Outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East a man-eating tiger is on the prowl. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s murdering them, almost as if it has a vendetta. A team of trackers is dispatched to hunt down the tiger before it strikes again. They know the creature is cunning, injured, and starving, making it even more dangerous.
As John Vaillant re-creates these extraordinary events, he gives us an unforgettable and masterful work of narrative nonfiction that combines a riveting portrait of a stark and mysterious region of the world and its people, with the natural history of nature’s most deadly predator.
Book Review by Dr Ali Binazir
A riveting multidisciplinary thriller that deepened my appreciation of nature’s majesty
Siberian tigers hunt bears. That’s how badass they are. Okay, but why should you read a book about a search for a man-eating Amur tiger, the world’s largest land predator, in the most remote parts of the earth? Because it’s one of the best damn books you’ll ever read, that’s why. And in the process, you’ll learn about Russian history, Communism, Russian-Chinese relations, Siberian tundra and taiga, tiger lore, perestroika, tiger physiology, the Afghan war, poaching, black markets, being a nature warden, extinction, duty, vengeance and survival.
Vaillant’s sorcery is in his ability to take you inside the head of the hunted villagers, the hunters, and the Amur tiger, as if you are there. The whole thing reads like a thriller, and yes, you will probably stay up way too late reading it. I came away with a deeper appreciation of the majesty of nature and our place in it as current top predator.
“Magnificent. . . . Suspenseful. . . . The Tiger offers readers a shiver-inducing portrait of a predator.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Mesmerizing . . . a blistering good tale, stocked with fascinating characters, none more compelling than the tiger itself . . . the adventure book of the year.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A masterpiece. . . . What elevates The Tiger from adventure yarn to nonfiction classic is Vaillant’s mastery of language.” —Outside
“A riveting story.” —The Washington Post
“Brilliant . . . A tale of astonishing power and vigor . . . Read this fine, true book in the warmth, beside the flicker of the firelight. Read it and be afraid. Be very afraid.”— Simon Winchester, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“[A] riveting story . . . Vaillant’s book teaches a lesson that humankind desperately needs to remember: When you murder a tiger, you not only kill a strong and beautiful beast, you extinguish a passionate soul.”—Washington Post
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About the Author
John Vaillant’s first book was the national bestseller The Golden Spruce, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for nonfiction, as well as several other awards. He has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic and The Walrus, among other publications. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and children.
Originally published: 24 August 2010