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Publisher's Summary

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 19th and early 20th 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 10 feet long, weigh more than 600 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.

©2010 John Vaillant (P)2010 Random House

Critic Reviews

“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 to explain how the Amur tiger went from being worshipped to being poached.” (Publishers Weekly)
The Tiger is the sort of book I very much like and rarely find.... In addition to tiger lore and scalding adventure, Vaillant shows us Russia’s far east and its inhabitants, their sometimes desperate lives interwoven with the economics of poaching and the politics of wildlife conservation. I was startled to learn about the zapovedniks and Russia’s primary place in global conservation. This is a book not only for adventure buffs, but for all of us interested in wildlife habitat preservation.” (Annie Proulx)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I could't even finish the book

Any additional comments?

If you are a hunter and like Nonfiction... go for it.... not my type of book.

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Tantalising

My father mentioned this book to me in 2010 and how much he enjoyed it. I too have a love and interest in tigers. I have tried to read it several times, over the past five years, but other things such as small children and illness have detoured my efforts. Thank goodness for audibles; now I have the enjoyment of listening to books like this intriguing tale of the Amour tiger, the beauty and hardship of Eastern Russia, and the intertwined relationship of tiger, man, and environment. All of this swirling in my head between my ears as I clean the house, do laundry, drive my 30 min commute to work, or while I am hiking in the forrest surrounding my neighborhood. It was wonderfully written and read.

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A great book!

The Tiger is definitely among my ten most favorite books. I highly recommend it to anyone.

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  • Story

1990s russia with a little Tiger thrown in

What disappointed you about The Tiger?

I thought I purchased a book about a killer tiger but instead I got a sociopolitical lesson on Russia

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not sure......I am a little gun shy at the moment from getting burned on this book. I think I will just listed to my podcasts for a few days.

Would you be willing to try another one of John Vaillant’s performances?

absolutely not!

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

boredom

Any additional comments?

I lasted 7 chapters and decided to cut my losses. I promised myself, if the next chapter starts off with anything other than the actual story that was promised, I have to walk away. If you dig hearing about Russian politics and economics, then this book is for you. If you are expecting "Jaws" in the jungle, don't bother. Unless you are a Russian history major, this book is actually dangerous to listen to while driving, because the risk of falling asleep is high. Scratch 1 credit on this one.

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The Best So Far

What did you love best about The Tiger?

On the surface a book of tigers, but behind the words you'll uncover the meaning of existence. Our individual struggles to survive, thrive and prosper against the backdrop of limited resources. You are at once the tiger and the hunter. Great listen not to be missed.

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  • Story

Great story with monotonous narration

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The narration is the same pattern disregarding the words or sentence structure. It is very difficult to listen to without getting stuck on the patterned sing-song narration that distracts from the story.

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  • Story
  • RB
  • 08-07-14

Wild, Rich and Deep Like the Tiger Herself

What did you love best about The Tiger?

The descriptions of the tiger were amazing, but the degree to which you get a feel for the persons, biology and history of the region is amazing.

What did you like best about this story?

The essentials of the story are very short, and quite exciting and interesting. The entirety of the book arises from the authors masterful use of history and background to create a vast tapestry depicting millennia.

Which character – as performed by John Vaillant – was your favorite?

It's not a novel

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but it's too long to do so. I listened to it in three sittings.

Any additional comments?

Wonderful -- much better than I anticipated. Listen if you are interested in Tigers, wilderness, Russia, or just curious about the world. <br/><br/>Also, check out the movie "Happy People, A Year in the Taiga," an amazing film about people living in the same region as The Tiger.

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What man has in common with Tigers

Fascinating learning on the tiger and Taiga (environment), Russia & China (geopolitical analysis) and people and hunters (storying-telling): all wrapped up in one.

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  • Carrie
  • Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 03-05-13

A moving story told with passion by the author

Would you listen to The Tiger again? Why?

It was a wonderful, moving story told with heart. You could feel the cold of Russia almost down to your bones when listening and yet also feel the warmth and drive for survival.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The tiger who came alive in John Valiant's words in a way I would never have imagined was possible.

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Extraordinary story

The author wraps the main story in a helix-like net of fascinating facts about animals, geography, politics and so much more. His writing is dazzling and the narration excellent.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful