The Conjuror's Bird by Martin Davies

About the book

In 1774, an unusual bird was spotted on Captain Cook’s second expedition to the South Seas. This single specimen was captured, preserved, and brought back to England—and no other bird of its kind was ever seen again. The bird was given to naturalist Joseph Banks, who displayed it proudly in his collection until it too disappeared. Were it not for a colored drawing created by the ship’s artist, it would seem that the Mysterious Bird of Ulieta had never existed.
Two hundred years later, naturalist John Fitzgerald gets a call from an old friend asking him to join the search for the bird’s remains. He traces the bird’s history, uncovering surprising details about the role of a woman known only as Miss B in Joseph Banks’s life and career. Could she be the key to solving the mystery—to finally finding the lost Bird of Ulieta?

Reviewed by Andover Library Reading Group:

It moved along well. All the reading group enjoyed it.

Star rating: ***

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4 thoughts on “The Conjuror's Bird by Martin Davies”

  1. Review by The Museum Reading Group:
    Not a book we would have taken off the shelf in the library BUT we have all loved this book. A real page turner. It’s two story lines, the present fiction combined with the real history of Joseph Banks and the missing Bird of Ulieta. Well drawn believable characters. Left one wanting to know more.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Awbridge Evening WI:
    We all finished the book and found it an easy read. Some readers didn’t like the alternate past and present chapters. A romance interlaced with true facts, and the present day characters showing the desire to make money from the discovery of the rare bird.
    Star rating: **

  3. Review by Boaters Book Club:
    It was considered a nice, romantic love story with its historical and social viewpoints. Most liked the parallel structure, although the modern bits less, and the mystery of the bird and the mistress but didn’t like Gabby.
    Star rating: **/***

  4. Review by Copythorne WI Reading Group
    We loved this book. Some felt the initial chapters were a little slow but the pace hotted up and it became un-put-downable! The weaving of the modern day detective story with the historical romance was deftly managed and the notes at the end regarding the historical facts lend credibility to the story. The book provoked a good discussion on the character of Joseph Banks and on the standing of women in society.
    Star rating: ****

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