I'm headed home this evening to finish a book that I've greatly enjoyed reading this week.
"The Tiger - A True Story of Vengeance and Survival" by John Vailant is the February selection for Duvall Reads book club. I did not choose it, although it was on my (rather long) list of books to watch for. I'm glad that someone else who had enjoyed it put it on our list.
For once, I will have interesting things to add to the conversation as I believe that a tracker will read this engaging book differently than others will.
In 1997, in the wilderness of that narrow finger-like part of Russia that lies between China and the Sea of Japan, teams of professional hunter/trackers went after a confirmed man-eating Amur tiger. The photos of those men show strong, burly guys who all look like they could take on dinosaurs if needed. Some of them had already faced man-killing tigers in previous encounters, and more than one had scars to prove it.
I've tracked the odd cougar in the forests of western Washington. I've never felt particularly afraid of finding the cougar. Of course I've not tracked one with the intent to actually locate the animal...or one that was leaving bloody human body parts along it's trail.
I can't imagine tracking a tiger - any tiger - in the forests of the Taiga. Especially not an injured one that is known to have killed and eaten at least 2 trappers.
I won't give away much of the story, but will say only that it's well researched and told with a storyteller's passion for plot and character development. The book contains some lovely passages tigers and about tracking. And some terrifying ones as well.
As a tracker, the image that will stick with me always is the description of what the men found on the ice on a river near the remains of the second body. Probably only trackers will understand the chill I got reading of the"pale and hairless" tiger scat.
If you enjoy true outdoor tales well told, I recommend you get this book.
Here is one place to buy the book:
(Note that I do receive a small stipend for items purchased through Amazon.com links on this page.)
Links to Cool Sites:
My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books
- Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
- Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
- Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
- Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
- Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries
My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books
- "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
- Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
- "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
- Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
- Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
- Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
- Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"