The Siberian tiger is the largest cat on earth. Maintaining a territory of up to 500 square miles in one of the harshest environments in the world requires an epic memory and ruthless punishment of all infractions. Creating fear of reprisal is as important to the tiger’s success as actually carrying it out. I was intrigued by how this characteristic of the Siberian tiger has defined both animal and human societies in the region. I had to visit this tiger’s habitat, and experience the extremes of temperature and scarcity that it has evolved to dominate.
Not a natural traveller I was, frankly, terrified to undertake the trip. In deep snow and temperatures of -35C I learned how to track the tigers and view them on camera trap. What I didn’t anticipate was the glimpse I gained into how people and wild animals coexist in this barely touched corner of the globe. I encountered human toughness and ingenuity that matched the tiger’s, and understood how interdependence between humans and animals is absolutely essential to the survival of both.
The tigers and the people of my novel, whilst my fictional creations, are as real as I can make them. When you have read Tiger, you will know something of how to track and how to survive in the wilderness. Most of all I hope you experience the tiger as it really is, and love it as I do.