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The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  22 reviews
A true-crime adventure about a rogue who trades in rare birds and their eggs—and the wildlife detective determined to stop him.

On May 3, 2010, an Irish national named Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at Britain’s Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  70 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: olr-reviews
The below review originally appeared on Open Letters Review.

Packing for a flight can be stressful. Fitting all of a trip’s necessities into a bag that falls below an airline’s weight limit is often challenging for the overpackers among us. One savvy flier in 2010 found a way around this modern concern by testing out an innovative concept: taping his cargo to his body. The only problem? This man was actually acting as a human incubator for fourteen eggs of the bird of prey species, the peregrine
Cindy Burnett
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer is a fascinating read about a man, Jeffrey Lendrum, who spent his life stealing and smuggling rare bird eggs and UK Detective Andy McWilliam who eventually brought Lendrum to justice. The story is a mix of adventure, history, and true crime and provides a glimpse into the world of rare bird and rare bird egg obsession. The Falcon Thief spans the globe from the Middle East to Canada
Thomas Kelley
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The authors desire to write this book occurred after reading an article in the newspaper about a thief who had stolen falcon eggs and had jumped bail. He did not believe that there is a black market that has the potential for someone to make a lot of money. But with a little research this book came about. When I read the description of this book it was one I could not wait to get my hands on it.

The majority of this book follows two individuals one being Andy McWilliam who is a police officer who
Talk about a breathlessly-paced adventure story that is 100% true. This is the kind of bloodless true crime I find utterly fascinating and engaging, and this book would be a perfect one to pass along to fans of The Feather Thief.

In May 2010, Jeffrey Lendrum was arrested in the UK at an airport after a security guard in one of the lounges thought something suspicious was going on. Lendrum had left his partner in the lounge while he went into the bathroom for twenty minutes. The guard went in
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
There were bits of this book I found fascinating - the history of falconry and when it's evolved into today, as well as the obsessive nature of oology. I was unimpressed by the sympathetic picture the author painted of Jeffrey Lendrum, a white man born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) who demonstrated a callous and unfeeling attitude toward the very species he proclaimed to love.

Wildlife crime is complex and has implications for thousands of endangered species around the globe, and those who
Maxwell Thomas
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Falcon Thief is as fast paced of a read as the peregrine falcon flies (nearly 200mph!) Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at the airport and was found with fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs strapped to his stomach, meant to be sold to wealthy sheikhs in the middle-east for falcon races.

Joshua Hammer's book follows Lendrum's repeated wildlife smuggling crimes, the detective Andy McWilliam who sought out egg thieves like Lendrum for years before encountering him, and a thorough history of
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The reader of Falcon Thief actually has two exciting narratives. Joshua Hammer takes you into the Middle East world of falcon racing. Here, procuring the fastest and most exotic bird pays bettors handsomely. But it also calls upon falcon owners to find the best birds. These are often in remote places, hard to get and on the top of endangered species lists. The owners do not usually go after these birds….so an underground market developed. This is the crux of the other narrative. Who are these ...more
Kayla Mckinney
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Joshua Hammer's The Falcon Thief holds its own in the group of environmental crime tales that include Jessica Speart's Winged Obsession and John Vaillant's Golden Spruce. Hammer introduces readers to the arts of falconry and oology (the study and collection of eggs), the history of raptors in the UK, the history of falconry in the Middle East, and the effects of pesticides in birds (especially falcons, who eat others birds) worldwide.

Of the thieves themselves, Hammer writes that their audacious
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Falcon Thief by Joshua Hammer records much of the life of a man who steals the eggs of endangered species from their nests as well as the man determined to stop him. It encompasses many subject areas: a description of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the history of falconry both in Europe and the Arab Emirates, the frightening effects of DDT on bird populations and the environment, the life cycles of peregrines and other falcons and international wildlife preservation laws. The author shifts focus ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to read this book! I met some Falcons and their handlers when I was living in Germany, the birds are beautiful and falconry seemed very interesting but I had no idea. This book was a fascinating look at the birds, their habits & habitats, the sports they are involved in, collecting ( of both birds & eggs), collectors and market. All of that information is given in a very intriguing narrative style.
Cindy H.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Gifted to me from NetGalley. Falconry is an ancient Arabic art dating back thousands of centuries and the history attached is absolutely fascinating. Who knew that the crown price of Dubai in the early 1990’s would bring the sport of falconry back into vogue and in the process unwittingly create a hotbed of illegal activities. For fans of The Feather Thief and The Dragon Behind The Glass, The Falcon Thief is an egg-cellent true crime caper ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for providing me with an advanced copy of "The Falcon Thief" to review. I enjoyed this book. It was a thorough and entertaining account of the lives of a serial egg thief and a wildlife law enforcement official. The collection and theft of rare bird eggs is a rather off the beaten path topic but Hammer turned it into an educational and interesting read.
Darren Pearce
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well written journey into the dark world of falcon poaching. Good balance of historical background into the sport of falcon hunting and how it has created a market for wild birds together with the life story of the falcon thief. It captures the elements of his character that make him likeable without crossing the line of condoning his crimes.
Chelsea Kapaun
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
I am constantly shocked by the things people are bold enough to attempt! And even more astonished when they get away with these crazy crimes! This was an interesting and different sort of true crime. Not bloody, but still kind of tragic. I enjoyed listening to this book a lot!
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Quite a thief and quite an interesting story about him and the agents who caught him (repeatedly!).
David V.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Received as an ARC from the publisher. Started 1-26-20. Finished 1-31-20. Excellent, well-researched book about the theft of falcons and/or their eggs for transport and sale to wealthy buyers in other parts of the world, notably Arab royals where falconry is big business. The reader learns about falcons and other falcon-type birds; their nesting habits, and the thieves who smuggle these creatures, often resulting in their deaths before reaching the destination. The book centers on Detective Andy ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a story about the theft of falcon eggs from nests in the wild. They are sold to the Saudis interesting
Aaron Cohen
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Standard true-crime fare, leaning much more heavily toward caper than violence, which was a nice change of pace. I learned a lot about birds in this one. Audiobook was nice, very British.
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I find these true crime/non-fiction books utterly fascinating! Fans of The Feather Thief, The Orchid Thief, The Library Book, or H is for Hawk will enjoy this read.
Compelling narrative non-fiction true crime.
Mary Robinson
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well written true crime account of a man who traffics in rare bird eggs, in part to smuggle birds of prey to the middle east. Character studies of the thief, the crime fighters and others are spread throughout. Includes interesting history on egg collecting, falconry, and endangered species. Recommended for fans of non-fiction, especially by authors such as Eric Larson and Susan Orlean.
Brian Catlett
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Feb 21, 2020
Jake Maren
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Feb 20, 2020
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Jan 22, 2020
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Feb 13, 2020
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Feb 20, 2020
John Dimoia
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Feb 13, 2020
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Jan 15, 2020
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Joshua Hammer was born in New York and educated at Horace Mann and Princeton University, graduating with a BA in English literature. In 1988 he joined Newsweek Magazine as a business and media writer, transitioning to the magazine's foreign correspondent corps in 1992. Hammer served, successively, as bureau chief in Nairobi, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Berlin, Jerusalem, and Cape Town, and also was ...more