The Tiger is a gripping read with all the elements of a thriller, but its drama is based entirely on a real-life incident. For several weeks in 1997, a man-eating tiger terrorized a small village in a remote region of eastern Russia. The book chronicles the hunt for the murderous beast, but it's also an account of the social and economic forces that played a part in the situation.
The Tiger was a contender for Canada Reads 2012, when it was defended by Anne-France Goldwater.
Shortly after dark on the afternoon of December 5, 1997, an urgent message was relayed to a man named Yuri Trush at his home in Luchegorsk, a mid-sized mining town in Primorye Territory in Russia's Far East, not far from the Chinese border. Primorye (Pri-mor-ya) is, among other things, the last stronghold of the Siberian tiger, and the official on the line had some disturbing news: a man had been attacked near Sobolonye, a small logging community located in the deep forest, sixty miles northeast of Luchegorsk. Yuri Trush was the squad leader of an Inspection Tiger unit, one of six in the territory whose purpose was to investigate forest crimes, specifically those involving tigers. Because poachers were often involved, these included tiger attacks. As a result, this situation — whatever it might entail — was now Trush's problem and, right away, he began preparing for the trip to Sobolonye.
From The Tiger: A True Tale of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant ©2010. Published by Random House of Canada.