The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Vintage Departures) (Paperback)

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The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Vintage Departures) By John Vaillant Cover Image

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Vintage Departures) (Paperback)

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September 2010 Indie Next List


“What happens when the order of hunter and prey is reversed? Yuri Trush, a tracker living near a tiny Siberian village, must find a tiger that has recently killed a poacher. Trush and his team must learn what drives the tiger to behave in this terrifying new way before they can stop the carnage. By turns absolutely fascinating and monstrously chilling, The Tiger explores the world of the Siberian tiger from its mythic history and extreme habitat to modern economics and black market poaching.”
— Marilyn Smith, Kepler's Books & Magazine, Menlo Park, CA

Staff Reviews


One review said, mesmerizing, another said, riveting, and another said, gripping; all are true! The very first paragraph, takes us to the far eastern Primorye Territory of Russia, in the Bikin River Valley, and the scene is set. A man and his dog are heading home through a winter forest so cold, “… if a man spits, it is frozen before it hits the ground.” As they approach his cabin, the dog stops, the hackles on his back standing straight up. They hear a rumble seemingly coming from everywhere. And that’s the last time the man is seen alive.
If that doesn’t get your heart pumping, I don’t know what will! This is a true story from the late 1990s. It’s the story of the Siberian tigers that live there and of the men who share it as home. Yuri Trush is the official squad leader of an Inspection Tiger unit. One of his jobs is to protect this endangered species of cats from poachers and, at the same time, hunt down those that have had run-ins with humans. It’s a wily business. Besides the tigers as inhabitants, the people who live there tend to be impoverished, unemployed, used to living off the land, not afraid of breaking the law, and most often fending for themselves. Get out a world map. Look up the far eastern area of Russia. I would guess few of us know anything about it, but in this book, it plays an important role. The people and their culture are as rough and tough as the land itself. And, the fear of tigers is real because, “tigers [seem] to be able to identify its attacker[s] and hunt them down…even if it takes months.” As one man said, “Tigers think.”
This is the real-life tale of the pursuit of a man-eating tiger, and his allusiveness against all odds. The reader never quite knows whether to root for the tiger or the hunters. The pictures of people and the ones that showcase the immensity of the Siberian tigers give the reader lots of grist to consider. Non-fiction at its best; to learn, to feel reality, to fear, to admire! Two thumbs up!
— Karen L.

NATIONAL BESTSELLER A gripping story of man pitted against nature’s most fearsome and efficient predator. This "travelogue about tiger poaching in Russia’s far east opens up a new genre ... [the] conservation thriller" (Nature).

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.
JOHN VAILLANT’s acclaimed, award-winning non-fiction books, The Golden Spruce and The Tiger, were #1 national bestsellers. His debut novel, The Jaguar’s Children, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award. He has written for, among others, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and The Walrus. He lives in Vancouver.

Product Details ISBN: 9780307389046
ISBN-10: 0307389049
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2011
Pages: 352
Language: English
Series: Vintage Departures
“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