A rollicking true-crime adventure about a rogue who trades in rare birds and their eggs—and the wildlife detective determined to stop him.
On May 3, 2010, an Irish national named Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at Britain’s Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside in Wales.
So begins a tale almost too bizarre to believe, following the parallel lives of a globetrotting smuggler who spent two decades capturing endangered raptors for royals in the United Arab Emirates—where falcon races have multimillion-dollar purses and a champion bird might just be worth risking prison for—and Detective Andy McWilliam of the United Kingdom’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, who’s determined to protect the world’s birds of prey from one of the most irrepressible predators of our time.
The Falcon Thief whisks readers from the volcanoes of Patagonia to Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park, and from the frigid tundra near the Arctic Circle to luxurious aviaries in the deserts of Dubai, all in pursuit of a man who is reckless, arrogant, and gripped by a destructive compulsion to make the most beautiful creatures in nature his own. It’s a story that’s part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure—and wholly unputdownable until the very last page.
Joshua Hammer is the New York Times bestselling author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Outside. He lives in Berlin.
“This book moves like a falcon: sleek and fast. It’s an absorbing story of a thief, an obsession, and an astounding bird.” — Russell Shorto, New York Times bestselling author of Revolution Song and The Island at the Center of the World
“Middle Eastern Sheiks. 180 mph apex predators. An agile and fearless, globe-trotting obsessive dangling beneath helicopters and slipping through borders from Patagonia to the high Arctic. The Falcon Thief is more than just a ripping page turner; it is a cautionary tale about what happens when our most precious wildlife becomes status symbol in our diminishing natural world.” — Carl Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Wild Men of Borneo and Savage Harvest