During the 1970s and 1980s the moorlands of England's West Country were prowled by a mysterious cat-like animal which became known as the 'beast of Exmoor'. It made national headlines. At the same time, thousands of miles away a creature, resembling a cougar, was lurking in the Australian bush - a place that shouldn't harbour such animals. 'Savage Shadow' was one man's personal quest to dig deep into the sightings and evidence pertaining to a creature than no-one believed in, an elusive animal that became known as the 'Cordering Cougar'. Journalist David O' Reilly wrote a manuscript concerning his investigations and his work reached a cult status, although 'Savage Shadow' would become a largely forgotten work - until now.
All credit must go to editors Rebecca Lang and Mike Williams for bringing this classic book back to life, and with the help of David's family, we can now look at a mystery that has now become regular newspaper fodder, several decades later. David O' Reilly sadly passed away but his legacy lives on. 'Savage Shadow' is written in an almost naive way, no bad thing because it paints a picture of a time when this sort of subject was dismissed, giving the book an air of mystery as David, without fear, dives in feet first to examine the evidence, interview the witnesses, and come up with some startling conclusions; the fact that large cat-like animals have roamed south-west Australia for more than fifty years.
Photographs are few and far between but do show paw prints, sheep kills and scat, so to those who thought such a mystery was simply confined to the British Isles then think again. 'Savage Shadow' is the perfect precursor to the fantastic 'Australian Big Cats' book, and a work that has stood the test of time because its contents have been relevant for not only five decades previous, but also many years to come.