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The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London

Narrated by: Christopher Skaife
Length: 6 hrs and 38 mins
5 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Summary

The first behind-the-scenes account of life with the ravens at Britain’s most famous national monument.

For centuries, the Tower of London has been home to a group of famous avian residents: the ravens. Each year they are seen by millions of visitors, and they have become as integral a part of the Tower as its ancient stones themselves. But their role is even more important than that - legend has it that if the ravens should ever leave, the Tower will crumble into dust, and great harm will befall the kingdom.

One man is personally responsible for ensuring that such a disaster never comes to pass - the Ravenmaster. The current holder of the position is Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife, and in this fascinating, entertaining and touching book he memorably describes the ravens’ formidable intelligence, their idiosyncrasies and their occasionally wicked sense of humour.

Over the years in which he has cared for the physical and mental well-being of these remarkable birds, Christopher Skaife has come to know them like no one else. They are not the easiest of charges - as he reveals, they are much given to mischief, and their escapades have often led him into unlikely, and sometimes even undignified, situations.

Now, in the first intimate behind-the-scenes account of life with the ravens of the Tower, the Ravenmaster himself shares the folklore, history and superstitions surrounding both the birds and their home. The result is a compelling, inspiring and irreverent story that will delight and surprise anyone with an interest in British history or animal behaviour.

©2018 Christopher Skaife (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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    5 out of 5 stars
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You'll never underestimate a raven again

5 Stars

Ever since first seeing The Crow in 2004 I've always been fascinated by ravens and my dad worked at the Tower of London as a chef at some point, likely before I was born so when I discovered this book I just had to listen to it. I expected to like it but I ended up loving it!

It's a great balanced mixture of autobiography, history of the Tower and the ravens who reside there as well as a great insight into the raven itself coverings biology and culture as well as the myths and legends surrounding the birds.

I found it fascinating, funny, intriguing, heartwarming and heartbreaking while meeting Chris, learning about how he came to work at the tower and the 7 ravens he looks after and hearing about all their adventures and misadventures together. Christopher 's love, enthusiasm and sense of humour was clear to hear in his narration and that made it a joy to listen to.

Ravens are truly fascinating birds and in some ways, capable of more human traits than the majority of us realise. This book only served to further my fascination with ravens and I hope that I'll get a chance to see them up close one day.

2 people found this helpful

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fantastic

A brilliant insight into these wonderful birds, the ravenmasters life and the amazing tower of London.

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Loved it

Brilliant insight into the life of The Ravenmaster, well written and read, entertaining to the end. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful book. Funny, sad and full of wisdom

It is specially nice to have the author reading his book in his own distinctive Dover-London-Thames accent. That the Ravens – and even the foxes – are treated as they are now under Skaife’s watch is very encouraging.

Maximum stars for the book itself and the narration – but minimum stars for the stupid way the Audible book is set up – with an interview at the end that is tacked onto the book and included in the projected listening time and as additional chapters. It is confusing as you reach the end of the book and need not have been done in that way.

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lovely man lovely story

absolutely bewitching. So interesting and calming. I listen to him every night and envy him

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'Caw-dent' put it down!

Okay, so I know they croak rather than caw but I had to!

From following Christopher and his life with the Ravens through his social media page, I have wanted to read this since he announced it. However, it was only on a whim I downloaded Audible and when considering what first to listen to it was thankfully this title that came to mind.
As a hard-core bird enthusiast, a lover of history and someone interested in hearing how others much different to I live, I adored The Ravenmaster from start to finish.
I don't think I have completed a book so quick in years and I must attribute a lot of that to how well the author read his own story - what a fantastic edition to an already enthralling account.
It was well paced, included a perfect mix of light hearted and somewhat comedic moments with the more serious and important facts.
I highly recommend this to other fans of birds and history.
Thank you Mr Skaife.

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Fantastic

I loved this book so much! Put simply, it’s a joy to listen to. I could have happily listened for hours more!

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Great story - enthusiastically delivered

I've been following the Ravenmaster on Twitter for a while, and as I enjoyed the tweets with pcitures and videos of Merlina, I was all too happy to puchase this book. The story is very enjoyable and delivered with great enthusiasm, that shows the passion of Christopher Skaife for his occupation as well as his love and admiration for the ravens.
It dips enough into history that the listener can learn a bit of history along the way. I gladly give the whole book 5 stars.

Only the interview at the end was in my personal opinion a bit superfluous because the answeres are in the book itself.

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A real insight

Throughly enjoyed listening to this audiobook. A real insight into the life of The Ravenmaster. His passion for his work shines throughout.

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Very entertaining

Great book! You might think it's an odd choice but well worth a listen to

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Profile Image for Eeva Lamminen
  • Eeva Lamminen
  • 07-10-18

A must read for anyone who's interested in ravens

Absolutely loved this book! The history, stories and actual facts of the birds living in The Tower told by their caretaker is a splendid read. Recommending this to anyone who is interested in the peculiarities of the work of Yeoman wards and especially The Ravenmaster.