'A bestseller is born...an easy and picturesque yarn made muscular by historical fact and philisophical ideas' -- Observer
'A brilliant historical novel. An impressive book; something big that deserves attension' -- Mail On Sunday
'It's an excellent read, in the traditions of Patrick O'Brian, and fully deserves its position on the Booker list' -- Daily Telegraph
The Spirit of Patrick O'Brian is not far away THIS THING OF DARKNESS IS... a superior adventure story' -- The Independent
This is an epic novel of sea-faring adventure set in the 19th century charting the life of Robert Fitzroy, the captain of `The Beagle` and his passenger Charles Darwin. It combines adventrure, emotion, ideas, humour and tragedy as well as illuminating the history of the 19th century. Fitzroy, the Christian Tory aristocrat, believed in the sanctity of the individual, but his beliefs destroyed his career and he committed suicide. Darwin, the liberal minor cleric doubts the truth of the Bible and develops his theory of evolution which is brutal and unforgiving in human terms. The two friends became bitter enemies as Darwin destroyed everything Fitzroy stood for.