Only the Strongest Survive - Ian Fox Only The Strongest Survive by Ian Fox brings forth to my mind a popular saying: When you cast a play in hell, you can't expect to get angels as actors.All of the characters in the book are inherently flawed – none of them are perfect and they swim in a gray area where one minute you see them as a villain and in the next as a victim. As the story unfolds, we get flashbacks into their lives and the events that brought them to the present, further complicating them being pegged as being all good or evil.First we meet Emely Donnovan who came from a humble background. Raised in an orphanage, she makes her mark on the world as an adult, when she discovers a love for the stock market and a knack to successfully predict outcomes that ensure a big profit for her clients. Fame and fortune quickly follows and everything Emely could ever dream of becomes a reality. However, as she acquires more, her moral values steadily decline, and it’s not long before she employs some not-so-honest methods to ensure her success. With that kind of track record, it’s not hard to believe she doesn’t have much friends, and her love life is practically non-existent.Next we meet Ronald Langdon, the son of a business man who owned a sporting goods store. When Ronald’s father dies and he gains control of the company, unwise business decisions on Ronald’s part bring his company to the brink. Emely sees an opportunity she can’t resist and makes her move, becoming the majority shareholder and effectively taking his company from him. Hell bent on revenge, Ronald vows not to rest until he can put Emely in her place for taking what was his.Then there’s Ronald’s younger brother John Langdon, who has lived in his brother’s shadow all his life. Feeling inadequate and inferior to his brother, he always does what Ronald asks of him – without question. Desperate and lonely, he struggles to find a passion for life and often turns to alcohol to soothe the pain of his reality.All three characters’ destinies collide on a roadway where the brothers pull Emily over and kidnap her. Emely, thinking she can talk her way out her predicament, offers them money to let her go. Little does she know Ronald is not there for money; he is there to take her life. As Ronald sets to prepare Emely’s fate, he leaves John in charge of her.John is drunk, and being alone with a beautiful woman ignites his primal desires and he caves into his urges. But before John can come to grips on what is happening around him, his brother returns, ready to exact his revenge on Emely. Before anyone can think things clearly, the brothers drive Emely deep into the woods and bury her alive in a coffin, leaving her for dead.The brothers go their separate ways, though John stays behind in a cabin his family owns in the woods nearby where Emely was buried. Now alone with his thoughts, Emely’s beauty and promise of a new life with her money, make John experience an overwhelming sense of guilt and remorse. After debating things with himself, he sets out to try to rescue Emely, hoping to take her up on her offer of monetary compensation – $2 million worth.Barely clinging to life, John unearths Emely and brings her back to his cabin where he cares for her until she recovers. Suddenly having someone to take care of fills John with a sense of purpose, and it’s not long before he starts to have feelings for Emely.Emely, finding herself trapped in basement, obeys John’s every command – even working the stock market to increase the capital she handed over to him for her release. Determined this is her wake up call, she vows to do whatever it takes to survive. But when John confesses his love for her, Emely is put to the ultimate test of what she’ll do to make it out alive.Only The Strongest Survive will make you reflect on what you would do in a similar situation, and its gripping action will have you on the edge of your seat. Though the ending caught me entirely by surprise, and the non-consensual sex subject matter was tough at times to read, the story is compelling and will stay with you long after you read. Rating: 3.5 Kisses Visit my blog for your chance to win your own copy of Only the Strongest Survive by Ian Fox.