With a name like Jacques Boucher de Crevecoeur de Perthes, it ought to be easy to become a hero. Yet, how to go about it? A real-life nineteenth-century paleontologist and explorer, excavated here by Christine Montalbetti to serve as her protagonist, Jacques has tried everything: fighting off pirates, writing poetry, becoming a dandy, a man of culture . . . all without ever quite feeling he fits the bill. At last, when Jacques decides he ll make his name by discovering evidence of early man, it seems we, his audience, will be treated to a novel about mankind itself unless, of course, our putative hero gets shanghaied into a love story along the way. The Origin of Man is the story of one man and all humanity waging a war against oblivion without ever quite winning the day. It s also a comedy about being immersed in heroic and fantastical events without one s ever noticing.