|“||I am a scientist, Alek. I do not deal in surmise.||”|
Dr. Nora Darwin Barlow is a Darwinist scientist and head keeper of the London Zoo. She is brought on board the Leviathan as part of a secret diplomatic mission to Istanbul. She was one of the original fabricators of the Leviathan's species, and also created Bovril and the other perspicacious loris. She is the granddaughter of Charles Darwin.
In the seriesEdit
Dr. Barlow is introduced in Leviathan, when the Leviathan lands in Regent's Park to pick her up, along with a secret cargo. Deryn is surprised when she learns that the important boffin is also a female. Dr. Barlow compliments Deryn on her abilities and, to Deryn's chagrin, refers to her as a "cabin boy." She asks Deryn for tours of the airship, makes her walk Tazza and later, when the ship crashes in Switzerland, entrusts her with the secret of the eggs and details of her diplomatic mission to the Ottoman Empire. Dr. Barlow is also the captive the Leviathan's crew swaps for Count Volger. She is also the one to discover the secret of Alek's identity, and arranges for the Stormwalker engines with the captain. Deryn accepts the boffin, but does think she is quite nosy.
In Behemoth, Dr. Barlow rides on the Dauntless and advises Deryn to use hot spices to rid the walker of it's German saboteuers. Later, she and Deryn go to the Sultan's palace, where one of the loris eggs is crushed by the Sultan's automaton. Dr. Barlow is very distressed by the destruction of one of her eggs. She also fabricated the vitriolic barnacles as a "backup plan" in case the loris eggs were ineffective at keeping the Ottomans out of the war. Dr. Barlow keeps one of the lorises after it hatches. At the end of the novel, Dr. Barlow seems to have developed a practice of sharing information with Count Volger, who calls her "an interesting woman."
Dr. Barlow also appears in Goliath, where she no longer has the influence on the ship that she had in the earlier novels, now that her mission is over. She asks Alek and his men to put together Tesla's smuggled machine and hides it where he will not be able to find it. When Tesla comes on board, the ship, she is at odds with the Clanker scientist. Dr. Barlow gets Deryn and Alek to find what Tesla had been looking for in Tunguska, and sends the sample Deryn obtains to her associate Peter C. Mitchell. Later in the novel, Dr. Barlow offers Deryn a job with the Zoological Society of London, where she works, as her assistant. When Deryn confesses to Dr. Barlow that she is female, Dr. Barlow is surprised, and takes back her job offer when she learns that Deryn's secret is likely to soon be in the newspapers thanks to Eddie Malone. However, when Alek makes a trade with Malone to keep Deryn's secret out of the newspapers, Dr. Barlow offers Deryn the position again. The newspaper article at the end of the Goliath includes the information that Alek has also accepted a position with the Zoological Society.
Dr. Barlow is very fashionably attired at all times, and is never seen without her bowler hat. She has dark hair and appears to be quite tall. Her clothing trunk weighs almost as much as Deryn, who has to carry it on board the Leviathan. She is also usually with Tazza.
Dr. Barlow is very proper, but also shrewd and clever. She speaks several languages, including English, Latin, French and German, and is a skilled fabricator and diplomat. Although she shows concern for the welfare of Deryn and Alek, she isn't very sentimental or motherly, at one point remitting her job offer to Deryn because she would have shamed the country, military, and the Zoological Society. She is intensely aware of the power she has as a descendant of Darwin, and is not above bullying, harassing, or intimidating the crew and getting into shouting matches with the captain. At most times, she is cool and seemingly emotionless, but when provoked she has been known to lose control and fly into a rage. She seems to be quite aware and proud of her cleverness, and is confident to the point of hubris. She tries to never appear surprised.
- Dr. Barlow meets Deryn when the Leviathan lands in Regent's Park, and compliments Deryn's airmanship. Dr. Barlow seems to prefer Deryn to Newkirk with tasks such as walking Tazza or watching the eggs. Dr. Barlow does not figure out Deryn's secret until Deryn tells her. She offers Deryn a job with the Zoological Society in Goliath, but first remits it when she thinks that Deryn's secret will be revealed by Eddie Malone.
- Dr. Barlow introduces herself to Alek after Deryn tells her about him. She is curious about his identity, and eventually discovers who he is. Dr. Barlow gets Bovril to hatch while Alek is in the machine room so that Bovril will be attached to Alek. She also helps Alek and his men stay on the Leviathan and keep a good relationship with the captain. Dr. Barlow gives Alek a job with the Zoological Society at the end of Goliath.
- Main article: Relationship of Dr. Barlow and Count Volger
- Dr. Barlow and Count Volger meet when the Leviathan's crew are negotiating a hostage swap for Alek, and Dr. Barlow offers to go with the Stormwalker in exchange for the count. Alek notices that Dr. Barlow and Count Volger have been exhanging information with each other while he was in Istanbul.
- Captain Hobbes seems to be uncomfortable with having a woman who has authority over him on his ship. Captain Hobbes eventually seems to be more comfortable with Dr. Barlow when her mission is over and she is a powerful passenger on the Leviathan.
- Nora Barlow on Wikipedia