A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond between Two Friends and a Lion

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In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon. It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his rightful home in the wild.

A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable story of how Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, visitors to London from Australia in 1969, bought the boisterous lion ...

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Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond between Two Friends and a Lion

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Overview

In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon. It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his rightful home in the wild.

A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable story of how Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, visitors to London from Australia in 1969, bought the boisterous lion cub in the pet department of Harrods. For several months, the three of them shared a flat above a furniture shop on London’s King’s Road, where the charismatic and intelligent Christian quickly became a local celebrity, cruising the streets in the back of a Bentley, popping in for lunch at a local restaurant, even posing for a fashion advertisement. But the lion cub was growing up—fast—and soon even the walled church garden where he went for exercise wasn’t large enough for him. How could Ace and John avoid having to send Christian to a zoo for the rest of his life? A coincidental meeting with English actors Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, stars of the hit film Born Free, led to Christian being flown to Kenya and placed under the expert care of “the father of lions” George Adamson. Incredibly, when Ace and John returned to Kenya to see Christian a year later, they received a loving welcome from their lion, who was by then fully integrated into Africa and a life with other lions.

Originally published in 1971, and now fully revised and updated with more than 50 photographs of Christian from cuddly cub in London to magnificent lion in Africa, A Lion Called Christian is a touching and uplifting true story of an indelible human-animal bond. It is is destined to become one of the great classics of animal literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In 1969, Anthony "Ace" Bourke and John Rendall bought a pet from Harrods that was neither a beagle nor a parrot. Instead, "Christian" was a cuddly lion cub who soon became the most regal and noticeable resident of their flat on King's Road. Of course, lion cubs grow at a prodigious rate, and it was not long before his devoted owners realized that he belonged back in the jungle. Wisely, they dispatched him to Kenya, where he was put under the expert transitional care of "the father of lions," Born Free legend George Adamson. Christian returned to the wild, but when Bourke and Rendall visited him a year later, they discovered that their former pet had not only remembered them -- he greeted them with fervor and affection. This profusely illustrated book tells the extraordinary story of a truly moving interspecies friendship.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739384589
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/10/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

ANTHONY “ACE” BOURKE is one of Australia’s leading art curators. He lives in Sydney. JOHN RENDALL is a member of the Royal Geographic Society and a trustee of the George Adamson Trust. He divides his time between London and Sydney.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 76 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(49)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 76 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 18, 2009

    What an amazing story!

    After seeing the Youtube clip and falling in love with the story of Christian, I couldn't wait to read this book. I didn't put it down and would happily reccomend it to anyone who, like me, was mesmerised by the original footage of Christian. I am so thankful that this story is once again being shared around the world so many years after it occured. Ace and John have their own website, http://www.alioncalledchristian.com where they give regular updates on the continuing journey of A Lion Called Christian.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2009

    Truly amazing

    When I first saw this story featured on the news it brought tears to my eyes. In fact tears are rolling down my face right now after watching the video again. It proves that true friendship knows no bounds. All the experts out there would have never imagined something this amazing and special could ever take place. I am so glad that they were proven wrong with the story of Christian! I feel this story should be brought and taught to our children and maybe this world will end up being a better place!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2009

    Touching!

    That video was so touching to my heart that I cried. I think that this book will be great, and I will soon get a copy and read it. Praise for A Lion Called Christian.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The video

    I almost cried when I seen the video that is so cute! Looks like a good book!

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A good read!

    I (like so many others) was facinated by the video reunion between Christian the Lion and 2 young men. I was so glad to find a book that told me more. It is an easy read. I found I couldn't put it down because I needed to know what happened next. The additional pictures in the book were fun to see.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Real Tearjerker but with Sweet, Commendable Young Men

    These two men are to be commended for their unselfishness in releasing their friend to the wild. I know they loved this animal dearly, and the love was returned full measure by Christian. This story restores your faith in mankind toward animals. There are too many bad things done to God's creatures, and these two individuals gave this lion love, affection, shelter, and a happy, happy life. Then, when they knew they had to think of him totally and not themselves, they did so. These men should receive some sort of humanitarian award for this unselfish act toward and animal they loved and adored.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2009

    MOVING!

    The book takes this story to a new level. I could not put it down. When I read it was as if I had never heard the story before. It is so nice to read a true story that ends so picture perfect. BRAVO To Ace, John, George and Christian! It is a must read and one that you will want to read again and again!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    Any animal lover will thoroughly enjoy this.

    I fell in love with Christian and was happy he was accepted and able to be returned to the wild.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2009

    A "must read" for animal lovers!

    Once you meet Christian, you can not forget him. A wonderful story about the loving bond between an animal and humans. The photos are great and help the reader to really get acquainted with Christian. Appreciate the fact that the owners felt the same sadness that I felt in having to say "Goodbye". Christian definitely left his "paw print" on my heart!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    Loved it!

    Nicely written story. The love for Christian that John and Ace had shows through in each page. What a wonderful adventure for the men and the lion. I hope Christian had a long and happy life in Africa and that when he slept, he dreamed of living in London.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2009

    Story Worth Reading!

    After seeing the videos on You-Tube last year, I kept hoping that John and Ace would rerelease the book. Much to my surprise this week, I found they did and ran to Barnes and Noble to get it. These men seem to have been chosen to give Christian a second chance at the life he was certainly to live out--to return to the wild. The account of their acquiring Christian and the huge challenges over the months of caring for Christian and eventually getting him to Kenya fills me with awe and admiration at the character and determination to do what was best for Christian and fulfill his destiny. I was in tears at the end of the book, and I feel blessed to have known these people and all the lions through John and Ace's book. Humorous, tender, sad, inspiring. My kind of book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    MOST MOVING

    I saw this story on a TV talk show a few days ago, and I've been telling everyone about this story and to see the video. I couldn't stop crying. This should be shown to everyone you can of all ages. I just can't stop talking about this. It's so moving. It doesn't matter that this took place 40 years ago. It could have been today. To bad Christian's parents didn't get the chance to be free too. This was amazing.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    In the book A Lion Called Christian by Anthony (Ace) Bourke and

    In the book A Lion Called Christian by Anthony (Ace) Bourke and John Rendall, these two men adopt a pet lion named Christian, and tell the stories of the hardships and triumphs of living with him. I would definitely recommend this book, but only for people with a higher lexile level, as it has a great vocabulary. The sentences are really long, making the book sound very formal and educational. The whole plot is very intriguing, and it makes for a good sit-down read. The bond between these characters is really touching, and I thought the way they described life with Christian was exceptional. Overall, if you like to challenge yourself with difficult reading, and/or you love animals, I would highly recommend this book to you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2014

    Taken by bloodclan cant post here

    Go join the blaze clan at arson plus but not here they will welcom you! Not us

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Sweet Book! :)

    I had to read this book as part of a school assignment. After finishing it, I was tempted to re-read it many times over. This true story tells about the strong, loveable bond between a store-bought lion living in London, and two young men new to the big city. I would very highly recommend this book for teens! This book also contains a very high "lexile" (reading level). :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Coral

    Hey Phoenix.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    Wonderful uplifting story

    It is so nice to read books that have happy endings. Shows the good intentions in people for animals. I volunteer at a large big/exotic cat rescue and see a lot of people who bought these cats from licensed/unlicensed breeders in this country.

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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    Inspirational

    I think this is an inspirational book and the everyone who likes animals should read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    Unique story, boring writing

    After being intrigued by the famous YouTube reunion video of Christian the lion and his masters, I felt the need to read into the background story of how this lion had come to be raised by people and later let out into the wild to fend for himself. The story is told by two men who happen to be browsing through the British department store Harrods, and came across a lion that they spontaneously decide to buy. They raise the cub in their flat above the furniture store that they work at in the city of London. They grow fond of Christian, and seem to raise him adequately well for the first few months of his life. However, Christian is growing rapidly and his owners must decide what to do with him before he grows to be his full size and requires better living conditions. They soon came across the opportunity to send Christian to Africa to be rehabilitated into the wild, as well as the opportunity to have a documentary filmed on Christian in order to pay for the expenses. After the "lion expert", George, finds an adequate place to work with Christian and a couple other lions, Christian, his owners, and the documentary film crew fly down to Africa. After a couple weeks, Christian's owners leave him in the hands of George who attempts to get Christian accustomed to the wild so that one day he will be able to fend for himself. About a year later, the film crew and Christian's owners came down for a reunion with Christian which is what became the YouTube hit many years later, after that part of the documentary was shown on the television show, the View. At about the age of three, Christian was said to be ready to live on his own, when he left his home in Africa never to return. Although the owners of Christian claim that he must have lived a happy life henceforth, I don't know if I believe that, considering the reason for his never returning was most likely just because he died. I don't necessarily believe in how they attempted to rehabilitate a lion that grew up in a city. Christian would have lived a much happier and healthier life if his owners had just sent him to be cared for at a zoo or park. The dialect was rather dry and uninteresting, and the story could have easily been condensed into a much shorter and to the point book. The only reason that I somewhat liked this book was because it was a unique situation and I was interested in reading about how it had been handled. I agree that many endangered animals such as lions need help to be preserved, however I do not believe in the rehabilitation of animals that are not originally born in their natural habitat. If you would like knowing more about Christian, you can watch his documentary Christian the Lion. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book to others because its boring and uninspirational storyline.

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  • Posted June 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good For All Readers

    This is a fascinating tale that I think will captivate the hearts and minds of all animal lovers. I even think that those people who don't like animals, or are indeiferent either way can't help but fall in love with little Christian. This is a well told love story.

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