"In Darwin and the Barnacle...ideas light up like matches on each page."—John Leonard, Harper's A scientific detective story that illuminates the remarkable saga of Darwin's greatest achievement. Pairing Charles Darwin and a rare species of barnacle as her unlikely protagonists, Rebecca Stott has written an absorbing work of history that guides readers through the treacherous shoals of nineteenth-century biology. Beginning her scientific detective story in the 1820s, even before Darwin's Beagle voyage, Stott examines the mystery of why Darwin waited over two decades between formulating his pivotal theory of natural selection and publishing it. Lavishly illustrated, filled with riddles and concepts that challenge our notion of Victorian science, Darwin and the Barnacle is a thrilling account of how genius proceeds through indirection—and how one small item of curiosity contributed to history's most spectacular scientific breakthrough.