I felt as though Charles Darwin was a personal acquaintance of mine by the time I finished this book. It is a very readable and colorfully written study of the great evolutionist Charles Darwin. It focuses on the period just after Darwin’s work aboard the Beagle, and sheds light on his work habits, personal life, and development as a thinker. The author brings to life both the man and his ideas.
Readers who make it all the way to the end of the book will be treated with a heart warming story about correspondence between Charles Darwin and an amateur bug collector from the English countryside. About 100 years later the grandson of the bug collector, Francis Crick, was co-discoverer of DNA's structure. The correspondence took place near the end of Darwin's life, so it was in a sense his symbolic connecting to the future of biological science. A writer of fiction couldn't contrive a more poetic connection between generations of scientists.