Leaping effortlessly from the bright stream into the human mind, the trout captivates like no other fish. An ancient fascination than can be traced back to Stone Age cave dwellers, the trout surfaces in our diet, religion, folklore, history, science, literature and, of course, fishermen’s tales. So why does the trout beguile us so? Taking myriad forms, the fish has a vitality and physical beauty many find irresistible, and it also brings to mind pure waters and wild places. These are the undercurrents to James Owen’s biography of the trout, which also showcases the animal as sacred fish, table fish, farmed fish, a fish of scientific investigation, of colonial conquest and middle-class aspiration and as a symbol in Western countries of our conflicted relationship with nature. In telling its story the author follows the trout around the world; starting in Europe and North America, he then embarks for exotic new territories with a voyage that took the creature from England to Australia in the nineteenth century. Along the way, the author encounters a cast of characters as diverse as the trout itself, from obscure British saints and flyfishing nuns, to visionary inventors, jazz singers and counterculture novelists – all united by this magical animal. Trout will delight and surprise anglers who have ever cast a fly to it, or anyone who has ever stopped to look in the water from a bridge, hoping for a tantalizing glimpse of this very special fish.