This book has kind of a fun design: the two sections are separated by flipping the book upside down. It’s a gimmick, but it’s kind of a cool design anyway. The topics are pretty interlinked, but you can read one half of the book without the other, or read them in either order; whatever you like. One half covers how life came to be, and one half covers the attempts to create life (or should that be recreate?), via genetic engineering, etc.
It’s an interesting bunch of issues, and Rutherford handles it well. His tone is informative, without being stultifyingly boring: he has some moments of humour which, while not laugh-out-loud funny, did provoke a snort or two. He writes engagingly, and those it is definitely an overview of the topics not really meant for a professional audience, he doesn’t shy away from discussing the complex ideas and different theories. None of it was really surprising or groundbreaking to me, because biology and genetics are big areas of interest for me, but it would make a good introduction for the intelligent reader, or a refresher to bring you up to date.