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Living with the lions
on 20 August 2014
A boy called Kevin grew up the hard way in Johannesburg, South Africa, but from his childhood he had an interest in animals. Back then it was birds but when he grew up he graduated to cats, big cats. He relates the story of his early life with all its knock backs,rebellion and taste for danger.
Coming after that early background his choice to spend his life building hands-on personal relationships with a variety of predators seems almost like settling down. Far from it though. This is a fascinating, exciting and emotional tale of Kevin's life with captive lions and hyenas, how they built up trust between each other and how on occasions that trust broke down temporarily or for ever. Hyena pups sound like little monsters, born walking, vocal and biting. Even as tiny pups they left their mark on Kevin. Not at all like blind, helpless, little dog puppies.
The main stars of this book are Kevin's brothers Napoleon and Tau two young male lions which become fully grown adult males during the course of the narrative. White lions feature too though I would have liked a comment or two on the distinction and interaction between the white lions and the normal brown lions.
My only small reservation with this book is that at times I found it difficult to work out where particular stories fitted into a sequential timeline. The narrative seems to jump about a little bit in time, a continuity issue. However the passion for the theme shines through. It's a compelling read and I enjoyed it very much.