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The Falcon Thief

A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird

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 globe-trotting smuggler who spent two decades capturing endangered raptors worth millions of dollars as race champions—and Detective Andy McWilliam of the United Kingdom’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, who’s hell bent on protecting the world’s birds of prey.

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.

Cordula Krämer

Joshua Hammer is the New York Times bestselling author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu. He has written for The New York Times MagazineGQSmithsonianThe AtlanticThe New YorkerNational Geographic, and Outside. He lives in Berlin.

"Narrator Matthew Lloyd Davies infuses this story of rare-egg theft with all the tension and excitement it deserves. In 2010, a man carrying 14 peregrine falcon eggs was detained at a British airport. This audiobook brings to light Jeffrey Lendrum's career as a smuggler of wild bird eggs destined for rich clients in the Middle East, where falcon racing is popular, especially among the very wealthy. Davies expertly matches his tone to the material, which ranges from breathless adventure, as Lendrum scales cliffs seeking aeries, to the tamer but still fascinating history of falconry, oology, and egg collectors. With perfect pacing, Davies brings every aspect of this exotic story to life: Lendrum himself, the detective who helped convict him, and the underworld of wildlife crime."

– AudioFile Magazine

More books from this author: Joshua Hammer

More books from this reader: Matthew Lloyd Davies