Which is the greater mystery- the breeding habits of the platypus or the workings of the human heart?In 1883 young British naturalist William Caldwell arrives in Australia with a mission- to determine for the scientific record whether the platypus really does lay eggs. But first he must travel overland to the Burnett River in Queensland, where he intends to set up camp.On his journey he is by turns hindered and assisted by a cast of characters, including a drunken bullocky and an inscrutable, poetical bushman. Once there, William commences his investigations and encounters the local Aboriginal people, enlisting their help and ultimately learning their tragic history. He also meets a young blind woman with many closely held secrets of her own.Love and the Platypusis a delightful, captivating novel that examines the obsessive nature of scientific enquiry and its environmental consequences, and the wonders of nature and of romantic love.
Nicholas Drayson was born in England and has lived in Australia since 1982, where he studied zoology and a PhD in 19th century Australian natural history writing. He has worked as a journalist in the UK, Kenya and Australia, writing for publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Australian Geographic. From 1998 to 2001 he wrote for the National Museum of Australia. His first novel, Confessing a Murder, was published in 2002, his latest is A Guide to the Birds of East Africa (Penguin, 2008). He was recently the winner of the inaugural WILDCARE Tasmania Nature Writing Prize.