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The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Aug. 24 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 536 ratings

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Hardcover, Deckle Edge, Aug. 24 2010
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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.

Review

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER 
A Globe and Mail Best Book

“Remarkable. . . . A book that manages to be at once exciting, memorable — and perfectly, impeccably right. . . . Recounts with power and excitement the true story of a titanic confrontation. . . . [Vaillant] has told a tale of astonishing power and vigour.”
— Simon Winchester in The Globe and Mail  

“Suspenseful and majestically narrated. . . . Vaillant has written a mighty elegy that leads readers into the lair of the tiger and into the heart of the Kremlin.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A savage banquet. . . . Riveting.” 
— Annie Proulx in The Guardian 

“A hair-raising tale. . . . Vaillant’s portrayal of the tiger as a creature capable of revenge is both terrifying and fascinating. . . . It is ultimately Vaillant’s superbly crafted story of a tiger and two men that keeps us glued to the page, from the introduction right through to the thrilling denouement.”
— The Gazette
 
“A compelling tragedy. . . . [Vaillant] introduces the reader to a rich cast of real-life characters and provides elegant insights into our relationship with nature.”
— Calgary Herald
 
“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.”
— The Washington Post
 
“A truly extraordinary read: dark, thrilling and utterly compelling, which conveys the terrible might of nature like no other book I’ve come across.”
— The Bookseller (UK)

"The Tiger is the sort of book I very much like and rarely find. . . . This is a book not only for adventure buffs, but for all of us interested in wildlife habitat preservation."
— Annie Proulx

"This elegant work of narrative non-fiction has it all - beauty, intrigue, a primeval locale, fully realized characters, and a conflict that speaks to the state of our world. Obsessively well-researched and artfully written, The Tiger takes us on a journey to the raw edge of civilization, to a world of vengeful cats and venal men, a world that, in Vaillant's brilliant telling, is simultaneously haunting and enchanting."
— Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers

"Magnificent, surely the best chronicle ever published of the wild Amur tigers in Russia's Far East. . . . To call this book a page-turner is an understatement. It's riveting."
— Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

"This book must be read by everybody who is interested in the conservation of wildlife. It takes you to the Russian wilderness to meet face-to-face with the Siberian tiger."
— Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

"The Tiger offers a richly textured, compelling story of Nature and Man at odds - and at risk - in Russia's Far East. Grounded in meticulous research and informed by extensive field work, the narrative graphically conveys the fragility of life in the unforgiving taiga, where a single misstep can turn hunter into quarry."
— John J. Stephan, author of The Russian Far East: A History

"Absolutely superb…"
— George Schaller, Wildlife Conservation Society senior conservationist; NBA winner The Serengeti Lion

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
536 customer ratings
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Reviewed in Canada on September 6, 2010
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Reviewed in Canada on February 14, 2016
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Reviewed in Canada on February 25, 2013
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Top international reviews

Moo
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I initially expected, remarkably informative and well padded
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 27, 2018
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PrideOfNottingham
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and informative
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andief
5.0 out of 5 stars There are no words to describe this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 28, 2016
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wordparty
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a Maneater
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2011
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L. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Burning bright
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 4, 2013
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jaydee
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of the Siberian tiger
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 29, 2018
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A. Whitehouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Here is the one you been looking for...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 12, 2014
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W
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read. Elegant prose captures the cruel beauty of ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 4, 2015
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rsb285
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story, wonderfully written
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 27, 2016
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ken
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent from start to finish
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 20, 2018
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Keith Good
4.0 out of 5 stars Track the Tiger
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 6, 2016
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C.R. Hua
4.0 out of 5 stars The fascinating story of a man-killing tiger shines a light on this remote region
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 10, 2019
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progga
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read, compelling story laced with so much history, socio-cultural insight and empathy.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 25, 2018
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mark
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit all over but a good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 2, 2018
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Mustafa Tahir
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping from start to finish
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2018
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