London circa 1860. An attempt on Queen Victoria’s life. A plot against evolutionist Charles Darwin. A madman on the loose. And a police detective made famous by Charles Dickens.
When Inspector Charles Field (based on the real London policeman immortalized by Dickens as Inspector Bucket in Bleak House) sets out to find who was behind the failed attempt on Queen Victoria’s life, he comes to believe the plot may have originated with some ranking members of the Church of England, the scientific establishment, and highly placed representatives of the Empire. Many were alarmed because the Queen had chosen to offer a knighthood to Charles Darwin, author of the newly published—and very controversial—On the Origin of Species, widely viewed as antichurch, anti-Empire, and an act of heresy. That Darwin was indeed on a list of men to be knighted by Queen Victoria is a recorded fact. History also shows that it was an honor he would never receive.
In this fast-paced Victorian thriller, debut novelist Tim Mason unfurls a gripping, richly atmospheric tale. Beginning with a murder of a small-time underworld figure in London—followed by the kidnapping of a butcher’s boy, the death of a divinity student from Oxford, the discovery of a ring of body snatchers, and a royal visit to Bavaria that turns deadly—and ending with a spectacular London fire, Inspector Field suffers wounds to his body and blows to his ego. Nothing, however, stops his pursuit of a psychotic surgeon known as the Chorister. The Chorister, for very personal reasons, is intent not only on killing Darwin but also on making sure his theories of evolution die with him. Rich in period color and detail, and with many twists and turns to its plot, The DarwinAffair combines historical fact with vividly realized fiction to create an immersive reading experience that will captivate fans of such writers as Matthew Pearl and Alan Furst.