Stephen Baxter, author of the satisfyingly ambition The Time Ships, demonstrates his mastery of science fiction in this novel about the path of primate evolution across the eons. Beginning with a small, timid rodent-like primate in the late Cretaceous, we are guided beyond the great catastrophe that ended the dominance of the reptiles into the stream of mammalian development that will culminate in the emergence of our own species. Baxter takes us into the worlds of the pithecines, the Neanderthal, early Homo sapiens, and provides lavish descriptions of the environmental factors which result in growing intelligence and consciousness of life on Earth. It is in this rich background that Baxter reveals his firm grasp of the sciences and he fairly revels in speculation that is entirely plausible. Not content with leaving the reader hanging in the early 21st century, Mr. Baxter proceeds to "run the clock forward" and takes the story of the human family far into the future, offering a window into some of the possible scenarios of life's journey across the changing Earth. All in all, Evolution is an intriguing, absorbing, and compelling look at the saga of life, the struggle of the gene, and the many possibilities of our past and future. One comes away with an intensified appreciation of humankind's heritage and the need to protect our species' home and hard-earned gains.