Darwin’s Dragons

(2 customer reviews)


Syms Covington shouldn’t survive the wave that washes him overboard, leaving him stranded on Narborough Island. This inhospitable piece of land is laden with challenges, not least the rumbling volcano that threatens to erupt.

Syms had been observing and collecting with Mr Darwin about the Galapagos Island. Now he’s stranded, without any chance, it seems, of rescue. How might he survive? It seems there’s a small, green lizard, keen to help Syms, but what do his warnings and enquiries mean? Furthermore, how might Syms avoid the huge dragon creature that flies overhead? Thereafter, what are the eggs to which the lizard leads him? What does it all mean?

Lindsay Galvin contemplates what might have happened during a period of absence in Darwin’s journals. Syms Covington was a real- life assistant, fiddler and cabin boy, to whom Darwin retained a lifetime correspondence. What wonders might the pair have seen? Then again, if they were separated?

Furthermore, what of creatures that might remain unknown? Then our responsibility to the planet? To individual species that were once considered ‘collectibles’ but are now contemplated differently?

Lindsay Galvin realises her story exceptionally well. We are captivated by Syms’ story, from his early days with Pa, to his survival and growing appreciation of the world about him. Darwin’s Dragons is a wonderful novel that we recommend highly to middle grade readers.

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Darwin’s Dragons

Lindsay Galvin

(Chicken House)

Syms Covington has risen from fiddler and cabin boy to assisting Charles Darwin on his exploratory observations. It seems that he understands what the scientist seeks and relishes the discoveries made from the Beagle. Yet as a weather change prompts a fast retreat from the Galapagos, Darwin and his party are separated, with Syms overboard. Thereafter he’s washed up on volcanic Narborough Island.
This is an inhospitable environment. Syms has little to support him other than his beloved Pa’s fiddle, Scratch. Furthermore, it seems as though the rumbling volcano warns of further eruption. Surely the green creature that persists in accompanying him cannot have his best interests at heart?
Farthing, the small lizard that stays the course with Syms, becomes his companion. What might a reunion with crew and then, Charles Darwin, mean for Syms and Farthing? Furthermore, what is the future for Farthing, and then Darwin’s Dragons?
Darwin’s Dragons is an absorbing scientific historical novel that offers contemplations of nature and discovery. Furthermore it makes us contemplate our interaction with the planet and the possibilities of what might lie undiscovered. Bookwagon recommends this superb, thoroughly realised story, highly.

2 reviews for Darwin’s Dragons

  1. Barbara Valentini

    What a great story this is! It combines historical events and characters, adventure in exotic islands and plot twists which will keep you with bated breath till the very last page! It is new and yet feels like an old-fashioned classic, a la Jules Verne! Lindsay Galvin shows such skill in mixing real history and fantasy through setting scenes filled with references to everyday objects and events of the time. This book would fit in well with any school science / history theme about evolution and the great ‘thinking revolutions’ of the 1800’s. Or it can simply be utterly enjoyed as great storytelling!

    • Bronnie

      Thank you so much for feeding back your reading experience of such a great story. I agree it does feel like an old fashioned classic! Thank you!

  2. Paula Hale

    This is a wonderful mix of fact and fiction, perfect for those who want to bridge the gap between the two. I can think of many pupils who will enjoy this, particularly for the science. As for me, I was hooked from the start and found the story engaging and exciting, one of those ‘need to finish and see what happens but do not want it to end’. I will be finding many opportunities to use this in school topics or simply just for pleasure.

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