To say it simply, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival is John Vaillant's account of the hunt for a man-eating tiger in Russia's Far East. But the book is not at all simple.
Layered and complex. Action-packed. Masterfully told. Awesome. These words would be more appropriate.
What makes the book so engrossing is that it tells a dramatic adventure story, but doesn't stop at just telling a dramatic adventure story. Instead, Vaillant's story of the hunt, which takes place in just a few days in 1997, unfolds over the course of 300 pages, and by the time you get to the heart-thumping climax, you've read a complete portrait of the Russian Far East and the people living in the taiga; surveyed Russian history and particularly the after-effects of Perestroika; delved a bit into anthropology, folklore, biology and conservation; and enjoyed novel-worthy character studies of the main actors (including the tiger) all without once being the least bit bored. Far from it.
If you enjoy travel writing, history, conservation, natural science, action/adventure or ... oh hell, just read this book.
The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, $15.30 at amazon.com.
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