Topsell’s Historie of Foure-footed Beasts was among the most popular books of the seventeenth century and much used by Shakespeare. A Natural History of Selborne has been in print since 1788. On the Origin of Species was sold out on publication day. Tarka the Otter, Watership Down, endless television programmes – the evidence is solid: nature sells.
So when we learn that Redbourne, the narrator of this book, is to make a naturalising expedition to Australia (date not found: circa 1890), our hopes are high. And can we be blamed if the magical memory of Voss drifts towards us?