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The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival [Paperback]

John Vaillant
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 3 2011

It's December 1997 and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia's Far East. To the horrified astonishment of a team of hunters, it emerges that the attacks are not random: the tiger is engaged in a vendetta.

Injured and starving, it must be found before it strikes again, and the story becomes a battle for survival between two main characters: Yuri Trush, the lead tracker, and the tiger itself.

Culminating in a showdown deep in the Siberian forest, The Tiger is a haunting, spellbinding tale of a hunt to the death; of man and nature in collision; of the ancient relationship between predators and prey; and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal and its increasingly threatened world.


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Product Details


Product Description

Quill & Quire

John Vaillant is a literary shaman. The mixture of fact, conjecture, and superstition he concocted for 2005’s The Golden Spruce was pure magic and earned him the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction. That same magic pervades the Vancouver author’s new book. Like the previous work, The Tiger involves a mystical encounter between man and the natural world. Set in southeastern Siberia, the story pits a group of men against an astoundingly vengeful, cunning carnivore.

The Tiger reads like a chilling detective novel constantly flirting with the supernatural. The action unfolds over a few days in December 1997 but could just as easily be a spooky folk tale told around a campfire.

The remains of experienced outdoorsman and hunter Vladimir Markov are found near his shack in the Siberian wilderness. It is evident he has been eaten by a tiger. But tigers tend to kill people only when provoked: what had Markov done to enrage the beast? And why is the tiger continuing to attack other humans in the area? Officers from a state wildlife organization investigate the mystery, trying to track down the animal and calm the fears of superstitious villagers. To do so, they use both modern science and ancient folklore.

The story of the hunt for the murderous tiger is frequently interrupted by page after page of background on Siberia, its declining animal population, and the unwritten laws of the forest. This flood of information is interesting, but detracts from the flow of an otherwise spellbinding narrative. As well, a very preachy epilogue seems redundant. We know by this point that the Siberian tiger population should be safeguarded and don’t need this message hammered into our heads any further.

Despite its flaws, The Tiger is a feast of impressive research, cinematic prose, and chilling mysticism that will enthrall both hunters and tree-huggers. The shaman has worked his magic once again.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"A provocative and comprehensive examination of the plight of the wild tiger.... Breathtakingly exciting."
--The Vancouver Sun

"Remarkable.... Recounts with power and excitement the true story of a titanic confrontation.... A tale of astonishing power and vigour.... Read it and be afraid. Be very afraid."
--The Globe and Mail

"A superb book--hyper-intelligent, wonderfully well-written, with a great cast, both human and animal, and at its heart, [an] amazing and truly chilling story."
--Daily Mail

"A grand addition to the animal-pursuit subgenre.... Few writers have taken such pains to understand their monsters, and few depict them in such arresting prose."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Riveting, full of fascinating details about a land and people that time forgot. And the most compelling character of all may be the suspect tiger himself."
--The Daily Beast

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By Suhail Zubaid AHMAD TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Although the story is about a man eating Siberian, or more appropriately, Amur tiger in the far east region of Russia, it is actually about creating awareness about this beautiful, but endangered species of cat.

The author keeps the true story intense, but departs from the main story a number of times for developing characters involved in it and in the process explains in detail the history, geography, economy, ecology, ethnicities and culture, predators and prey in the region, and of course the relationship between men and the beast. In fact, the authors goes into further details and educates the readers on different political eras of Russia, Sino-Soviet relations of the past and Sino-Russian relations as of now, animal behaviour, even predator ' prey relationships studied in Africa, anthropology, palaeontology, etc. and he does all of this so very beautifully never losing track of the original story of the man eating tiger. It is amazing to note how learned the author and how well researched this book is. The author brings the knowledge out from diversified subjects as they apply to this confrontation between men and tiger.

The book has many tragic events described graphically, but in the end it leaves hope in that the awareness is growing all over the world and that Amur Tigers may survive living in the wild.

I grew up reading very lively and graphic stories of man eating tigers of India written by Jim Corbett and many local Indian hunters. I remember many of those stories and am still able to recall hunters describing the man eating tiger's behaviour. This book either endorsed those viewpoints or expanded my knowledge on tiger behaviour especially after it becomes a man eater.

When I received my book from Amazon.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another reason to love Canada Oct. 31 2010
Format:Hardcover
Although this book is called "Tiger" and is "kinda" about a rogue tiger hunting down humans....to me it home about the ongoing tragic life of people in other countries, like Russsia where this story is centered. I think the story of this tiger is a metaphor for the life of some ordinary Russians since Peristroka. I thank John for doing a brilliant job in researching this book and giving us a glimpse into the life of ordinary Russians who live far from the glamour and glitter of Moscow and all the political nonsense that that entails. Great read, I feel very sorry for the depth of despair. Having a democracy has not led to a life that we enjoy in Canada. I would not be suprised if another authoritarian government takes over in Russia just so the people can get a chance at some kind of peaceful, happy life without hunger. And yes, "Leave the tigers alone China!"...."All that talk of tiger parts making you virile is nonsense!"..."It is the rats' testicles that make the difference!".(Readers help me spread the rumour save a rhino or black bear as well!)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting Jan. 19 2012
Format:Paperback
Not exactly a cozy read. It's a mental journey into a primitive world that has faded from most of our collective imaginations, that speaks of the dogged survival of species, our own included. It is so haunting that I feel as if I have permanently left a part of myself treading quietly through a snow-filled forest with my gun muttering, "If I leave her alone, she will leave me alone." "She" is the pronoun commonly used by the locals to describe the tigers in general. Above all in my reading matter, I want to be intrigued, but I so rarely find that quality. This book intrigued me from beginning to end with such a massive backdrop of information about tigers, Russian history, the amazing geographical area, mythology, man's origins as a hunter (or more commonly a scavenger?) that you have plenty of context surrounding the violent incidents at the heart of the book. The end was a climactic nail-biter and I felt as if I was with those guys every step of the way. My mental boots still have the snow on them.

It's more of an "experience" than merely a book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Predation Oct. 26 2010
Format:Hardcover
"The Tiger" is a wonderful piece of non-fiction which reads like a best-selling thriller novel. The writing is clear and concise. A theme winds through the book, raising tension by fear and awe in an exotic locale. John Vaillant tells us the story one Great Tiger while examining the places of tiger and man in the universe. With superior writing skill, Vaillant tells of the ancient relationship of human-tiger predation, thoroughly describing the hunter on either side of the equation and showing us how each behaves in one of Earth's last vast primitive areas. The supporting science and history are made pertinent and interesting by Vaillant's skill and by the omnipresent shadow of sudden death in his story. Well done, Sir!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Enthralling Jan. 10 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved this book and thank John Vaillant for writing it. I loved the historical Russian perspective also because Russia has always fascinated me. The descriptive events made me feel like I was there, traipsing in the middle of the forest, and I could actually feel the hot breath of the tiger at one point. Even though I was instilled with fear of the Tiger I did not lose my respect and appreciation of its beauty and its necessity here on earth. I will read this book "again" some day.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is patient and stealth.
Try to put this book down.... I dare ya!

Totally captivating as the Tiger plots it's revenge. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sebastian Dangerfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This story is amazing and the way it is told just superb!
Published 3 months ago by Heggie
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
This is extremely well-written and a fascinating read. It is amazing to someone living in North America exactly what life in the far east of Russia is like. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
surprisingly educational book.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
GREAT book! Very good analysis of real world problems of human and tiger!
Published 8 months ago by CoffeeLover
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not as compelling as The Golden Spruce. ...
Interesting but not as compelling as The Golden Spruce. A little ponderous at times but opens up a view of a remote part of the world and culture. Then theres the tiger!!1
Published 9 months ago by Martin Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars makes one think plus its a terrific true story
Phenomenal book...makes one think plus its a terrific true story. It is not a quick read...its a book you will want to savor and retain.
Published 10 months ago by Teresa
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tiger for The Tiger
How could I not like this book!
Published 13 months ago by The Tiger
4.0 out of 5 stars great book
It was a great education about what might be going on between the ears the of tiger. I have a new found respect for them.
Published 20 months ago by randy
5.0 out of 5 stars What is happening to the tiger population
This is a well written tale about the hard life of one particular tiger who is out for revenge. It is set in the far Eastern territory of Russia where the modern world has not... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Kathryn Clout
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