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The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird
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The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird

By Joshua Hammer
368 pages
Paperback
February 2021


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 “vivid tale of obsession and international derring-do” (Publishers Weekly), 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.

“Masterfully constructed” (The New York Times) and “entertaining and illuminating” (The Washington Post), The Falcon Thief will whisk you away 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.

The Falcon Thief practically begs for comparison to Susan Orlean’s 1998 classic The Orchid Thief... After reading this book, one feels sympathy for both the falcon and bustard, and none at all for egg poachers like Lendrum or the falconers who keep them in business.”— Wall Street Journal

“Joshua Hammer’s gripping The Falcon Thief plunges us into the psyche of the wildlife thief and smuggler Jeffrey Lendrum... With the instinct of a hunter himself, Hammer tracks Lendrum’s nefarious career, structuring the story with elegant precision... The suspense and drama leading up to Lendrum’s ultimate undoing are masterfully constructed and the outcome satisfying.”— New York Times

"Thrilling”— Los Angeles Times

"A thrilling story”— Royal Geographic Society

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