Tiger Wars (The Falcon Chronicles)
London, Orion, 2012, 243p
Saker cannot remember who he is or where he has come from, but he knows he is on the run. In the forests of northern India, he is being tracked by dogs and a dangerous clan of boys, trained to hunt and kill.
Sinter is angry with her father - he is trying to marry her off to a rich doctor with no concern of what Sinter might want for herself. She runs into the forest to get some space, but accidentally finds herself caught up with Saker, on the run from a deadly enemy. Together, travel the length of India into China, slowly uncovering the reason why the clan are on the hunt - the most powerful and valuable predator of all, the tiger.
Tiger Wars is an action-packed adventure that never lets up. Saker is a highly skilled jungle expert, and his survival skills comes in handy at every turn. But Sinter is also a force to be reckoned with, fiery and practical, with a great knowledge of medicine to help them along.
I found this novel a little difficult to get into at the start - the sentences and paragraphs are incredibly long and quite poorly structured, which I think might put off a reluctant reader, even though they are the ideal audience for this story. It was dense to trawl through in places, even when the action was at it's peak, but I did enjoy the journey and characterisation.
Steve Backshall has a unique and fascinating knowledge base (survival, wildlife, georgraphy, medicine, science) that shines through in Tiger Wars. The novel is packed with factual information, but it is presented as part of the story so feels like a natural and beneficial addition to the text. The story is full of exotic locations and strange wildlife, with a strong environmental message in support of endangered species, leaving the reader with a love and respect for the magnificent tiger.