Today’s team review is from Sue. She blogs here https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/
Sue has been reading The Last Tiger by Anthony Lavisher
Following on the heels of the Covid19 pandemic, a feline ‘flu has been raging and claiming the lives of millions of domestic and big cats around the globe. It is believed that tigers are now extinct, but imagine if one had survived? How much money would that be worth to anyone who could lay claim to it?
Set in the near present, the action begins as Jon Galnia, a multi-billionaire nefarious business tycoon and Mafia Don, is on his private jet, about to crash over India, since its engines have failed due to suspected sabotage.
Shortly thereafter Jon finds himself stranded in the Indian jungle. His underhanded business dealings have made him enemies, and he suspects the Russians he had just been visiting are behind this attempt at his life. Or perhaps it could be one of the rival mafia families who would like him out of the way. He has plenty of time to ponder who might want him dead as he fights his way through the jungle in his inappropriate expensive clothing and shoes.
The prose of this novel reads very smoothly as the jungle scene is set. There is a wealth of descriptive detail as Jon makes his way through the jungle:
Coloured birds swooped through the jungle, screeching warnings and flashing their long tails as they glided away from him. There were other sounds, too, and fleeting glimpses of agile, long-tailed and white-furred monkeys that leapt through the tree canopy around him and fell silent as he passed them by, watching curiously, as if to say ‘What are you doing here, pale face?’
Jon realises he must put aside thoughts of revenge for the time being and concentrate on his survival. Like most mafiosos, he is not a very likeable person. He is worried more about the compensation he will need to pay the widow of his dead co-pilot than whether anyone else survived, and he admits to himself that he barely ever thanks anyone. His billions have been accumulated by dishonest means.
The pilot Robert Williams has also survived as has Sara Gonzalez, the flight attendant. They are captured and held against their will by a group of violent mercenaries who they assume are searching for their employer, Jon.
Meanwhile a day later Jon falls down a steep jungle slope towards a stream, eager to finally drink and finds himself in the vicinity of a tiger. Probably the last tiger on Earth due to the deadly virus, which was passed onto felines by birds infected by avian flu:
Jon blinked, shaking the sun from his eyes. On the cusp of the jungle, beyond the creek, past the rocks and boulders, he could see the beast, laying in the shade, watching him with huge orbs of liquid amber.
The tiger’s foot is caught in a snare and he frees it but in doing so he is caught on camera.
There is more to this situation than meets the eye and Lavisher shows his knowledge of the workings of Indian politics as we delve deeper into the background of the tiger’s planned capture and the no fly zone over the Madhya Pradesh. First secretary Aasim Rana has secrets he wants to remain hidden. Galnia may well have unwittingly just set the tiger among the pigeons, and messed up the Prime Minister of India’s best laid plans.
Jon the Don and the tiger are not the only predators in the jungle and not the most dangerous ones either. Someone is hunting both him and the tiger and if either of them gets caught it will not end well for them. The author builds the sense of apprehension expertly as Jon picks his way through the jungle looking for civilization, not knowing who is on his trail. Could it be people working for those who sabotaged his jet? Or something totally unrelated? Poachers angry that he freed their prize? The corrupt Indian government, unhappy to have interlopers in their cherished wildlife reserve? After finding signs of violence and murder, Jon is certain it is not a rescue party responding to the crash of his plane.
The plot thickens with the introduction of a large cast of characters, and the tension rises as we discover more about the political machinations driving this intriguing story. There are some brutally violent scenes to be aware of for readers who are faint of heart, but they are not gratuitous when in the context of a story concerning kidnap and starring mercenaries and a Mafia Don. If you are OK with such things then I would definitely recommend reading this thriller with its highly original premise.
Jon Galnia is a husband, a father, a Mafia Don, a man who believes that Fate and Destiny are two sides of the same fickle coin. Rich beyond his wildest dreams, his inherited empire expands beyond America, far beyond the streets of his bloody playground, currently far beyond the reach of the authorities desperate to pin even a traffic violation on him.
Fate is about to intervene.
Plucked from the sky by those who hate him, or perhaps by those who want what he has, Jon’s private jet crashes in central India, sabotaged by fate, though, perhaps, guided by destiny. Unbeknownst to him, Jon is about to play a daring hand in an even bigger power struggle, one that will shock the world and, perhaps more importantly, the self-centred, ruthless Don.
A tale of corruption, of adventure and heroism, The Last Tiger is a thrilling tale of one man’s quest for survival and his uncertain hand on the pages of history.