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This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson
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This Thing of Darkness (2005)

by Harry Thompson

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A very lively adventure novel with a lot of interesting information on the circumstances and people surrounding the voyage of the Beagle. A very sad and cynical tale in the end, with all of Fitzroy's good work and intentions gone to waste and the indigenous peoples being killed by war and disease. After reading this voluminous novel you want to know more! ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
Though this book is described as fiction it is closely based on the life of Robert Fitzroy. Although he most famously captained The Beagle when Darwin was a passenger and formulating his theory of evolution, he also managed to pack in inventing weather forecasting, being governor of New Zealand, and a bit of politics. So a very interesting life, but ultimately a tragic one where he didn't really get the recognition he deserved in any of these areas. I wonder if this book is a little one sided in its narrative in places. Either way it's a great read, massively interesting and informative on Fitzroy's life and that time in general.

I also found it quite exciting to read the bits towards the end based in Crystal Palace/Upper Norwood since i live there. I must make a pilgrimage to his grave sometime. ( )
  AlisonSakai | May 16, 2016 |
Also published in the U.K. under the title [b:This Thing Of Darkness|142050|This Thing Of Darkness|Harry Thompson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172133726s/142050.jpg|137007], Note the three volumes are available for the Kindle as one book. (Thank you somebody.)
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
It is almost 900 pages to this book and not a page is wasted reading. An amazing work by Harry Thompson and a very accurate in historical record but presented in a very readable novel fashion of the life and times of Captain Robert Fitzroy and his sometime companion/sometime antagonist Charles Darwin. To my mind it is a must read for understanding the work of missionary serve in unexplored territory, of native aboriginal issues and discrimination against these "savages. Beyond this it is an insight into how religion dominated the era. It is pretty hard on religion in this regard. Charles Darwin had huge issues to overcome with his pursuit of "the Origins of Man" and evolution....Fitzroy struggled with his love of natives and their trust and balancing that with his religious beliefs...in addition to his pursuit of the science of meteorology and the prediction of weather through the gathering of data such as temperature, wind speed, direction and barometric pressure...things obvious to us now but back then it was thought to be voodoo science costing money in too many ways.

Sometimes you hate your white heritage....an amazing novel and regretfully the only one by Harry Thompson who has passed away since the writing. I would give this novel 6+ stars if it were possible...it is really worth the read for anyone interesting in the world in the 1800's. ( )
  Lynxear | Aug 13, 2013 |
I really enjoyed this book much to my surprise!
About Captain Robert Fitzroy, (a man plagued by what would be called today Bipolor disorder )commisioned by the government to navigate and map South America and Tierra del Fuego, He takes along a young naturalist one Charles Darwin. They are on completely opposite sides of an argument. Fitzroy being a commited christian believing that every human and creature on earth has been created by the grace of God, an argument still under discussion by some today. full of rich descriptions of places and creatures. Fitzroy and Darwin became bitter enemies and Fitzroy was much maligned. He was however an exceptional man spending the later part of his life introducing a system of weather warnings and forcasts. But largely forgotten, while Darwin as we know has gone down in history. This is really a facsinating story and certainly worth reading. I thought it wouldbe dull andboring but proved to be anything but!! ( )
  Glorybe1 | Nov 7, 2011 |
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Epigraph
'This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine'
The Tempest,
Act V, Scene 1
Dedication
TO MY FATHER

without whose help this

book could never have been written
First words
Port Famine, Patagonia, 1 August 1828

An icy wind shouldered its way into the Straits of Magellan from the west, pummelling the cliff walls and scouring the rocks as it passed.
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This novel (Thompson's only work of fiction) was published in the UK as 'This Thing of Darkness' and in the US as 'To the Edge of the World'.
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This is an epic novel of sea-faring adventure set in the 19th century, charting the life of Robert Fitzroy, the captain of 'The Beagle' and his passenger Charles Darwin. It combines adventure, emotion, ideas, humour and tragedy as well as illuminating the history of the 19th century.… (more)

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