424 pages, 136 photos, 20 maps
A tale of one man's obsession with rainforest jewels, this is the story of an impossible dream: a quest to see every one of the world's most elusive avian gems – a group of birds known as pittas – in a single year.
Insightful, compelling and laugh-out-loud funny, this is more than a book about birds. It's a true story detailing the lengths to which a man will go to escape his mid-life crisis. A travelogue with a difference, it follows a journey from the suburban straitjacket of High Wycombe to the steamy, leech-infested rainforests of remotest Asia, Africa and Australia.
Dangerous situations, personal traumas and logistical nightmares threaten The Jewel Hunter's progress. Will venomous snakes or razor-clawed bears intervene? Or will running out of fuel mid-Pacific ultimately sink the mission? The race is on...
"[...] The Jewel Hunter is a story any birder can relate to, whether or not you’ve ever done any sort of big year, or even if you have never heard of pittas. I knew very little about these birds before reading this book, and I had no idea what families the Bold-striped Tit-babbler or Jerdon’s Baza belonged to, much less what they looked like. But it didn’t matter; I still enjoyed reading about them. The Jewel Hunter belongs amongst the best big year/birding adventure books."
- Grant McCreary (30-05-2012), read the full review at The Birder's Library
"[...]This book is an interesting and enjoyable read, and made me want to get out birding, which seems an appropriate benchmark for any bird book."
- Keith Betton, Bulletin of the African Bird Club 18(2), September 2011
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