Norton Publishers
Published by
Norton (2020-02-18)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Historical adventure fiction


by Kingman, Peg

What is your name? Where did you come from? And where are you going? In this immersive novel set in 1840s Britain and France, these questions probe at the essence of what it means to be human.

A wet nurse in a lively Scottish household goes by an assumed name but longs to know the identity of her father. A quarryman furtively extricates a remarkable fossil from an island off the Northumberland coast and promptly smuggles it abroad to Paris. A sensational best-selling book that shatters cherished notions about the universe and everything in it triggers widespread argument and speculation - but its author's name is a well-guarded secret. Another book, roundly ignored, neatly sets forth in an obscure appendix the principle that will become the centerpiece of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species.
All these threads - some historical, others fictional - converge and illuminate one another in unexpected ways in the climactic revelations of this brilliant story.

Peg Kingman is the author of Not Yet Drown'd and Original Sins. Formerly a tea merchant and a technical writer, she lives in northern California.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk


[B]eautifully wrought, panoramic. Kingman ably pulls together the many threads [in this novel] to paint the portrait of a time when humanity perched on the precipice of great change. ... Kingman masterfully combines history with propulsive drama.

Review: Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Brilliantly evocative. Kingman blends an Austen- esque wit and psychological insight with a grasp of early evolutionary theories worthy of A.S. Byatt and Patrick O'Brian.

Quote: Andrea Barrett

[A] richly observed novel of ideas ... [and] an intelligent, deeply felt family saga.

Review: Kirkus

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