Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Darwin's Diaries Vol1-The Eye of the Celts review

Well, I think we can safely say with no fear of contradiction that this book was almost totally the opposite of what I was expecting it to be.
It’s about Darwin, I figured, so Cinebook will give us an entertaining and informative biography of the great man. Maybe show us him travelling the world and looking at finches and tortoises and the like.
Boy was I ever wrong!
This is (I assume!) an alternate history of Darwin.
We join him a short time after the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species…’ just as he is met by a mysterious chap who asks for his scientific help on something extraordinary.
It seems that a strange creature is killing of the men who are building the railroad lines in XX, and would Darwin, with all his expertise on evolution, investigate?
This book is an eye opener on almost every level.
First off is the story, which is visceral and violent and full of intrigue.
I was thinking while reading that this was not going to be a monster tale, and that Darwin was going to figure out some kind of ‘real life’ explanation of what is happening, but this doesn't come. In fact no explanation does, as the book ends on an infuriating (in a good way) cliff-hanger.

Another eye popping plot element is the behaviour of Darwin himself. If you have read this book, then you’ll know what I mean here, if not, well… hold onto you hat! This is not the old man with the big white beard we always see him depicted as.
I have mentioned the story already, and it is great stuff. The plot and script, by Sylvian Runberg unfolds nicely as mystery is laid on mystery, leaving the reader gagging for more.
Eduardo Ocana on art duties is also at the top of his game, providing as he does magnificently atmospheric colours and manages to pull of a remarkable trick of depicting some very violent scenes without the reader seeing what is causing them.

All in all, this is straight out of left field and all the better for it. I can’t wait for volume two!

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