Cover image for Galapagos regained
Title:
Galapagos regained
Author:
Morrow, James, 1947-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2015.

©2014
Physical Description:
477 pages : map ; 25 cm
Summary:
"Galapagos Regained centers on the fictional Chloe Bathurst, an unemployed Victorian actress who finds work on Charles Darwin's estate, nurturing the strange birds, exotic lizards, and giant tortoises he brought back from his trip around the world. When Chloe gets wind of the Great God Contest, sponsored by the Percy Bysshe Shelley Society--£10,000 to the first petitioner who can prove or disprove the existence of a Supreme Being--she decides that Mr. Darwin's materialist theory of speciation might just turn the trick. (If Nature gave God nothing to do, maybe He was never around in the first place.) Before she knows it, her ambitions send her off on a wild adventure--a voyage by brigantine to Brazil, a steamboat trip up the Amazon, a hot-air balloon flight across the Andes--bound for the Galapagos archipelago, where she intends to collect the live specimens through which she might demonstrate evolutionary theory to the contest judges"--
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781250054012
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

James Morrow's Galápagos Regained centers on the fictional Chloe Bathurst, an unemployed Victorian actress who finds work on Charles Darwin's estate, nurturing the strange birds, exotic lizards, and giant tortoises he brought back from his trip around the world. When Chloe gets wind of the Great God Contest, sponsored by the Percy Bysshe Shelley Society--£10,000 to the first petitioner who can prove or disprove the existence of a Supreme Being--she decides that Mr. Darwin's materialist theory of speciation might just turn the trick. (If Nature gave God nothing to do, maybe He was never around in the first place.) Before she knows it, her ambitions send her off on a wild adventure--a voyage by brigantine to Brazil, a steamboat trip up the Amazon, a hot-air balloon flight across the Andes--bound for the Galápagos archipelago, where she intends to collect the live specimens through which she might demonstrate evolutionary theory to the contest judges.


Author Notes

JAMES MORROW is the award-winning author of over ten novels, as well as novellas and short-story collections. His critically acclaimed works include Blameless in Abaddon , New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and The Last Witchfinder called "provocative book-club bait" and "an inventive feat" by critic Janet Maslin. He has twice received the World Fantasy Award, for Only Begotten Daughter and Towing Jehovah , and has also won the Nebula Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania, with his wife and their two enigmatic dogs.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Morrow's newest cheerfully provocative epic stars the intrepid Chloe Bathurst, who takes a job as Charles Darwin's assistant zookeeper after getting fired from the Victorian theater. To raise cash to free her indebted father from the workhouse, she decides to enter the Shelley Society's lucrative contest, which aims to settle the pesky God question for good. When her employer declines to use his unpublished evolutionary theory to grab the winnings for himself, Chloe secretly copies his treatise, secures funding and a ship, and heads for the Galápagos isles to gather evidence for his Tree of Life. As she and her eccentric fellow travelers descend into the Amazon jungle while traversing South America, they encounter many obstacles. The lofty narrative tone lends period authenticity, and there are some great comic moments as the characters undergo crises of faith. Fans of quest adventures may find the pacing exasperatingly sluggish, as the plot often gets buried under numerous details and digressions. For those fascinated by the meeting point between theology and science, though, it should be a rewarding expedition.--Johnson, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Morrow is best known for his quirky speculative fiction with plots that skewer religion and involve extraterrestrials and boorish people behaving badly. This latest (after The Madonna and the Starship) is a comic blend of Victorian science colliding with Christian faith as greedy folks enter the Percy Shelley Society's "Great God Contest" to win a hefty cash prize if they can either prove or disprove the existence of God. Unemployed London actress Chloe Bathurst is the zookeeper for scientist Charles Darwin in 1848, fascinated by his yet unpublished theory of natural selection. Desperate to get her destitute father out of debtor's prison, she steals Darwin's famous essay and enters the contest, intending to pass Darwin's theory off as her own, to prove there is no God and claim the prize. Funded by the society, Chloe and her dissolute brother, Algernon, lead an expedition to the Galapagos Islands, racing against a rival expedition hoping to find Noah's Ark in Turkey. The society's pompous judges intend to prevent Chloe's success, secretly sending a ship with orders to destroy any evidence of natural selection on the Galapagos. Although too long, the complex tale is a round-the-world romp of improbable but delightful fun and harrowing adventures, a cross between Phileas Fogg and Lara Croft. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. In previous novels, Morrow (The Philosopher's Apprentice) has proven a master at combining rollicking adventure and sly, bawdy humor with attention to ideas and a skewed look at history. Now it's the Victorian age, and during a hazardous journey to the New World, the intrepid heroine, unemployed actress Chloe Bathurst, travels up the Amazon by boat, across the Andes, and off to the GalApagos Islands by hot-air balloon, seeking to win the prize (L 10,000) in the Great God Contest by proving God dead-or at least superfluous. In the process, she saves from extinction the tortoises, iguanas, and finches Darwin lovingly described in The Voyage of the Beagle. This book is prolific in everything: characters, landscapes, flora and fauna, and subplots-so many subplots. In one, a vicar's son meets Gregor Mendel, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Rosalind Franklin, and Arthur Schopenhauer in a time-free zone in Constantinople, where they discuss God, evolution, and the liberating virtues of opium. Then there are the names: Cuzco death eggs (Chloe routs her enemies with them in the Great Rubber War), and Orrin Eggwort, emperor of Duntopia, who lives in Mephistropolis. There's a plotline in this hilarious story, but it's a picaresque novel. Who's to complain if the author digresses a little-well, a lot! VERDICT It's almost a crime for a novel to be as much fun as this one is.-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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