(This is the first book I am reviewing for the Challenge, initiated by Mliae.If you would like to endorse this interesting concept , do visit her blog!)
This book is a racy read. Jim Corbett is a fine storyteller, who writes in simple language, recreating the scene with utmost vivacity. He talks about the episodes that entail hunting down the leopard which has become a man eater.(He has been sent by the officials of the erstwhile British Indian Empire to save the people by hunting down the leopard) Why did the leopard become a man-eater? Because there was once a horrible incident of plague and many dead bodies had to be disposed of downhill(the place Rudrapayag lies in the foothills of the Himalayas) The leopard having tasted human flesh that time got addicted to it, and now it has started attacking the people in the villages of the hill.
The leopard hunts at night. This is the period around 1925.Technology hasn’t yet reached in these parts of the hills. People still live in huts, use kerosene lamps to light up during nights, and have to go into the wild to fetch water. Additionally, Rudraprayag lies en route the pilgrim road that links Haridwar to Badrinath, hence the travelling pilgrims often take halt there and stay at pilgrim quarters, which are nothing but open shades.
Now imagine what if a man-eating leopard is operating in such an area.People are vulnerable, unsafe and unarmed. The leopard is wicked, ferocious, powerful, and has become clever over the years – how to outwit human beings and hunt them down.
The hills are rugged. There are no roads yet on which vehicles run. These dirt paths are mostly travelled on foot. The leopard is killing humans within an area of 500 square miles. This expanse of landscape also includes a wide river in between, connected by a hanging bridge. Now this is a really vast area when you can only travel by foot. While the leopard is in a man hunting spree, sometimes attacking in a village 50 miles away from its previous kill. There is no phone or telegram system within the village. An attack can only be reported to the patwari by a man carrying the news by himself, walking on foot, or riding a horse at best.
Jim Corbett narrates this exciting story of hunting down this dangerous beast, which escapes his many traps and gun shots. Perhaps the leopard mocks Corbett for his fragility. It even tries to attack Corbett several times in sinister ways!
If you love reading adventure and thriller and also have the interest to know about new places, do read it.Jim Corbett writes eloquently. He will also help you get a tour of the beautiful villages in the foothills of the Himalayas. He talks about the innocence, humility and the rich culture of people in these hills of India with reverence and sincerity. He always calls them “Our people”, despite himself being a foreigner.He elucidates this elaborate sequence of events while his stay in Rudraprayag and how he could finally hunt down this man-eating leopard, which had terrorized the hill people for 8 long years.