The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

Written by:
John Vaillant
Narrated by:
John Vaillant

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
August 2010
12 hours 6 minutes
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.
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Was wishing the narrator had a more rough relatable voice to match the story, but I guess he wrote it so whatcha gonna do. Good read, or listen.

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Robert Brkic

Great book that does a fantastic job at painting a picture of Russia, Tigers, and survival. Some of it sounded like propaganda but it wasn't too overbearing and didn't detract from the story significantly. While highlighting corruption and political evil in Russia it meanders off coarse at times. The narration was also quite dry to the point that characters almost blended together and it was hard to discern who was who. The efforts to point out conservation concerns and the struggle of those in the field were very grim and realistic. The book does a great job at highlighting an absolutely unfathomable situation in those struggling to get by and coexist with nature in the Taiga. A little more life by the narrator during tense moments would have been nice but regardless this was a great read and I'd recommend it to anyone.

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