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To the Edge of the World Book 2 : Book 2
In this seafaring trilogy, the author explores the lives of Captain Robert FitzRoy and Charles Darwin, their friendship, and the historical voyage to the Galapagos Islands that ultimately drove them apart.
Published last year in the U.K. under the title This Thing of Darkness and shortlisted for the Man Booker, this is the first novel from Thompson, a British producer (Da Ali G Show) and travel journalist, who died of cancer last year at 46. Flag Lt. Robert FitzRoy, a Scots nobleman and prodigy, took command of the H.M.S. Beagle at 23; three years later, in the fall of 1831, he took on Charles Darwin, then 22 and a naturalist (and also a patrician), as geologist for the ship's Royal survey of lower South America, the Galapagos and Falklands. By then, Darwin, studying for the clergy, has already altered his life studies three times; FitzRoy is an unbending Christian. The voyage lasts five years, and their friendship develops alongside Darwin's radical theory, with FitzRoy providing an able foil for the younger man's philosophical flights. All is well when Darwin publishes The Voyage of the Beagle in 1839 to acclaim, but when, after nearly 30 years and innumerable conversations, Darwin publishes the godless The Origin of Species to great fanfare, the friendship ends, leaving FitzRoy in ignominy and despair. Thompson spends more than half the book on the voyage and tracks the two men's paths with aplomb. (July 19) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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M P Publishing
May 23, 2007
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