Here’s the real kicker. During his travels, Wallace came up with the idea that living things evolve as they adapt to their environment. He did this independently from the famous Charles Darwin. Although Wallace had contemplated the idea for several years, the final clarifying details of it came to him when he was sick with fever on the island of Halmahera in 1858. He wrote a brief paper on it and sent it to Charles Darwin to review. Darwin had come up with the same theory, and this inspired him to act. The two men published a joint paper on it in 1858. They were friends, not rivals. A year later, Darwin wrote and published his book, "On the Origin of Species." This book made him famous, and Wallace faded to relative obscurity.
Samuel Inwood, the main character in my new novel, Savage, is patterned after Alfred Wallace. In fact, Samuel was so inspired by Wallace’s journey that he embarked on his own expedition to New Guinea in 1868. As you can guess, things don’t go so well for Samuel. Not only is he forced to endure unthinkable hardships, he is compelled to reconsider what it means to be civilized.
Is Samuel a civilized man, or is he a savage? After you read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.