cover image Spell of the Tiger CL

Spell of the Tiger CL

Sy Montgomery1. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $22.95 (230pp) ISBN 978-0-395-64169-9

Sundarbans is a tidal forest, a vast mangrove swamp stretching between India and Bangladesh on the Bay of Bengal. Subject to devastating cyclones, it is infested with deadly snakes, crocodiles, sharks and more tigers than any other contiguous tract in the world. Here, tigers stalk and eat humans, about 300 every year. They swim in the sea and leap into boats to grab fishermen, or pounce on honey-gatherers and woodcutters in the forest. Montgomery (Walking With the Great Apes) made three trips to Sundarbans to study the tigers. She obtained firsthand accounts of killings and discovered that the people regard tigers as magic beings-feared but not hated, worshiped but not loved. The tiger god is called Daksin Ray. Montgomery provides a vivid picture of the coastal forest and its people, and takes us on a magical journey where nature, humans and myth coalesce. (Feb.)