Synopses & Reviews
Sea turtles have existed since the time of the dinosaurs. But now they are dying, ravaged by a gruesome plague that some biologists consider the most serious epidemic now raging in the natural world.
What is happening to the sea turtle, and how can it be stopped? Osha Gray Davidson tracks the fervent efforts of extraordinary scientists, marine biologists, veterinarians, and others racing against the clock to unravel this complicated biological and environmental puzzle and keep the turtles from extinction. He dives with Ursula Keuper-Bennett, a schoolteacher whose relationship with a Hawaiian turtle changed her life and led to major discoveries about turtle social life and communication, and visits eminent sea turtle scientist George Balazs. He follows the fates of particular turtles, revealing their surprisingly distinct personalities and why they inspire an almost spiritual devotion in the humans who come to know them. He also explores through vivid historical examples the history of our relationship to the sea, opening a window onto the role humans play in marine die-offs and extinctions. Beautifully written, intellectually provocative, ultimately terrifying, Fire in the Turtle House reveals how emerging diseases wreaking havoc in the global ocean pose an enormous, direct threat to humanity. This is science journalism at its best.
"A lucid and disturbing report on grim happenings in the sea-turtle world and by extension the oceans themselves from Davidson (The Enchanted Braid, 1998, etc.)....Davidson brings environmental passion, as well as a gimlet-eyed environmental appreciation, to the turtles' predicament, giving the plague a moral dimension as well as delivering on the scientific one." Kirkus Reviews
"Pulitzer-nominee Davidson (The Best of Enemies) offers the reader an eloquent ecocautionary tale wrapped in a scientific mystery. Sea turtles have thrived for more than 100 million years. Now their existence is threatened not only by human depredation but also by a virulent scourge of unknown origin....Readers interested in ecology and animals, as well as those who value strong prose, will be intrigued and troubled by this book." Publishers Weekly