The Tiger by John Vaillant
A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Borzoi Books)

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Synopsis

It’s December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren’t random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again.

As he re-creates these extraordinary events, John Vaillant gives us an unforgettable portrait of this spectacularly beautiful and mysterious region. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshipped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, soldiers and hunters who greatly diminished the tiger populations. And we come to know their descendants, who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching and further upset the natural balance of the region.

This ancient, tenuous relationship between man and predator is at the very heart of this remarkable book. Throughout we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters, and how early Homo sapiens may have fit seamlessly into the tiger’s ecosystem. Above all, we come to understand the endangered Siberian tiger, a highly intelligent super-predator that can grow to ten feet long, weigh more than six hundred pounds, and range daily over vast territories of forest and mountain.

Beautifully written and deeply informative, The Tiger circles around three main characters: Vladimir Markov, a poacher killed by the tiger; Yuri Trush, the lead tracker; and the tiger himself. It is an absolutely gripping tale of man and nature that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the taiga.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About John Vaillant

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John Vaillant is also the author of The Golden Spruce. He has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic, and Men's Journal, among others. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and children.
 
Published August 24, 2010 by Vintage. 353 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Sports & Outdoors, Science & Math, Travel, Action & Adventure, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Tiger

The New York Times

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“Its wan light scatters shadows on the snow below, only obscuring further the forest that this man negotiates now as much by feel as by sight.”

Oct 08 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

The New York Times

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A nonfiction hunting tale set in the wilds of eastern Russia, where a preservation team goes after a rogue cat with a taste for humans.

Oct 08 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

NPR

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In December 1997, a tiger prowled the outskirts of a small town in Russia's Far East. In his book The Tiger, John Vaillant re-creates the events of that terrifying winter in an environment where man and tiger live side-by-side.

Sep 14 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

The Washington Times

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''The Tiger" is a tale of the Wild East with all the power, energy and terror that once animated our own Wild West. The action takes place in Russia's southeastern province of Primorye by the East Sea/Japan Sea, not far from the Chinese border.

Sep 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

The Washington Post

Though it's the world's largest and deadliest cat, the tiger does not have an easy life.

Aug 29 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

Christian Science Monitor

This nonfiction account of a man tracking a tiger in Russia’s far east reads like a detective story.

Aug 31 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

Pajiba

But the book basically reads like a textbook, so if you’re not okay with that, then it’s probably not a book for you.

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Oregon Live

Soon after consuming Markov, the tiger devours a young hunter, Andrei Pochepnya, and also nearly kills Yuri Trush, a tracker with Inspection Tiger, an outfit tasked with combating crimes involving tigers, which usually means disarming poachers but which now means pursuing an atypically vengeful k...

Sep 18 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

The difference with Markov’s killing is that the tiger was lying in wait for him at his cabin and when Markov returned, instead of running away which would have been the natural thing for the tiger to do, it attacked him.

Dec 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

Bookmarks Magazine

Steve Weinberg Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars "[T]o those of us who love the embattled cat, The Tiger offers the emotional satisfaction of Quentin Tarantino's film Kill Bill--with the tiger in the role of Uma Thurman's vengeful bride.

Sep 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

M/C Anderson

Cinema: Jack Reacher Michael Dalton - Added Thursday, January 03 @ 18:41:04 EST (170 reads) Reviewed by Peter Gray Given that the character of Jack Reacher has been around since 1997 when he was first introduced through Lee Childs’ novel ‘Killing Floor’ and has a se...

Sep 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Tiger: A True Story of Ve...

Kepler's

What happens when the order of hunter and prey are flipped?

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Reader Rating for The Tiger
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