When Ruth Padel saw an advert for a cheap break to India, she decided to visit what she had always wanted to see: tropical jungle and a wildlife sanctuary. Her impromptu trip was the start of a remarkable two-year journey in search of that most elusive and beautiful animal: the tiger.
Armed with her granny's opera glasses and a pair of Tunisian trainers, she sets off across Asia to ask the question: can the tiger be saved from extinction in the wild? Plunging into leech-infested jungles, she tracks tigers by jeep, by elephant and on foot, from Bangladesh to Bhutan, from China to far-east Russia. The result is a unique blend of natural history, travel literature and memoir, and an intimate portrait of an animal we have loved and feared almost to destruction.
Ruth Padel is an award-winning poet, journalist and broadcaster -- and the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin. She lives in North London with her daughter.