The Darwin Affair: A Novel (Paperback)
“Intellectually stimulating and viscerally exciting, The Darwin Affair is breathtaking from start to stop.” —The Wall Street Journal
A Barnes & Noble Discover Pick * A Wall Street Journal Best Mystery Book of the Year * A Reader’s Digest Best Summer Book * A Forbes.com Best Historical Novel of the Summer
Get ready for one of the most inventive and entertaining novels of 2019—an edge-of-your-seat Victorian-era thriller, where the controversial publication On the Origin of Species sets off a string of unspeakable crimes.
London, June 1860: When an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria, and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered moments later—and only a block away—Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that the crimes are connected. Was Victoria really the assassin’s target? Or were both crimes part of an even more sinister plot?
Field’s investigation soon exposes a shocking conspiracy: the publication of Charles Darwin’s controversial On the Origin of Species has set off a string of terrible crimes—murder, arson, kidnapping. Witnesses describe a shadowy figure with lifeless, coal-black eyes. As the investigation takes Field from the dangerous alleyways of London to the hallowed halls of Oxford, the list of possible conspirators grows, and the body count escalates. And as he edges closer to the dastardly madman called the Chorister, he uncovers dark secrets that were meant to remain forever hidden.
About the Author
Tim Mason is a playwright whose work has been produced in New York and throughout the world. Among the awards he has received are a Kennedy Center Award, the Hollywood Drama-Logue Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Rockefeller Foundation grant. In addition to his dramatic plays, he wrote the book for Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, which had two seasons on Broadway and tours nationally every year. He is the author of the young adult novel The Last Synapsid. The Darwin Affair is his first adult novel.
“London in 1860 is the principal setting of Tim Mason’s The Darwin Affair, which evokes the pleasures of such period authors as Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens. [A] memorable page-turner. Intellectually stimulating and viscerally exciting, The Darwin Affair is breathtaking from start to stop.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A perfect addition to your summer reading list. Fast-paced and lively, this page-turner would appeal to fans of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”
“An audacious historical thriller . . . The intelligent plot features prominent figures of the time, including Karl Marx . . . and Charles Darwin, whose heretical theory of evolution has unsettled some very powerful men. Wry prose and vivid period detail help make Mason’s speculations feel plausible.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Readers of historical fiction, murder mysteries, action/adventure and thrillers will be equally entertained and perhaps edified: beneath the excitement lie thought-provoking questions about class and order, the interplay of science and religion and intellectual curiosity. The Darwin Affair has it all: thrills, engrossing characters, taut pacing and historical interest.”
“Mason’s Dickensian London, layered with gritty, horror-tinged period details and the imaginative interweaving of Typhoid Mary and the underworld’s grave-robbing industry, provides a rare time-traveling experience for historical-mystery readers. The novel shares the edgy appeal of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist and Louis Bayard’s Mr. Timothy.”
—Booklist, starred review
“While readers cheer for Inspector Field, a true-life detective and friend of Charles Dickens, they will inadvertently learn a smattering of history—and enjoy every second of it. Author Tim Mason makes it fun. He writes with authenticity and knows precisely how to keep his audience on the edge of their seats. Oh, and just when you believe he’s about to wrap it up, get comfortable, because he has a whole lot more action in store.”
“With many grisly murders and many shocking surprises along the way, the book rockets toward a last dark twist. Careful research, a driving plot, wry wit, and compelling characters make this a most entertaining read.”
“Set in Victorian era London, Tim Mason’s The Darwin Affair is a fantastic and original historical thriller. In fact, this is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in years.”
“The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason . . . set in Victorian England of the 1860s . . . grabs the reader and tosses him or her into the middle of an assassination attempt of the Royals—Queen Victoria and Prince Albert . . . [T]he plot unfolds in an exciting dash to save Prince Albert, and bring Decimus Cobb . . . easily the most frightening antagonist since Hannibal Lecter . . . to justice.”
—New York Journal of Books
“This clever, yeasty detective yarn is like a runaway hansom cab that pauses just long enough to take on passengers ranging from Darwin to Dickens before hurtling onward. It's a grand ride, a serious education and a delightful addiction.”
—Louis Bayard, author of Courting Mr. Lincoln
“An engaging historic mystery.”
“It’s London 1860, and an assassination attempt has been made on Queen Vict