"A History of the World in 10½ Chapters tells a series of apparently unconnected stories ranging from a woodworm’s-eye-view of the journey on Noah’s Ark to an astronaut’s quest for its final resting place. There is pastiche and learned disquisition; there is heart-stopping documentary and heart-lifting revelation. But these stories are not separate. They are all linked by a complex weave of inquiry into history itself, into love, myth and fabulation. It’s about everything that matters, told with brilliant imagination, intelligence and humour."