The Tiger (eBook)
It’s December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren’t random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again.
As he re-creates these extraordinary events, John Vaillant gives us an unforgettable portrait of this spectacularly beautiful and mysterious region. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshipped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, soldiers and hunters who greatly diminished the tiger populations. And we come to know their descendants, who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching and further upset the natural balance of the region.
This ancient, tenuous relationship between man and predator is at the very heart of this remarkable book. Throughout we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters, and how early Homo sapiens may have fit seamlessly into the tiger’s ecosystem. Above all, we come to understand the endangered Siberian tiger, a highly intelligent super-predator that can grow to ten feet long, weigh more than six hundred pounds, and range daily over vast territories of forest and mountain.
Beautifully written and deeply informative, The Tiger circles around three main characters: Vladimir Markov, a poacher killed by the tiger; Yuri Trush, the lead tracker; and the tiger himself. It is an absolutely gripping tale of man and nature that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the taiga.
From the Hardcover edition.
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.
Praise for The Tiger…
“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
“[An] epic story. . . . A travelogue about tiger poaching in Russia’s far east opens up a new genre . . . [the] conservation thriller."—Nature
“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.” —The Seattle Times
“Riveting, often chilling. . . . A remarkable, thoroughly researched, informative chronicle that will appeal to readers interested in the conservation of wildlife.”—Providence Journal
“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
“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.”—The Washington Times
“A remarkable and thoughtful account of a distant place where man and animal meet with fatal consequences.”—Richmond Times Dispatch
“Told with passion and deep knowledge of the history cultures, folk tales, flora and fuana of this part of the world . . . The Tiger has the pace and precision of a spy thriller.”—Waterbury Republican-American