Spirals in Time reveals the stories of seashells that lead into fascinating realms of the natural world and cutting-edge science. These are the hidden wonders you can hold in the palm of your hand.


Who or what sculpts these intricate seashells we find on beaches?

How are seashells made and, perhaps more importantly, why?

Do octopuses really steal seashells and sail around in them like little boats?


I answer all these questions and plenty more in my exploration of seashells and the animals that make them: the marvellous molluscs.

Through the ages, people have used shells not only as pretty trinkets but these curious objects have played a key role in people’s lives. I show how seashells offer insight into the minds of our distant ancestors, they teach us about evolution and the curiosities of life on Earth and they are bellwethers of our impact on the environment, reminding us why nature matters to us all.


Spirals in Time was picked as one of the top books of 2015 by the Guardian, the Times, Nature and The Economist.

It was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Biology Book Prize.

There have been lots of reviews of Spirals in the press.

Here’s a few of them.


Daily Telegraph Magazine feature about me and the book.

I narrated an abridged version for BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week.

I chatted about seashells on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week.

Order a copy from Bloomsbury UK or Bloomsbury US.