her books should be high on my list of ones to read next!!

    Liked by 2 people

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