The Tiger, By John Vaillant

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The Independent Culture

A nature writer living in Vancouver, Vaillant crossed the Pacific to study the trail of havoc and death left in winter 1997 by one of the 450 or so Siberian – or Amur - tigers still wild in the "boreal jungle" of Russia's lawless Far East.

This traumatised top cat has broken the laws of the forest to prey on the human hunters whose space it once, peaceably, shared. Why?

With the forest guard - ecologists, but with guns - we join the pursuit of a freakish, fatal "were-tiger".

Enriched by sparkling sidetracks into nature and history, this enthralling true-crime narrative takes us on a snowbound search not only for a beast, but for a motive.

Like its superb quarry, Vaillant's book moves with grace and stealth, covers a vast terrain - and shakes the observer's soul.