I have just signed the publishing contract for the next book, 'The Wallace Line - Where Australia Collides With Asia'.
In June 1856 the English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace crossed the narrow strait between the islands of Bali and Lombok in Indonesia. During the few days he had stayed on the north coast of Bali he saw birds characteristic of Asian ornithology and would expect to see the same birds when he crossed the narrow Lombok Strait. After a turbulent crossing and being dumped on the shores of Lombok he never saw the same birds again.
The Lombok Strait represents part of the biogeographical boundary between the fauna of Asia and those of Australasia. On the Asian side are elephants, tigers, primates and specific birds. On the Australasian side are marsupials such as the possum-like cuscus and the tree kangaroos, as well as birds specific to Australia such as white cockatoos, brush turkeys and the spectacular Birds of Paradise.
It was tectonic plate movement that brought these disparate worlds together and created the biogeographic region subsequently named Wallacea. It is this unique part of the natural world that led me to write about the connections between the epic voyages of Natural History taken by Continent Australia, Joseph Banks, Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace and the origins of The Origin of Species.