THE DARWIN CONSPIRACY
It's 1831, and aboard HMS Beagle the young Charles Darwin sets off down the English Channel for South America. The ship carries three "savages" being returned to their native land, a brilliant but suicidal captain, and a scientific competitor. What actually occurred during the voyage? What led Darwin to the theory of evolution? Why did he wait 22 years to publish it? Why was he struck down by mysterious illnesses and frightened of travel? The answers surface more than 150 years later, as two ambitious scholars pursue their obsession with Darwin and come across the diary and letters of his youngest daughter, Lizzie. They reveal a maze of violent rivalries, petty deceptions and a jealously guarded secret that goes to the heart of the world-shaking On the Origin of Species.
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2005)
Translated into 14 languages
"An elaborate scientific thriller, rich with detail and the pacing of a good murder mystery."
"John Darnton makes mysterious and riveting a story we thought we all knew. He moves with great agility from Darwin's England to the present day, from style to style and riddle to enigma. The old and the new seem equally surprising here; each page fairly begs to be turned."
"Take historical knowledge and literary imagination, add a good measure of talent to it, and you will understand why John Darnton's new novel will appeal to many, many readers who will read it with delight."
"Blends history and imaginative drama to thought-provoking effect … Darnton expertly builds suspense (and) once again displays thrilling fast pace and intrigue, meticulous research, and strong character development."
"Darnton has playfully created and solved several mysteries revolving around events during Charles Darwin's early voyage on the Beagle."
--The Boston Globe