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Goldsboro Books


The Spice Islands Voyage: In Search of Wallace

The Spice Islands Voyage: In Search of Wallace

by Tim Severin

Publisher Little Brown and Company


  • Signed by the Author
  • UK First Edition
  • First Printing
  • Hardcover

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About the book

In 1858, Alfred Wallace, while laid up with malaria in the middle of his long Moluccan sojourn, wrote a brief essay which made its way to Charles Darwin, who had been searching for the solution to a problem for two decades.

When Darwin finally published ''On the Origin of Species'' a couple of years later, he gave credit to Wallace, who nonetheless faded, unprotesting, into relative obscurity.

Wallace had already been on one major expedition before his Indonesian journey, a voyage to Brazil, which ended badly when most of the bird and insect samples he was carrying were lost in a fire on the ship taking him back to England. But his eight years in the Spice Islands, one of the world's major hotbeds of bio-diversity, rank among the major expeditions of scientific discovery.

Tim Severin decided to retrace his voyage. He and his crew spent several months in the Spice Islands, stopping at Wallace's ports of call from the Aru Islands in the east to Sulawesi in the west, taking pictures, recording sightings of butterflies and birds, checking out the environmental record and interviewing local officials.

''The Spice Islands Voyage'' is a travelogue-biography, a balanced combination of historical re-enactment and contemporary adventure, which tells the story of that ground-breaking voyage.
But as Severin follows Wallaces journey, he starts to find a darker truth: that species are not being protected but extorted.

How involved was Wallace and how can he end the abuse?

Severins hero of Alfred Wallace is beginning to look less heroic and more suspicious

In The Spice Islands Voyage, world renowned explorer Tim Severin goes in search of the real story behind Alfred Wallaces expeditions.

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About the Author

Tim Severin

Tim Severin (1940 – 2020) was born in 1940 and educated at Tonbridge School and Oxford University. He sailed a leather boat across the Atlantic in the wake of Saint Brendan, captained an Arab sailing ship from Muscat to China, steered the replica of a Bronze Age galley to seek the landfalls of Jason and Ulysses, investigated the route of the First Crusade, travelled on  horseback with the nomads of Mongolia to explore the heritage of Genghis Khan, sailed the Pacific on a bamboo raft to test the theory that ancient Chinese mariners could have travelled to the Americas, and retraced the journeys of Alfred Russel Wallace, Victorian pioneer naturalist, through the Spice Islands of Indonesia. He wrote about all these adventures in award winning books.

Tim Severin held the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and received accolades for his writing including the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. When not travelling he lived in Co. Cork, Ireland.

  • Professionally Packed

    All of our books that have a dust wrapper are covered in clear protective, removable film and are packed professionally in bubble wrap and a box for shipping so that they reach you in perfect condition.

  • Book Condition & Notes

    Fine first edition with very slight bruising to the top of the spine. In a fine, unclipped dust jacket with faint bumping along the top edge.

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