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About the book
  • Published: 1 July 2011
  • ISBN: 9781742745398
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

Pasteur's Gambit

A sensational episode in Australasian history that combined science, subterfuge, and scandal.

A sensational episode in Australasian history that combined science, subterfuge, and scandal.

The incredible, previously untold story of Australia’s role in the creation of the world-famous Pasteur Institute.

In 1887, the desperate NSW Government of Sir Henry Parkes advertised an international competition for a biological cure for the rabbit plague then ravaging the farms of Australia and New Zealand. The competition, with a prize equivalent to $10 million today, would attract 1500 entries.

In Paris, famous microbiologist Dr Louis Pasteur, struggling to raise the funds to open his prestigious Pasteur Institute, saw the Australasian rabbit competition as the answer to his financial prayers. For Pasteur was convinced he had the biological remedy to the rabbit plague.

To Australia came Pasteur's dashing 25-year-old nephew, Adrien Loir, sent to prove Pasteur's remedy and return home within six weeks with the prize money. But Pasteur had not reckoned on sabotage by his greatest scientific rival, or on the self-interest of the competition's Australian and New Zealand judges, or the private agendas of local politicians. Young Loir, determined not to fail his uncle, was in for the fight of his life.

Pasteur's Gambit, featuring a cast of characters ranging from great names in science to legendary French actress Sarah Bernhardt and a fast-talking Sydney larrikin, is the previously untold true story of an amazing episode in both scientific and national history.

  • Pub date: 1 July 2011
  • ISBN: 9781742745398
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

About the Author

Stephen Dando-Collins

Stephen Dando-Collins is the author of the acclaimed Captain Bligh's Other Mutiny. Pasteur's Gambit was shortlisted for the science prize in the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and won the Queensland Premier's Science Award. Crack Hardy, his most personal history, received wide acclaim. Mistaken Identity tells another episode of previously undiscovered Australian history. Sir Henry Parkes: The Australian Colossus is a biography of Australia’s Father of Federation. He also writes about American and ancient Greek history, and his series about the legions of ancient Rome has found considerable success in the US, UK and Australia and been translated into numerous foreign languages. Stephen has also written several books for children and young adults including the Caesar the War Dog series, Tank Boys and Chance in a Million. Stephen and his wife, Louise, live and write in a former nunnery in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley.

Also by Stephen Dando-Collins

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Praise for Pasteur's Gambit

“Pasteur's Gambit is a fantastic story made better by the fact that it is true. Dando-Collins has uncovered a story very few people knew anything about, gone on to research rich untapped material, and skillfully laid it out. The result is part science, part history, sprinklings of drama and ultimately a real adventure.”

Tony Peacock, Feral Thoughts

“Frankly, I had no idea that Pasteur had so much trouble raising the money for the Pasteur Institute. The generally held notion is that the crowned heads of Europe fell all over themselves to pay homage and grant funds - clearly far from the truth! And I only had the vaguest knowledge of the early origins of the Pasteur Institute in Sydney and of the potential contributions to the rabbit plague. So from every point of view I am much in your debt and will be sure to highlight your work in appropriate lectures and other talks.”

Sir Gustav Nossal

“An improbable and interesting story by a very fine historian.”

Phillip Adams, Late Night Live, ABC Radio National

Awards & Recognition

  • Queensland Literary Awards

    Winner • 2009 • Queensland Literary Awards (Science Award)

  • Victorian Premier's Literary Awards

    Shortlisted • 2009 • Victorian Premier's Literary Awards (Science Award)

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