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Richard Holmes, one of Britain's best-known biographers, charts the birth of modern science in the late 18th and early 19th centuries through the lives of three pairs of scientists in his latest book. The Age of Wonder has been inspired by the scientific ferment that swept through Britain at the end of the eighteenth century, and which Holmes now radically redefines as 'the  revolution of Romantic Science'.

The book opens with young Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook's first Endeavour voyage, stepping down onto a Tahitian beach in 1769, hoping to discover Paradise. Many other voyages of discovery swiftly follow, while Banks, now President of the Royal Society in London, becomes our narrative guide to what truly emerges as an Age of Wonder.

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