Mr. Darwin’s Shooter

Roger McDonald. Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 1998

A gripping and rather beautiful novel that tells the tale of the young man who shot and collected specimens for Darwin on the voyage of the Beagle. Beset in later life by guilt over participating in a work that shakes his religious worldview to its foundations, he cannot help thumbing through the first copy of The Origin of Species for mention of his contri-bution. McDonald is one of Australia’s most acclaimed novelists, and reading this book you can see why. He not only writes well, he writes about important things. The conflict between religion and the comfort of a known and predictable world on the one hand, and science and the range of human inquiry on the other, form the core of this elegant rich novel, an old fashioned concern with morality and belief that gives weight to your thinking about the story, long after your reading of the story is done.

Dr. George Johnson