“In this vigorous, you-are-there natural history, Jonathan C. Slaght takes us on a heroic quest through one of the planet’s most fascinating and least explored ecoregions. Somewhere in this wintry world inhabited by tigers and bears, poachers and mystics, lurks an enormous owl all but unknown to the outside world. Slaght’s account of his intrepid search for this elusive creature is matched only by his portraits of the humans who share that same forest.” —John Vaillant, author of The Tiger
“I loved Jonathan C. Slaght’s Owls of the Eastern Ice. It is a riveting adventure with one of the rarest and most fascinating birds in one of the remotest regions of the globe, with most interesting people.” —Bernd Heinrich, author of Ravens in Winter
“In Owls of the Eastern Ice, biologist Jonathan C. Slaght shares a world few outside the Russian Far East have ever even heard of—a harsh land of frozen rivers and snowy forests, hungry tigers, radioactive hot springs, weird hermits, and, lording over it all, the largest and most mysterious of all owls. Part scientific exploration, part adventure story, it is at its heart a rumination on learning the heart of a wilderness to save it.” —Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind
“Until Jonathan C. Slaght, the world’s largest owls were mythic, seldom-seen forest phantoms. With this book, Slaght takes us with him to the wild and remote forests of the Russian Far East on a quest to track and study Blakiston’s fish owls. It is an absorbing account, richly detailed and gracefully written with humor and empathy. Owls of the Eastern Ice is a superb narrative devoted to the natural history and conservation of a rare and beautiful species.” —George B. Schaller, author of The Deer and the Tiger
“It’s said that there are two kinds of great stories—a stranger comes to town, and a person goes on a journey. Slaght’s brilliant book is the latter, a gripping tale of his quest to find—and save—one of the world’s most magnificent creatures. Along the way, we get a rare inside view of a land, a people, an elusive owl, and ultimately, the human spirit. Anyone who loves birds, science, travel, or just a riveting read will love this book.”
—Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Genius of Birds
“Owls of the Eastern Ice is thrilling, high-spirited adventure that beautifully evokes Russia’s Far East and the strange, hardy beings, both human and wild, who inhabit it. Jonathan C. Slaght survives swift rivers, rapacious poachers, and ungodly quantities of cheap vodka in his heroic quest to protect the Blakiston’s fish owl, a creature that’s as wondrous and fierce as the landscape it haunts. Slaght’s story won’t just make you fall in love with a bird you’ve never seen, it will give you a new appreciation for the tenacity and resourcefulness of wildlife biologists on both sides of the Pacific.” —Ben Goldfarb, winner of 2019 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
In Owls of the Eastern Ice, American researcher and conservationist Slaght takes us to the Primoriye region of Eastern Russia, where we join a small team for late-night monitoring missions, on mad dashes across thawing rivers, drink vodka with mystics, hermits, and scientists, and listen to fireside tales of Amur tigers. Most captivating of all are the fish owls themselves: careful hunters, devoted parents, singers of eerie duets, and irrepressible survivors in a harsh and shrinking habitat.
A rare glimpse into the everyday life of a scientist and the subjects of his deep fascination, Owls of the Eastern Ice is a testament to the determination, creativity, and resolve required by field research and a powerful reminder of the beauty, strength, and vulnerability of the natural world.
02 June 2020 from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (USA), and 02 July 2020 from Penguin (UK)
Preorder (Australia): Penguin