Title: The Tiger:A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
Author: John Vaillant
Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: Random House
Edition: Audio Book
Date Completed: 1/8/2011
Setting: Siberian Wilderness
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Tiger is a true story of a 500 pound Amur, Siberian, tiger, weighing some 500 pounds which stalked and killed (3) men in 1997. One man was a poor Russian poacher named Vladimir Markov. Markov had been a struggling beekeeper who turned to poaching, because for the profit factor. Tigers body parts were in high in China. It is believed that Markov at one point wounded the tiger, and that this massive beast actually tracked Markov to a shack where he had been staying and attacked, ripping the man to shreds. Another man Yuri Trush, was a lead tracker whose job it was to hunt down poachers. It was Trush who was also put it charge of the investigation of Markov's death.
As the author recreates the events leading up to the attacks, the reader gets an education on many levels: fascinating background on tigers and other animals, and about how they hunt. Also, interesting information about the Russian Far East expansion. The Primorye Region was a fishing, hunting, logging and mining town between China and the Sea of Japan. I also enjoyed learning about the history of the region dating back to the nineteenth century when Russian settlers, turned to poaching, which resulted in a Siberian tiger population dwindling to only about 400 tigers today.
I wasn't sure that I would enjoy this book when I first heard about it, but that was not the case. The audio book was read by the author who did a great job. I especially loved the descriptions of the landscape, the cultural, and personal background of the people involved. I found myself able to visualize this beautiful, remote, and mysterious region. And, of course, all of the background information of the Siberian tigers was fascinating as well --did you know that the tiger has four-inch, razor sharp claws?
Here is a great video, if interested:
For a more in-depth review of this book, check out Raging Bibliomania; her review is terrific.