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.