Set in the 1860s when the slave trade was still active and Darwin was working on his theory of evolution, this is the story of Victorian scientists obsession with racial differences. They go to inhuman lengths in their race to find the secret of human variation. It is a fascinating insight into nineteenth century life and a cautionary tale of science uncontrolled.
'We agreed' - Bates uttered each word carefully - 'to conduct our experiment for twelve years. To keep the children alive. Observe and measure them from infancy to puberty.'
'Twelve years!' Belavoix let out a snort. 'That long? Do you really expect the children to live that long?' Shaking his head of curls, he slumped back on to his hammock, glancing over at Quartley, who was dozing on an empty instrument box. 'Are we ready for seven more years of this?'
'Polygenist!' Samual Bates muttered under his breath. The continental plague threatening all of racial science. The scientist of doom. His rival.
'Twelve years! Will we live that long? I hope you've built a graveyard too in Arlinda, Mr Bates!'