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

John Vaillant
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 22.00
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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.


"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

Top Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting Jan. 19 2012
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
"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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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I tried so hard to love this book. I love tigers. I love Russians. I love survival stories. Despite being all three, this is easily the most boring thing I have ever attempted to read. I made it 2/3 before surrendering defeat and giving up. So basically: there's a man-eating tiger out there in the snowy woods. And he's very, very scary. But that is the entire book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another reason to love Canada Oct. 31 2010
Although this book is called "Tiger" and is "kinda" about a rogue tiger hunting down 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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By Gordon
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The pillow case is fine. The only problem is that the head of the female cheetah is cut off just below the ears. My granddaughter does love it anyway, she is a cheetah fanatic. Delivery was very slow - six weeks. Pick something better than standard shipping if you order this.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't disappoint.
Enjoyable read. Doesn't disappoint.
Published 2 months ago by stuart kilday
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It's an interesting read. I found it kind of long though, and after a bit I lost interest.
Published 4 months ago by S.May
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
Excellent read. You will never think of Russia or tigers the same way again after you finish this novel. Read more
Published 5 months ago by AlisonB
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and wonderfully crafted read and utterly fascinating...
A compelling and wonderfully crafted read and utterly fascinating insight into the consciousness and "umwelt" of this remarkable czar of the taiga.
Published 5 months ago by Dr. Duncan M. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars We need to help protect this beautiful animal predator by boycotting...
A story that needs to be told. Logging in Siberia is taking away the tiger's habitat. They are now endangered. Read more
Published 6 months ago by nancy
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
The hardcover version is superb! I really enjoyed this book! Perfect for a gift!
Published 7 months ago by Patrick GT
4.0 out of 5 stars A good story, well told ...
Vaillant does an excellent job of weaving history, the social situation, and the environment into his story.
Published 8 months ago by A. Telfer
5.0 out of 5 stars It is beautifully written and tells a fascinating story about the...
It is beautifully written and tells a fascinating story about the people of this remote part of the world; and a lot about the
tigers who live there. Read more
Published 8 months ago by mitzimouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Dynamic synergy of storytelling talent and species interaction
One of the best books I have read. I read this book previously, borrowed from a family member. The synergy of dynamic style coupled with dramatic incidence and anthropology of... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lisbeth Haddad
4.0 out of 5 stars Vaillant distinguishes himself an not only a wonderful storyteller but...
Vaillant distinguishes himself an not only a wonderful storyteller but also provides poignant insights into various cultures and mythologies. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Published 9 months ago by Brent Winder
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