Ghosts of Tsavo: Tracking the Mythic Lions of East Africa
Title: Ghosts of Tsavo: Tracking the Mythic Lions of East Africa
Author: Phillip Caputo
The author describes his adventure-filled experiences during an expedition to East Africa to uncover the secrets of a near-mythical breed of man-eating lions, immortalized in the film The Ghost and the Darkness.
In 1898, two hauntingly elusive maneless lions killed and ate 140 workers who were building a railroad bridge over the Tsavo River in Kenya. These seemingly invincible man-eaters literally stopped the British Empire in its tracks during their year-long reign of terror. But the bloody exploits of these animals, immortalized in John Patterson’s 1907 book, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo, and two feature films, Bwana Devil in 1952 and The Ghost and the Darkness in 1996, are only part of the story.
Caputo’s Ghosts of Tsavo is a search for truth, exploring both how these near-mythical maneless beasts became man-eaters and the more unsettling proposition: Do they represent a feline missing link between modern lions and the prehistoric lions that preyed on our Pleistocene ancestors. Setting out over the forbidding plains of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, Caputo and his small corps of discovery — a photographer and a few armed rangers from the Kenya Park Service — follow two eminent scientists from the University of Minnesota determined to unlock the secrets of Africa’s most efficient killers.
Suffused with the raw beauty and primitive danger of Tsavo’s wild landscape, Ghosts of Tsavo is a totally absorbing adventure narrative by an author justly regarded as among the finest writers of his generation.