James Morrow's Galpagos Regained centers on the fictional Chloe Bathurst, an unemployed Victorian actress who finds work on Charles Darwin's estate, nurturing the strange birds, exotic lizards, and giant tortoises he brought back from his trip around the world.
When Chloe gets wind of the Great God Contest, sponsored by the Percy Bysshe Shelley Society - 10,000 pounds to the first petitioner who can prove or disprove the existence of a Supreme Being - she decides that Mr. Darwin's materialist theory of speciation might just do the trick. (If nature gave God nothing to do, maybe he was never around in the first place.)
Before she knows it, her ambitions send her off on a wild adventure - a voyage by brigantine to Brazil, a steamboat trip up the Amazon, a hot-air balloon flight across the Andes - bound for the Galpagos archipelago, where she intends to collect the live specimens through which she might demonstrate evolutionary theory to the contest judges.
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