Dr. Peter Pritchard, Oxford scholar, conservationist, world traveler, and Renaissance man, is a multifaceted expert on turtles and tortoises. A cheloniological thread thus runs through his "Tales from the Thebaide", as he expands the study of his favorite animals into commentaries upon the universe itself, and includes brilliant, erudite, and always humorous accounts of his adventures in many lands seeking further insight into the shelled reptiles.
His preoccupation that important players in his life and in his field should not be forgotten led to inclusion of several in-depth obituaries, including one of Florida's own Archie Carr. His wild adventures looking for tortoises in the Galapagos Islands make up a major section of the book, as does his scholarly discourses on the taxonomic status of sea turtles. There is a long section on why he set up his personal Thebaide, the Chelonian Research Institute, and his delight in the zany, sometimes unbelievable players of the past who launched their own Cabinets of Curiosities.
Pritchard's reflections encompass his love of life, and his hope that his readers will share his delight in people, science, culture, conservation, argument, scholarship, and (of course) turtles.