Much, much more than a coffee-table flick-through, Ingrid Thomas's gorgeously-illustrated book is erudite, good fun and, patently, a work of passion. Did you know that shells used to be a worldwide currency? That they were the architectural inspiration for the Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim Museum? That you might have buttoned up your shirt with them? I didn't. For someone whose knowledge of shells extended only to what I could fit in my pockets as a child at the seaside, this delicious book is a revelation.
This is an astounding history and I'm only amazed that it hasn't been written before. Perhaps shells were just too humble to catch a publisher's eye, but haven't we all loved them and wondered at them at some point in our lives? Perhaps we just needed a natural-born storyteller to come along and let us into their secrets. This book is no lightweight, but hold it to your ear and it will take you to another kingdom.