I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but I do enjoy a good science book. Wilcox has managed to turn a serious subject into a fun read and still impart the science subject matter in considerable detail. I enjoy learning something new, and almost every page held a fascinating nugget. I had no idea platypi, worms, and shrews were venomous. I didn’t know the difference between venom and poison. I didn’t realize how many different types of chemical attack were contained in the various venoms. All this and much more awaits you in this well-written exploration of our deadliest animal neighbors’ biochemistry.
The book is full of anecdotes, many lived by the author herself, depicting the bad luck, bravery, or idiocy (depending on your point of view) of those who have been bitten or stung, voluntarily or otherwise, by some of these creatures. She also recounts the efforts by clinicians and researchers to find ways of protecting humans from the effects of venom, and, perhaps more importantly, how to use venom to treat various diseases that afflict us. She does this with a scientist’s attention to detail and source citations. She provides an enormous lexicon of scientific terms. As a writer of murder mysteries, this book has filled my head with ideas (ah yes, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” – it’s been done).