When the great parasitologist Dame Miriam Rothschild was asked when she began to believe in the Creation, she replied ‘when I discovered that the flea had a penis’. If the narrator of Edward Docx’s third novel, a myrmecologist (ant-fancier) called John Forle, is not quite moved to embrace faith by his researches, he does come to question the validity of some of Darwin’s evolutionary theories.
Forle hopes that his work at a remote research station on the banks of the Amazon will prove that a society thrives when its members act selflessly. Ants seem to be ‘eusocial’: they work, and often apparently choose to die, for the good of their community. Darwin himself