Riveting, often chilling.... A remarkable, thoroughly researched, informative chronicle that will appeal to readers interested in the conservation of wildlife.
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] 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.
An extraordinary book, bringing vividly to life this rare and terrifying creature and the men who are setting their lives at stake every day in a barely civilized part of the world. This is a real-life adventure story that is rarely encountered.
A remarkable and thoughtful account of a distant place where man and animal meet with fatal consequences.
Richmond Times Dispatch
If ever a nonfiction author has used the techniques of fiction any better to recount a real-life narrative, it is difficult to imagine who that author would be.... Think of Vaillant as a younger version of John McPhee, but on steroids.
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 - Toronto Globe and Mail
Nonfiction as riveting as any detective story.... Vaillant sets the stage for an epic encounter that unfolds dramatically and inexorably, climaxing in a stunning encounter.
Christian Science Monitor
The grisly rampage of a man-eating Amur, or Siberian, tiger and the effort to trap it frame this suspenseful and majestically narrated introduction to a world that few people, even Russians, are familiar with. Northeast of China lies Russia's Primorye province, "the meeting place of four distinct bioregions"–taiga, Mongolian steppes, boreal forests, and Korean tropics-and where the last Amur tigers live in an uneasy truce with an equally diminished human population scarred by decades of brutal Soviet politics and postperestroika poverty. Over millennia of shared history, the indigenous inhabitants had worked out a tenuous peace with the Amur, a formidable hunter that can grow to over 500 pounds and up to nine feet long, but the arrival of European settlers, followed by decades of Soviet disregard for the wilds, disrupted that balance and led to the overhunting of tigers for trophies and for their alleged medicinal qualities. Vaillant (The Golden Spruce) has written a mighty elegy that leads readers into the lair of the tiger and into the heart of the Kremlin to explain how the Amur went from being worshipped to being poached..
In the bitter cold, as night claims the forest, a man and his dog make their laborious way home. In only a few hours all that remains of the man is the smear his blood leaves on the white ground and a few tattered bones. The man has been eaten by an Amur (Siberian) tiger. Or rather, not just eaten, as Vaillant tells us in his fascinating examination of visceral fear, history, and ecology, but studied, tracked, and hunted. Arriving to take down the tiger is Yuri Trush, the leader of a squad that is a cross between game wardens and Jack Reacher-style cops. Vaillant uses this core story of atavistic thrill to explore the landscape, ecology, history, and culture of the Primorye province, a remote region of Russia, and home to the tiger. His story frequently leaves Trush and his team to explore the impact of poaching, recount the history of European explorers, and examine the precarious fate of Amur tigers. The book is a treat, full of gripping and lyrical prose, a richly created world, and a sensibility that invites readers to sink into the landscape of the Primorye.
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