Only the Strongest Survive

Rated 3.29/5 based on 7 reviews
The novel opens with a hair-tingling scene, as two men kidnap Emely Donnovan, one of the wealthiest women in America.She finds herself locked in the basement of a remote house in the middle of a forest, watched over by one of her captors who makes her buy and sell stocks for him so he can get rich. Her challenge to survive becomes even more complicated when Emely’s captor falls in love with her. More
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About Ian Fox

Ian Fox was born in Slovenia (EU), and has also lived in the U.S.A., France, and Germany. He is fluent in English, French, and German. Because of his extensive international experience, his books are set in the U.S.A. or Europe. Ian’s books have enjoyed great success in Europe. He has published three crime (mystery) novels that have sold very well and been ranked among the top 100 most borrowed library books in Slovenia. He is currently working on two new novels. Enthusiastic readers write to him, saying they can’t put his books down and read them in a few days. Individual libraries have ranked his works among the top ten, sometimes even the top five most-borrowed books.

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Linda reviewed on on Aug. 21, 2012

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes

Emely Donnovan is a successful business women with many enemies. Her cut throat business tactics have made her a target for revenge. The Langdon brothers, who lost their business due to their own carelessness as well as Emely’s machinations have decided to make her pay. This is the story of her journey through torture and redemption.

Ian Fox has written several books in the suspense category. Only the Strongest Survive is not only suspense but it is also a love story. It is told in a third person narrative, primarily from the point of view of the main protagonist, Emely Donnovan, but at times it moves over to the point of view of the main antagonist, John Langdon.

This is an interesting tale which is intriguing from the first page. The story follows several unique avenues and I was never quite sure where the story was going or how it was going to end. There is plenty of action throughout the book as well as several hot sex scenes. I liked the characters and I felt there was a good character arc for both Emely and John.

This is a standalone story which builds quite nicely up to an exciting and satisfying ending. I recommend this book as a good read.

For more of my reviews go to
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
Jen Croup reviewed on on Aug. 16, 2012

I really enjoyed this book. It took me a little bit to get into since I didn't like any of the characters, but in the end I'm really glad I finished it. A lot of people will say that they couldn't understand Emely, but I have to say I could understand where she is coming from. I really could see how she falls for John after everything is said and done.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
Romance Girl reviewed on on June 12, 2012

Emily Donnovan is one of the richest women in America. She buys and sells stocks and takes over financially ailing companies. One such company was owned by Ronald and John's father. To get back at her, they decide to exact revenge by kidnapping her and leaving her to die. John has second thoughts and ends up saving her and taking her to the old family home in the forest where he keeps her locked in the basement. His plan is to use money that Emily offers him to make her buy and sell stocks to make him rich. All is going according to John's plan until he falls in love with Emily.
This story does have some great potential; but the way it is written is just way too far fetched and completely unbelievable. The story line moves quickly back and forth from Emily's friends telling their story and the story unfolding with the kidnappers. I know it is seemingly possible for a kidnapper to fall in love with his victim, but in this story it happens quickly. He even goes to such extremes as buying her clothes and any personal care items she asks for along the way. He loves to cook and even fixes Emily gourmet meals. John's brother eventually figures out his brother's deception and all manner of things happen. It culminates into a completely surprise ending.
The story is full of suspense and is a bit of a thriller, but it just didn't do it for me because it and the characters were just so over the top. I think there is a good story here, but it needs to be more realistic.
I was provided a copy from the author for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in any way except to receive the book to review.

I actually give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
Melanie Vautour reviewed on on May 23, 2012

A few years ago, brothers Ronald and John lost millions and their family's company to Emely Donnovan, a very powerful business woman. Now the siblings seek revenge. Together they kidnap and bury Emely alive. John who's always been looked down upon and made fun of by his brother decides to go back and rescue her. She's now held captive in his basement. Wanting to get back the millions he lost, John makes Emely buy and sell stocks. Ronald suspects nothing. He still believes Emely is dead inside that coffin buried somewhere deep in the woods. Her plans to escape get a little more complicated over time. While John falls in love with her, Emely will need to figure out her feelings for him.

Only the Strongest Survive took me through an emotional rollercoaster ride. One minute I desperately wanted Emely to run for it every time she had the chance and the next I wanted her to stay with John. In the beginning I absolutely hated John for kidnapping Emely but throughout the book my thoughts changed. I felt bad for John who always seemed to be taking orders from his brother who doesn't think he's capable of handling things on his own. The siblings have very different personalities. I knew for sure I didn't like Ronald but I just didn't know what to think of John. I hated the way he treated Emely but I loved how he grew as a person and became more confident. Emely certainly changed also throughout her captivity. Both were able to learn from each other and grow as persons. The author did an amazing job to make us feel empathy for a kidnapper!

I have to say Only the Strongest Survive exceeded my expectations. The suspense is breathtaking. Ian Fox wrote an incredible kidnapping story with a whole new twist. There's enough action to make you want to rush to the end to see what would happen next. We get to learn a bit about the stock market which I found very interesting. The story also alternates between Emely's past told by her coworkers and the present. With amazing characters and an action-packed plot Only the Strongest Survive is a book I couldn't put down and one that I highly recommend.

Warning : There's a few rape scenes!
(reviewed 79 days after purchase)
julie barrett reviewed on on March 13, 2012

Only The Strongest Survive by Ian

This book starts out with a kidnapping of the CEO of a huge company that is worth billions in the stock market.
Although I don't normally read thriller books this one held my interest because of the many aspects of it.
The book concentrates on those who now run the company and the decisions they make with Emeily gone-they are still not sure if it was a kidnapping or she just needed a week away from things.
Love the story line and learning about the stock market.
Her life is spared, brought back to life and must now live where she has no outside contact with others but has transferred 2 million dollars to John. She had taken over his familys company several years ago and now John wants what the company was really worth-10 million.
One brother, Ronald has no idea she is alive again, last he left her was in the ground in a coffin, buried.

I am caught up in the moment of reading this and I can't seem to read fast enough to find the answers I want.
John leaves many nights and from her basement room she can hear the alarm that sounds when one comes and goes into the complex.
The story goes back in time as to how she got the position she held at the company and then to the present: She does get to spend some time with John as she advises him what to buy and sell and they get to talk about the past. She gets to know him.
Love the explanations of how to buy and sell and why.
Journalism during war or earthquakes was a new one for me.
I am totally petrified for her and then he announces he will set her free.
There is some sex and at times it appears to be rather brutal and at other times it's just a passion for sex.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Kathleen Yoshida reviewed on on March 6, 2012

(This novel was provided to my by the author for review.)

The novel opens with a hair-tingling scene, as two men kidnap Emely Donnovan, one of the wealthiest women in America, and bury her alive. What is behind this horrific crime?

Raised in a strict religious institution, Emely never knew her parents. Fearing a life of poverty, she starts up a small business that deals mainly with buying and selling stocks. Thanks to her extreme dedication and knowledge, the company grows over time into a major conglomerate. In her desire for ever greater financial security, this beautiful, ambitious CEO has accumulated a number of enemies.

But now she finds herself locked in the basement of a remote house in the middle of a forest, watched over by one of her captors who makes her buy and sell stocks for him so he can get rich. Her challenge to survive becomes even more complicated when Emely’s captor falls in love with her …
My Review:

As the title suggests the heroine of the novel, Emely Donnovan, must be strong to survive the ordeal she is to go through. A tough-as-nails business woman who is used to getting her way in all things in regards to her business and personal life, she is about to undergo a horrific experience being kidnapped not for money, which she has plenty of, but for revenge involving being buried and left to die.

Mr. Fox amply delivers on the action in this novel. However, for me personally, the novel falls short because frankly I just didn’t care about the main character Emely Donnovan. Though trying to make the character more sympathetic to his readers by introducing glimpses into her past via conversations between a reporter and her friends/business associates, I found most of these not revealing enough or good enough to justify her behavior.

Further in the novel Mr. Fox begins to incorporate a romance between Emely Donnovan and one of the kidnappers. This smacks of Stockholm Syndrome, an apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. Unfortunately because I did not care for Emely Donnovan nor for her kidnapper, the introduction of a romance aspect to this novel did not work for me.

This might have had a chance with me if it was written as a murder mystery novel where she was killed off and they had to solve the crime. But as it stands just not my cup of tea.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)
Jet reviewed on on Feb. 29, 2012

This was nothing like I have read before and I have to say, I found reading this just a little bit disturbing. The rape scene in book did not appeal to me on any level, I think if it had been more glazed over or just alluded to without going into the act like it did it would have been more suited for me. I just found it an unnecessary part; they didn’t particularly add anything to the intrigue of the story for me. I couldn’t connect with the lead female character Emely, she went from wanting to escape and live, to loving her captor? To loving the man who raped her, tried to kill her and held her hostage and then weeping over his death...I just didn’t understand that. Sometimes I found jumping between Emely’s old past experiences confusing to keep up with but generally it was fairly easy to read.

Unfortunately, I just don’t think this was my kind of book. It was a bit too intense for my liking though I couldn’t help but keep reading to find out how everything turned out. The expression of the emotions of each character was done well and I think the atmosphere of the book was also written to perfection. It unfortunately just wasn’t my type of read, a tad too dark for me
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
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