Ellan Read

sometimes witty book reviews

The Natural History of Unicorns


Chris Lavers has woven the beautiful narrative of his personal unicorn hunting adventures. The text is thoroughly researched and truly a work of non-fiction. This is one of those books that once you’ve read, you wonder why such extraordinary facts weren’t taught to you at school.

Lavers writing is engaging, if at times a bit anecdotal rather than purely objective research. But this can be justified by the highly bizarre nature of the unicorn’s evolution though history and across the globe. Through the writings of Hildegard von Bingen (yes, really), past the age of Roman exploration and myth – this book travels as far as the seas of the Arctic and as deep as darkest Africa.

So is the unicorn a one-horned Christian goat-horse, a narwhal, a rhino, an ancient Iranian water deity, a goat-man from Vietnam or an orangutan? There are also rhinos and pygmies for good measure. Only Lavers can truly explain and I highly recommend this relatively short read to everyone from My Little Pony enthusiasts to students of theology.

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