When I picked this up, I didn’t really register that I’d been disappointed by one of the author’s other books. Good thing it was a library book, because though the topic of the most ancient remains of life is fascinating, Brasier’s account jumps around geologically and logically. There’s no straight progression from idea to idea, era to era, area to area. I kept losing track of where a fossil was and how old it was thought to be, and getting distracted by Brasier’s anecdotes (almost boasting) about places he’d been looking for fossils.
Also, I don’t know if Brasier is English or Welsh or what, but my teeth started slowly grinding when he brought in Arthurian analogies. Arthur never looked for the grail, never. It’s the same issue with basic facts that I found in Secret Chambers when he repeated common apocryphal stories as fact, except even more personally annoying because this is Arthur and I spent most of my degree studying Arthur as deeply as Brasier studies fossils. It’s an idiosyncratic reaction, I know, but it was still annoying. The Arthurian stuff felt weird, shoehorned in, especially when Brasier was doing research for Oxford University in Scotland. I could understand it more if he was a fellow of a Welsh university or something.