Ms. Arianrhod’s vivid account applies a modern moral lens to the rapacious actions of his fellow proto-colonists ... Throughout the latter half of the book, the Damoclean threat looming over Harriot is palpable, as the nodes of power shift around him ... To her credit, Ms. Arianrhod recommends against 'retrofitting Harriot into a celebrity star system' among the acknowledged luminaries of science ... Thomas Harriot deserves recognition, but in the epic tale of scientific advancement, he is just—and justly—a footnote.
Previous biographers...[never] fully addressed Harriot’s scientific contributions, as Arianrhod tries to do ... Arianrhod does not hesitate to call him a genius, and the evidence she presents is impressive. Yet she fully explores his rightful position in the pantheon only in a page-long endnote; I think this shortchanges the 'general reader' she seeks to enlighten. Some might find her technical passages challenging, although they are necessary to her argument. And it is irksome to see diagrams relating to Harriot’s navigational work in an appendix, rather than with the text they illustrate ... Arianrhod...has revealed a scientific mind, but the face is more elusive[.]
Robyn Arianrhod...adds the latest cornerstone to the edifice of Harriot’s resurrected reputation. Hers is an authoritative, often engrossing marriage of history and science ... By studying his life and career, Harriot helps us understand how modern mathematics and science began to emerge. Arianrhod’s is a significant achievement.