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The Tourist Trail

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  345 ratings  ·  61 reviews
An environmental novel about endangered species and those who risk their lives to protect them...

Biologist Angela Haynes is accustomed to dark, lonely nights as one of the few humans at a penguin research station in Patagonia. She has grown used to the cries of penguins before dawn, to meager supplies and housing, to spending most of her days in one of the most remote regi
Paperback, 282 pages
Published July 7th 2010 by Byte Level Books (first published June 14th 2010)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  345 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Katie B
3.5 stars

Penguins. That's what got me to read this book. As soon as I read in the synopsis the setting was a penguin research station, I knew I had to check this book out.

Angela Haynes is used to spending most of her time alone. Well, not entirely alone as there are her co-workers at the research station and of course the penguins she spends her days tracking. But given she works in a remote part of the world, it is highly unusual that a strange man seemingly appears out of nowhere on the shore
John Yunker
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I wrote this book. I love this book.
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a rule I read nonfiction to learn. Fiction is for entertainment. In “The Tourist Trail” I found what I wanted and expected. It contains adventure. There are characters you’ll quickly start caring about and a lot of conflict to overcome. You’ll find plenty of romances to spice things up. All the elements of a good thriller are here and, if that’s what you’re looking for, you should come away satisfied.

Fiction, however, can also teach you things that nonfiction can’t. It can help you understand
Rachel Bea
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Tourist Trail is an eco-thriller with romantic tension. To me, a successful eco-thriller should have both mystery and suspense while exploring environmental conflicts. The Tourist Trail delivered on all these fronts. I happened to finish up this novel at the start of Whale Week, which couldn't be more fitting since the story revolves around whale activists. Throughout the novel, the perspectives switch between Angela, a naturalist studying penguins, and Robert, a federal agent whose mission ...more
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Finally! A cool story about "eco-terrorists" that's well written. Great plot, fascinating setting,and very well-written characters with strong personalities that ring very true. Plus, it has penguins in it!
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I confess, I am guilty of judging books by their cover. The cover of The Tourist Trail is quiet and unassuming. A bunch of penguins coming out of their perches in the ground, doesn't scream "ADVENTURE" to me. Glad to know I was wrong.

Biologist Angela Haynes lives in her own little world. She spends her days at a research station--The Tourist Trail-- in Patagonia counting and observing the behaviors of penguins. Angela lives in a world with little human contact or deep human relationships. She ha
John M.
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In my mind, good characters populate a good book. Yunker has drawn some memorable characters...individuals who admit and understand their flaws, who indulge their self-doubts, who interact imperfectly with others and display all the frailties and strengths of human beings. It's easy to connect with them, to both empathize and sympathize with them, to admire them and to loathe them.

The Tourist Trail offers eco-terrorism suspense, interpersonal conflict, conflicting emotions and high seas action.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written, well-plotted eco-thriller. Showed good side [the Patagonian station banding the penguins and its rationale: tracking the birds to discover their habits but not killing them] and bad side [too zealous groups wanting to "save-the-insert your animals here"] with the story of FBI agents on the trail of a murderer. There are several romances in the mix, but nothing gratuitous. The ecological bits intrigued me the most. I thank LibraryThing for an ARC.
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really loved this book. The characters are flawed but normal, and entirely likable. The author's little lessons on the vegan lifestyle and big lessons/messages on animal rights activists were engaging and even persuasive. All in all, it was a good read!
Tonstant Weader
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Tourist Trail is the story of people driven by a mission. Angela Haynes studies penguins, hard, tedious, and isolated work that breaks her heart because she is documenting their decimation. Robert is an FBI agent who has a dedication to justice that is brought into question by his empathy for the cause of those he has been hunting. Aeneas is a leader of the Cetacean Defense Alliance, a fictional and inexact analog of the Sea Shepherd Society, using direct action to stop illegal whaling or th ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure, ecofiction
This was a great story of animal activists, naturalists and researchers, and FBI agents set in the wondrous beauty of Patagonia and Antarctica with a bit of a love story between two of the main characters. I enjoyed the storyline which moved along mostly at a steady pace although the book slowed down somewhat in the middle but picked up again as it steamed towards the end. I liked the characters, especially Angela, and watched them all change and grow as the story moved forward. It was interesti ...more
Julie Barrett
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Tourist Trail by John Yunker
Starts out with Angela and she's viewing the penguins as they are going through mating season.
One is waiting for his mate and they know it won't return so he will find another next year. She is taking inventory of the penguins and the species there.
Alternating chapters and Robert is on his way to Buenos Aries. He has many nightmares about the ice and it envelops him til one wakes him on the plane.
He lands at the Argentina far southern parts at the research camp.
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fictionalized account of "eco-terrorists". It has plenty of action, adventure and some romance. It is very well written. I felt I was at the locations described in the book, and could see the penguins, or whales, smell the colony, feel the cold and the wind.
It was a book that changed my mind about several things pertaining to eco-tourism, activists, and the animal rights movement. I really enjoyed all the sections about the penguins. Who dosesn't love penguins! I had never heard about
Margi Prideaux
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The Tourist Trail is superb.
The book is billed as a literary thriller about endangered species in the world's most remote areas, and those who put their lives on the line to protect them, but it is so much more. Yunker is a very skilful, thoughtful writer, and The Tourist Trail delivers a poignant consideration of the dark and light, the right and wrong, the flawed and the noble motivations of anyone living a full life within ourselves and within the environmental movement.
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adult readers
Recommended to Gmr by: John Yunker
This novel ties together the beauty of nature with the reality that is life in all its raw splendor. The bulk of the events occur in Patagonia at the Penguin Research Station, both are places that actually exist too (check out The Penguin Project for details on the penguin census the author took part in...the link to which is available on his site at Here we find biologist Angela Haynes following her passions and working with the local penguin population when a stranger ...more
Marty Essen
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A few weeks back I searched, looking for something out of the ordinary to read. Eco-fiction? Amazon doesn't have such a category! Fortunately, John Yunker's gem, "The Tourist Trail," found its way onto my computer screen.

I love fiction that holds your interest, with a compelling plot, but also contains enough reality to be informative. The Tourist Trail does that and more.

From a personal standpoint, I could relate to this book. This was especially true when one of the characters was t
Dallas Rising
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
You can tell it's a first novel; there was more telling than showing in several instances - a bit more nuance would have been welcome, but since I've never written a novel, I'm not going to slam someone for giving it their best shot and going for it. The subject matter is near and dear to my heart and it's clear that the plot was heavily influenced by Sea Shepherd. Paul Watson has come under some criticisms that parallel one of the mains character's behaviors - and the hero worship and high prof ...more
Brie Eccles
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I wasn't as imprssed by this book as I wanted to be. It had a very negative depressing undertone that had nothing to do with the subject matter (animal rights, activists, sea animals in danger, etc). I had hoped it would be more of a popular science book (with maybe a romance thrown in?) but I quickly got confused by the layout of the book. By the end I'm STILL asking who's who and questioning who's really dead and who's not. A lot of unanswered questions, but not in a good way.
Naulayne Raiche Enders
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
When I read the book description for this book one of the statements was that it would change the way you viewed the ocean. Even with my background in biology, I can say that was a very true statement. The descriptions of whale hunting today were very graphic. The book gives a great view of arctic life especially of penguins and whales and wraps it in a story of following your beliefs and passions. The last quarter of the book was riveting.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Since I love books with animal themes and I love a good romance, this book was a great combination of the two and a great escape! I would especially recommend this book to people who are passionate about animal rescue. It's thought provoking in what a person is willing to give-up in order to pursue their passion/life's work.
Alison Madden
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Exciting and different. I loved learning about the penguins, and appreciate the fact that author is so knoweldgeable about his subject and can raise awareness of the penguins' plight. An exciting read, with some romance thrown in for good measure!
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I always get a little weirded out when male fictional characters are described in a way that doesn't make them seem attractive (to me) at all yet all the women in the story fall in love with them head over heels. None of the other romantic relationships in the novel rang true for me at all either but who knows, other people might think differently. That was my only major problem with this story, and it might be a bit of a personal thing. Otherwise I enjoyed this book, particularly the penguin re ...more
Donna Mulvenna
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel is set in one of the world’s most remote areas, Patagonia, where a researcher, Angela a dedicated loner, is living an isolated and driven life cataloging the nesting and breeding habits of an ever-dwindling population of penguins including one particularly endearing penguin named Diesel. But the day the tourist trail opens Angela’s life changes forever when a mysterious and weathered stranger, Aeneas an animal activist who has declared war against whale poachers, washes up on the shor ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Tourist Trail
By John Yunker
Ashland Creek Press

Fast paced literary eco thriller about the passion and respect for endangered species, and a romance that enlightens both partners on their views and beliefs of animal advocacy.

Angela Haynes works as a marine biologist at a penguin research station in Patagonia. She spends many long, lonely nights in very harsh conditions tagging and charting penguins, it's what she loves most in the world. One night she discovers a man washed ashore. He will
Jennifer Collins
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, eco-fiction
I might have avoided this book, had I understood the sort of eco-fiction it held, the beauty it would be mixing with heartbreak and terror, or the way it would bring me to tears over and over again. At the same time, I might have run toward it in a full-on sprint if I'd known how dangerous and beautiful and dark it would be.

Because the truth is that this book, for some people, will be inspiring enough that you might fear handing it to your children, just for fear of what good passion it might i
Cee Martinez
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exciting and romantic adventure set on the high seas

This novel captured immediately as it begins from the point of view of a lonely researcher who studies and tags penguins. Then, a mysterious stranger washes ashore and opens up an entire tale that involves eco-terrorism, wanted fugitives, romance, and danger.

Things I really loved about this novel:

The characters were very real. Angela is quite honest about how lonely she is and you feel empathy for her as she falls for a man that could be dange
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Angela is a naturalist studying penguins deep in South America near Antarctica. When a man washes ashore, she falls for him and is tempted to join him on his boat fighting to save whales from ships hunting them at sea. Meanwhile, Robert, an FBI agent, is heading their way to arrest this eco-terrorist, who calls himself Aeneas. This leads to chases through icebergs, treachery, false identities, sex and debates over the value of people vs. animals. It’s a gripping story with plenty of twists and t ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not really sure how I came across this book, but I'm guessing it was recommended to me by one of the online vegan groups I recently joined. This is a great adventure/love story that involves great characters helping save our ocean's creatures. I really liked that there was just enough 'love story' without being sappy and there was plenty of adventure and environmentalist/naturalist scenes but not to forced. This story just really combined all of the areas I love in life together and while al ...more
Eva Silverfine
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
In my mission to read more eco-fiction, which embraces a wide range of genres, I selected this novel. It is part eco-thriller, part romance, and a window to penguin biology, whaling, and animal rights activism. The characters are passionate about their causes and their loves, to the point that I asked myself whether there was an obsessive quality shared between the two. The author displayed a good knowledge of his subject matter and setting and handled the complexity of eco-activism deftly. The ...more
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: light-reading
I was given an ER copy in return for my review.
Biologists, environmentalists, FBI agents, computer geeks and vegan activists all come together in this slightly odd novel. Very little time was given to character development, which led to very little buy-in from me on the motivations and passions of the characters. The writing was OK, not terrible, and the story was occasionally interesting. I did like the penguin bits fairly well. Overall, not the best.
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John Yunker is a writer of plays, short stories and novels focused on human/animal relationships.

He is co-founder of Ashland Creek Press, a vegan-owned publisher devoted to environmental and animal rights literature. He is author of the novel The Tourist Trail and the forthcoming novel Where Oceans Hide Their Dead.

His full-length play Meat the Parents was a finalist at the Centre Stage New Play Fe

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