Review of THE AMAZING DR. DARWIN by Charles Sheffield
THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLES DARWIN'S GRANDFATHER
BAEN, June 2002
At the dawning of the enlightenment, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin, stands as a voice of reason. England is beset with rumor of the supernatural--vampires, werewolves, and demons. Darwin approaches everything with an open-minded skepticism. Together with his treasure-anxious sidekick, Colonel Jacob Pole, Darwin delves deep into the mysteries that confront 18th century England finding, among other things, the Loch Ness Monster, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and a forgotten race of humans.
Author Charles Sheffield (see all BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by this author) has created a charming set of stories of a past not too different from our own. Darwin contains the best of Sherlock Holmes as well as the gluttony of Nero Wolfe. I suspect that Sheffield meant his novel to be a reminder to us, in the 21st Century, to always remember to look to rational and scientific causes before we ascribe whatever we see to the supernatural or unexplainable. It is easy to see why Sheffield, a scientist, would choose Erasmus Darwin as his hero.
THE AMAZING DR. DARWIN is both powerful and amusing. Darwin is fallible enough to be sympathetic, and Pole is sympathetic without being completely brainless.
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