The Feather Thief

Kirk Wallace Johnson         Pages: 308            Published: 2018

The book: One evening in 2009, after an orchestral performance at the Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old flute player, Edwin Rist, pulled off the biggest theft ever at the British Museum of Natural History. He stole hundreds of rare bird exhibits. The author, Kirk Wallace Johnson, on hearing about the heist, was intrigued. In this book he tells the very gripping true story of this bizarre crime.

You might like it because: It’s non-fiction that reads like fiction. Johnson writes exceptionally well and masterfully brings to life a real whodunit that will intrigue readers and keep them turning the pages.

What did other people say?
“Absorbing . . . Though it’s non-fiction, The Feather Thief contains many of the elements of a classic thriller.”   – Maureen Corrigan, NPRs Fresh Air

“Fascinating . . . a complex tale of greed, deception, and ornithological sabotage.”
                                  – The New York Times Book Review

Awards & Recognition:
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence: Longlist 2019

How quickly will you get into the book? Halfway down the first page I was hooked. From then on I could not put it down.

You might not like it because: The last third of the book is much slower than the rest, and less gripping. Some readers might be frustrated with the ultimate outcome as it concerns Rist, but this is a true story, and this is the reality of what happened.

What might you read next?
While researching this book, Johnson travelled to Norway. “You’re in Jo Nesbø country…watch out!” his brother texted him. Why not read a Jo Nesbø book; pick up Headhunters.

Among the birds that Rist stole were specimens originally collected by Charles Darwin and other famous naturalists. Read about a modern-day naturalist: David Attenborough. Pick up his memoir, Adventures of a Young Naturalist.

Or stick with another ornithological non-fiction read; try The Last Flight of the Scarlet Mccaw by Bruce Barcott.

© 2019