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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.  

Primorye, a remote forested region near to where Russia, China and North Korea meet in a tangle of barbed wire, is the only place where brown bears, tigers and leopards co-exist. It is also home to one of nature's rarest birds, the Blakiston's fish owl. A chance encounter with this huge, strange bird was to change wildlife researcher Jonathan C. Slaght's life beyond measure.  

This is the story of Slaght's quest to safeguard the elusive owl from extinction. During months-long journeys covering thousands of miles, he has pursued it through its forbidding territory. He has spent time with the Russians who struggle on in the harsh conditions of the taiga forest. And he has observed how Russia's logging interests and evolving fortunes present new threats to the owl's survival. Preserving its habitats will secure the forest for future generations, both animal and human - but can this battle be won? 

Exhilarating and clear-sighted, Owls of the Eastern Ice is an impassioned reflection on our relationship with the natural world and on what it means to devote one's career to a single pursuit.

©2020 Jonathan C. Slaght (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Remarkable. If only every endangered species had a guardian angel as impassioned, courageous and pragmatic as Jonathan Slaght." (Isabella Tree, author of Wilding)

"Slaght makes the people, wildlife and landscape of the Russian Far East come alive. I haven't enjoyed a book on remote Russia as much as this since Ian Frazier's Travels in Siberia." (Sophy Roberts, author of The Lost Pianos of Siberia)

"True epic. Powerful, passionate." (Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast

What listeners say about Owls of the Eastern Ice

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Transportive, considered, illustrative

Jonathan C. Slaght Ph.D voices his book and makes for a compelling performer. Slaght’s skill full wordplay paints a literary picture of frozen landscapes, Russian folklore and mighty Fish Owls. This is an excellent book and Slaght’s passion for wildlife and the natural world shine through.

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Captivating and vivid

A story of passion. At times I felt transported to another world - so far away from my own city living. Very thankful we don’t have the technology to convey the smells tho - much appreciation for the author enduring the various hardships to make a positive impact on the world.

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Hugely enjoyable listen

Seamlessly weaving together science, characters and landscape, this book is an evocative and captivating listen. The science is in-depth and satisfying without ever becoming dry. One of those books in which the nature writing is so good that your imagination can easily do the rest, transporting you deep into the forests of Primorye.

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  • KT
  • 29-03-21

Evocative storytelling of frontline conservation

A fascinating read and insight into frontline conservation in a difficult region with all its discomfort and challenges. Really enjoyed that it was read by the author whose narration of the book was perfect. I’m not a scientist; this is a book for everyone.

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A beautiful book

I loved to follow rivers and struggle through snow in search of the maginificent fish owls. This book is both very very well written and - -read. The story unfolds at a perfect pace and every part of the project is so fascinating to follow. I will never forget the fish owls!

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An insight into field research and far east Russia

Really enjoyed travelling with the author as his researching into this rare bird develops over many seasons. The book features a rich cast of characters and venues that will have you scouring Google Maps for context, while you learn a little about how field research is conducted, and how much effort goes into protecting our environment. You don't need to be any kind of bird fan to read this, it's simply a well told adventure.

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Informative, engaging, pleasant

Personal account of the work and dedication that goes into wild life protection. For me it was also interesting to learn about a remote region, and a species that I had never heard about before, and that at times seemed to strange that a fiction writer couldn't have made it up.