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His Imperial Majesty Reviews

His Imperial Majesty by Matthew Oates

His Imperial Majesty: A Natural History of the Purple Emperor

Matthew Oates

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Non-fiction
Imprint: Bloomsbury Wildlife
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 11 Jun 2020
ISBN: 9781472950123

A witty, informative, and myth-busting account of the Purple Emperor butterfly, one of Britain's most captivating butterfly species.

4 stars out of 5
21 Jun 2020

"It’s a wonderfully funny and eccentric book, full of rich human oddity"

The book provides an invaluable appendix detailing whereabouts in the UK you might expect to spot one: Alice Holt in Hampshire is a favourite site, and there’s another hotspot north-east of Oxford, around Bicester. To lure one down, don’t forget to take some fish paste well past its sell-by date.


5 stars out of 5
PD Smith
13 Jun 2020

"This regal butterfly has a short lifespan but is ‘a mighty metaphor for our relationship with beauty, and with nature’"

Having spent his life pursuing these exquisite but elusive insects, Oates is the perfect guide to “one of the most alluring, if confusing and deceptive, elements of British wildlife”. His puckish wit and playfulness makes the book a delight to read. At one point he notes casually and without much further explanation: “I am probably the only person to have observed Apatura iris from the bath.”