In the rugged Primorye region of Russia's Far East, people have shared the Boreal Forest with Amur (or Siberian) tigers for hundreds of years. "If I don't touch her," the local saying goes, "she won't touch me." But in December 1997, that delicate arrangement was threatened when a poacher named Markov shot a tiger at close range, wounding its leg. Over the next several days, the tiger carried out what seemed like a vendetta, tracking, harassing, and eventually killing the poacher.
Enter Inspection Tiger, a forest police unit, responsible for monitoring the tiger population, catching poachers, and responding to tiger attacks in the area. Led by Yuri Trush, a principled, unflappable tracker, Inspection Tiger must anticipate the tiger's next move because, wounded and unable to hunt its usual prey, it is more dangerous than ever.
Vaillant's vivid writing brings this remote and little-known region of the world to life. He not only tells a suspenseful and riveting adventure story, but skillfully weaves in threads involving animal behavior, nature conservation, and the devastating effects of perestroika on Russia's remote, rural areas. Fans of titles as different as Temple Grandin's Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals, Mike Capuzzo's Close to Shore: A True Story of Terror in an Age of Innocence, and Tom Rob Smith's Child 44 will find much to like here.