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Good Reads  Reptiles & Amphibians  Reptiles

Of Time and Turtles Mending the World, Shell by Shattered Shell

Coming Soon
By: Sy Montgomery(Author), Matt Patterson(Illustrator)
272 pages, 16 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w illustrations
Publisher: Mariner Books
Of Time and Turtles
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  • Of Time and Turtles ISBN: 9780358458180 Hardback deckle edge Sep 2023 In stock
  • Of Time and Turtles ISBN: 9780063394230 Paperback Sep 2024 Available for pre-order
Selected version: £31.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

From National Book Award finalist for The Soul of an Octopus and New York Times bestseller Sy Montgomery comes an ode to one of the most diverse, fascinating, and beloved species on the planet: turtles. With elegance, journalistic curiosity, and gorgeous artwork, this nonfiction investigation speaks to the wonder and wisdom of our long-lived cohabitants, who reveal to us astonishing new perspectives on time and healing.

When acclaimed naturalist Sy Montgomery and wildlife artist Matt Patterson arrive at Turtle Rescue League, they are greeted by hundreds of turtles recovering from injury and illness. Endangered by cars and highways, pollution and poachers, these turtles – with wounds so severe that even veterinarians would have dismissed them as fatal – are given a second chance at life. The League's founders, Natasha and Alexxia, live by one motto: Never give up on a turtle.

But why turtles? What is it about them that inspires such devotion? Ancient and unhurried, long-lived and majestic, their lineage stretches back to the time of the dinosaurs. Some live to two hundred years, or longer. Others spend months buried under cold winter water. Montgomery turns to these little-understood yet endlessly surprising creatures to probe the eternal question: How can we make peace with our time?

In pursuit of the answer, Sy and Matt immerse themselves in the delicate work of protecting turtle nests, incubating eggs, rescuing sea turtles, and releasing hatchlings to their homes in the wild. We follow the snapping turtle Fire Chief on his astonishing journey as he battles against injuries incurred by a truck.

Hopeful and optimistic, Of Time and Turtles is an antidote to the instability of our frenzied world. Elegantly blending science, memoir, and philosophy, and drawing on cultures from across the globe, this compassionate portrait of injured turtles and their determined rescuers invites us all to slow down and slip into turtle time.

Customer Reviews


In addition to researching films, articles, and thirty-six books, National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery has been honoured with a Sibert Medal, two Science Book and Film Prizes from the National Association for the Advancement of Science, three honorary degrees, and many other awards. She lives in Hancock, New Hampshire, with her husband, Howard Mansfield, and their border collie, Thurber.

Coming Soon
By: Sy Montgomery(Author), Matt Patterson(Illustrator)
272 pages, 16 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w illustrations
Publisher: Mariner Books
Media reviews

– A New York Times bestseller
– National bestseller
– Amazon Editor’s Pick and Best Book of the Year
– Indie bestseller
– A Smithsonian Magazine's Best Science Book of the Year
The Washington Post's Best Nonfiction of the Year pick
– A New Scientist Best Book of the Year

"An entrancing storyteller who illuminates facts and feelings with sterling precision, Montgomery recounts dramatic and sweet interactions with these 'unlikely, surprising animals, ' describing a wondrous array of personalities, including that of the astoundingly resilient, attentive, and gigantic snapper called Fire Chief."
Booklist (starred review)

"Enchanting. Few writers are better than Montgomery at capturing the wonder of animals without taming them. Like all of Montgomery's work, Of Time and Turtles is a book that will make you want to be not a better human but a better animal."
Washington Post

"Montgomery's heart-tugging conversations with teammates and her commitment to helping an octogenarian named Fire Chief reveal turtles to be perfect conduits for meditations on aging, disability and chosen family."
Scientific American

"A celebration of a magnificent species. Besides conveying the turtle's amazing longevity and capacity for healing, Montgomery offers vivid portraits of the distinct personalities of patients under the care of the heroic TRL staff. An engaging, informative, and colorful journey into the world of turtles."
Kirkus Reviews

"In this moving outing, Montgomery captures the joy in the team's successes and the sorrow in their losses and Patterson's sketches of spotted and painted turtles in their natural habitats delight. An enjoyable account of the everyday travails of dedicated conservationists."
Publishers Weekly

"[Of Time and Turtles] is very much of a piece with Montgomery's beatific The Soul of an Octopus in its assertion that listening to another species – and using what you learn – is good not just for those creatures but for everyone. A beautiful book – you'll want to savor it (slowly)."
Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Of Time and Turtles is a book of miracles, both human and chelonian. We are all lucky to share this earth with turtles, and with Sy Montgomery."
– Sabrina Imbler, author of How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

"Writing from the height of her powers, Sy Montgomery shows us in magnificent and essential ways how much we are connected, even with the most unlikely of animals."
– Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

"Chronic underestimation is all we seem to bestow on reptiles, especially the slow kind. But as Sy Montgomery makes clear, an animal doesn't need to be fast to fascinating."
– Frans de Waal, author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

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