“Intellectually stimulating and viscerally exciting, The Darwin Affair is breathtaking from start to stop.” —The Wall Street Journal
Get ready for one of the most inventive and entertaining novels of 2019—an edge-of-your-seat Victorian-era thriller, where the controversial publication On the Origin of Species sets off a string of unspeakable crimes.
London, June 1860: When an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria, and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered moments later—and only a block away—Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that these crimes are connected to an even more sinister plot. Was Victoria really the assassin’s target? Are those closest to the Crown hiding something? And who is the shadowy figure witnesses describe as having lifeless, coal-black eyes?
Soon, Field’s investigation exposes a shocking conspiracy in which the publication of Charles Darwin’s controversial On the Origin of Species sets off a string of murders, arson, kidnapping, and the pursuit of a madman named the Chorister. As the investigation takes Field from the dangerous alleyways of London to the hallowed halls of Oxford, the list of possible conspirators grows, and the body count escalates. And as he edges closer to the Chorister, he uncovers dark secrets that were meant to remain forever hidden. Tim Mason has created a rousing page-turner that both Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would relish and envy.
Mason, author of the YA novel The Last Synapsid, makes his adult debut with an audacious historical thriller. In 1860, Chief Det. Insp. Charles Field, the inspiration for Inspector Bucket in Dickens's Bleak House, is part of the added security force for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert after several assassination attempts. One day, Field is guarding the route the royal couple's carriage is taking through London when he spots 18-year-old pickpocket Stevie Patchen, who appears to be holding a weapon. Field tackles Patchen, only to realize that the youth was a decoy. The actual gunman, Philip Rendell, a former bookkeeper, is able to fire only a few stray shots at the carriage before he's apprehended. In the ensuing confusion, someone cuts Patchen's throat and removes one ear, leading Field to suspect a conspiracy. The intelligent plot features prominent figures of the time, including Karl Marx, who may have a link to Rendell, and Charles Darwin, whose heretical theory of evolution has unsettled some very powerful men. Wry prose and vivid period detail help make Mason's speculations feel plausible.
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I love history i love fiction! This book is BOTH