No more than a few thousand tigers survive in pockets of Asia, a continent they once roamed far and wide. The largest of them, the Siberian tiger, is today almost entirely confined to the little-populated Russian Far East, a region that may offer the species' best hope for survival. But the implosion of the Soviet Union intensified poaching and habitat depredation, prompting a group of Russian researchers and U.S. wildlife biologists led by Maurice Hornocker to join forces to stave off extinction. Peter Matthiessen brings to the Siberian tiger the deep knowledge of and feeling for the natural world that have made classics of his previous books. Accompanying researchers into the field, he allows the reader to participate vicariously in the battle for the tiger's future. Along the way, he tells how the species evolved and evokes its crucial, often totemic role in human cultures and mythologies. He has made of the tiger's dilemma a drama-underscored by Hornocker's one-of-a-kind photographs-that conveys powerfully what a loss to our collective imagination the disappearance of these great cats would be.