‘Astounding … To call this a “history” does not do justice to Helen Gordon’s ambition’Simon Ings, Daily Telegraph’Awe-inspiring … She has imbued geological tales with a beauty and humanity’Shaoni Bhattacharya-Woodward, Mail on SundayThe story of the Earth is written into our landscape: it’s there in the curves of hills, the colours of stone, surprising eruptions of vegetation. Wanting a fresh perspective on her own life, the writer Helen Gordon set out to read that epic narrative. Her odyssey takes her from the secret fossils of London to the 3-billion-year-old rocks of the Scottish Highlands, and from a state-of-the-art earthquake monitoring system in California to one of the world’s most dangerous volcanic complexes, hidden beneath the green hills of Naples. At every step, she finds that the apparently solid ground beneath our feet isn’t quite as it seems. Join her to meet the unusual characters who are piecing this vast story together. Grapple with the theory that explains how it all works – plate tectonics, a break – through as significant as evolution or quantum physics but much younger than either, with many secrets still to reveal. And look ahead to the worlds to come, when only our traces will remain, enigmas for those who follow us. ‘In deep time,’ Gordon finds, ‘everything is provisional. Bones become rock. Sands become mountains. Oceans become cities.’ And life goes on.