Tiger, Tiger
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Tiger, Tiger

3.8 23
by Lynne Reid Banks

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Two tiger cub brothers are town from the jungle and taken to Rome. The stronger cub is trained as a killer at the Coliseum. Emperor Caesar makes a gift of the smaller cub to his beautiful daughter, Aurelia. She adores her cub, Boots, and Julius, a young animal keeper, teaches her how to earn the tiger's trust. Boots is pampered while his brother, known as Brute,


Two tiger cub brothers are town from the jungle and taken to Rome. The stronger cub is trained as a killer at the Coliseum. Emperor Caesar makes a gift of the smaller cub to his beautiful daughter, Aurelia. She adores her cub, Boots, and Julius, a young animal keeper, teaches her how to earn the tiger's trust. Boots is pampered while his brother, known as Brute, lives in a cold and dark cage, let out only to kill. Caesar trusts Julius to watch Aurelia and her prized pet. But when a prank backfires, Boots temporarily escapes and Julius must pay with his life. Thousands watch as Julius is sent unarmed into the arena to face the killer Brute.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…[a] gripping, tantalizing examination of power, sacrifice, and mercy.”
- Publishers Weekly, starred

Pat Trattles
Two tiger cubs are happily frolicking in the forest when they are captured and sent to Rome. The older and stronger cub is sent to the cellars beneath the Roman Coliseum. There, he is fed just enough to keep him strong, yet hungry. He must rely on his innate killer instincts to fully satisfy his appetite. Aptly named "Brute," he learns his lessons well and soon becomes a vicious killer of gladiators, Christians, and slaves in Caesar's circuses. The fate of the younger and smaller cub is much different. He is given to Caesar's twelve-year-old daughter, Aurelia, as a special gift. Aurelia is fascinated with the idea of a tiger cub pet. She names him "Boots," because of the leather pouches he must wear on his feet, and soon falls in love with him. She also develops a forbidden fondness for his keeper, the slave boy, Julius. And it is apparent that Julius' feelings toward Aurelia mirror hers. Enter Marcus, Aurelia's mean-spirited cousin. Jealous of Julius, Marcus concocts a prank that goes hopelessly awry, forever changing the lives of all involved. Although the story drags in places and the ending is a bit too neatly tied up, the intriguing plot lines, and mixing of romance, and animal stories, set in a period in ancient history often ignored in historical fiction, makes this a good addition to the teen reading list. 2004, Delacorte Press/Random House, and Ages 12 up.
Publishers Weekly
British actress Francis gives a crisp and skillfully shaded reading of this thought-provoking story about love, political intrigue and nature vs. nurture set in ancient Rome. Her accent and generally bright delivery help balance the accessible themes and exotic background. Two lion cubs snatched from the jungle are taken to Rome where one becomes a brutal fighter in the Colosseum and the other becomes the pampered pet (called Boots) of Aurelia, daughter of Caesar. As Aurelia's 12th year progresses she explores her feelings for Julius, the slave and keeper of Boots, and comes to understand the mighty power her father holds. When Boots escapes and Julius is falsely blamed, Aurelia must face some awful truths-about humans and lions, too. Francis gives Aurelia the kind of authentic emotional depth that will keep listeners hooked on this exciting drama. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Aurelia is the 12-year-old daughter of Caesar in ancient Rome. She lives a privileged life and is on the verge of adulthood, when she will marry and take her place in Roman aristocracy. But for the moment, she is still a child and her father sends her a special gift—a tiger cub. The cub is trained and watched by a servant named Julius, a young man to whom Aurelia is quietly attracted. The tiger cub, Boots, has a twin, Brute, who is trained to fight gladiators in the Coliseum—a blood sport for the amusement of Caesar and the crowd. Although kept from that world, Aurelia and her cousin Marcus are aware of it. Marcus longs to be old enough to enjoy the spectacle, but the first time he is there, he becomes violently ill. While spending time with his cousin, he also realizes Aurelia's feelings for the tiger's servant. Soon the chance comes when Marcus can show Julius to be a fool. The trick goes terribly awry and the tiger escapes, bringing down the wrath of Caesar on Julius. Despite the recapture of Boots, both tigers and Julius are sentenced to the arena where only well-trained gladiators survive. Aurelia pleads with her father but learns firsthand the ruthlessness of Caesar. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Random House, 256p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Despite its mundane title, Banks's novel succeeds fairly well at being exotic and original. Two tiger cubs are captured and brought to ancient Rome. Brute is trained to be an aggressive killer of slaves, criminals, and Christians in the Colosseum; Boots is gentled into a pet for Caesar's beautiful 12-year-old daughter, Aurelia, and cared for by the slave Julius, who loves Aurelia from afar. When a prank goes awry and Julius is wrongly blamed for Boots's escape, Aurelia must decide where her loyalties lie. A vibrant setting and strong sense of place bring this often-neglected time period to life. Aurelia and Julius are three-dimensional, though the other characters (including the big cats themselves) are less believable and vivid. The conflict between the Roman pantheon of gods and Christianity lacks clear delineation and comes across as superficial. While not an essential purchase, this provocative title will appeal to fans of historical fiction, romance, and animal stories.-Melissa Moore, Union University Library, Jackson, TN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A melodramatic foray into an extremely fictional ancient Rome. Twelve-year-old Aurelia is the daughter of Caesar, ruler of Rome around the third century. He presents her with a tiger cub, defanged and with claws trimmed, and Julius, the slave who trains and cares for him. She doesn't know that the cub has a littermate, kept bullied and hungry for the games at the Colosseum. Although the details of Roman life seem to be historically accurate, the tone is completely wrong. The animals are anthropomorphized to a fare-thee-well (think the recent movie novelization Two Brothers); Aurelia's distaste for the bloodshed of the games, both animal and human, and her interest in the persecuted Christians seem forced; and the actions of the slave Julius, who loves Aurelia, are simply not believable for that place and time. The climax finds Julius facing both the tame and wild tiger brothers in the Colosseum-and everyone lives. A much better journey into this era would be Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries series. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
4.21(w) x 7.13(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range:
12 - 16 Years

Read an Excerpt


In the Hold

The two cubs huddled together, their front paws intertwined, their heads and flanks pressed to each other.
Darkness crushed them, and bad smells, and motion. And fear.
The darkness was total. It was not what they were used to. In the jungle there is always light for a tiger's eyes. It filters down through the thickest leaves from a generous sky that is never completely dark. It reflects off pools and glossy leaves and the eyes of other creatures. Darkness in the jungle is a reassurance. It says it's time to come out of the lair, to play, to eat, to learn the night. It's a safe darkness, a familiar, right darkness. This darkness was all wrong.
The smells were bad because there was no way to bury their scat. And there was the smell of other animals, and their fear. And there was a strange smell they didn't recognize, a salt smell like blood. But it wasn't blood.
It was bad being enclosed. All the smells that should have dissipated on the wind were held in, close. Cloying the sensitive nostrils. Choking the breath. Confusing and deceiving, so that the real smells, the smells that mattered, couldn't be found, however often the cubs put up their heads and reached for them, sniffing in the foul darkness.
The motion was the worst. The ground under them was not safe and solid. It pitched and rocked. Sometimes it leaned so far that they slid helplessly until they came up against something like hard, cold, thin trees. These were too close together to let the cubs squeeze between them. Next moment the ground tipped the other way. The cubs slid though the stinking straw till they fell against the cold trees on the other side. When the unnatural motion grew really strong, the whole enclosure they were in slid and crashed against other hard things, frightening the cubs so that they snarled and panted and clawed at the hard nonearth under their pads, trying in vain to steady themselves.
They would put back their heads and howl, and try to bite the cold thin things that stopped them being free. Then their slaver sometimes had blood in it.
When the awful pitching and rolling stopped and they could once again huddle up close, their hearts stopped racing, and they could lick each other's faces for reassurance.
They were missing their mother—their Big One. They waited for her return—she had always come back before. But she was gone forever. No more warm coat, no rough, comforting, cleansing tongue. No more good food, no big body to clamber on, no tail to chase, pretending it was prey. No more lessons. No more love and safety.
All their natural behavior was held in abeyance. They no longer romped and played. There was no space and they had no spirit for it. Mostly they lay together and smelled each other's good smell through all the bad smells.
As days and nights passed in this terrifying, sickening fashion, they forgot their mother, because only Now mattered for them. Now's bewilderment, fear, helplessness, and disgust.
There was only one good time in all the long hours. They came to look forward to it, to know when it was coming.
They began to recognize when the undifferentiated thudding overhead, where the sky ought to be, presaged the opening of a piece of that dead sky, and the descent from this hole of the two-legged male animals that brought them food. Then they would jump to their feet and mewl and snarl with excitement and eagerness. They would stretch their big paws through the narrow space between the cold trees and, when the food came near, try to hook it with their claws and draw it close more quickly. The food, raw meat on a long, flat piece of wood, would be shoved through a slot down near the ground, the meat—never quite enough to fill their stomachs—scraped off, and the wood withdrawn. Water came in a bowl through the same slot. They often fought over it and spilled it. They were nearly always thirsty.
The male two-legs made indecipherable noises: "Eat up, boys! Eat and grow and get strong. You're going to need it, where you're going!"
And then there would be a sound like a jackal's yelping and the two-legs would move off and feed the other creatures imprisoned in different parts of the darkness.
Brown bears. Jackals. A group of monkeys, squabbling and chattering hysterically. There were wild dogs, barking incessantly and giving off a terrible stench of anger and fear. There were peacocks with huge rustling tails, that spoke in screeches. And somewhere quite far away, a she-elephant, with something fastened to her legs that made an unnatural clanking sound as she moved her great body from foot to foot in the creaking, shifting, never-ending dark.
One night the dogs began to bite and tear at each other amid an outburst of snarling and shrieking sounds. The cubs were afraid and huddled down in the farthest corner of their prison. But they could hear the wild battles as one dog after another succumbed and was torn to pieces. The next time the sky opened, the two-legged animals found a scene of carnage, with only two dogs left alive.
"There'll be trouble now," one muttered, as he dragged the remains out from a half-opening while others held the survivors off with pointed sticks.
"I said they should have put 'em all in separate cages. They'll say we didn't feed 'em enough."
"Better cut the corpses up and give the meat to the tigers. Dogs is one thing, but if we lose one of them cubs, we'll be dog meat ourselves."
After that there was no shortage of food and the cubs spent most of the time when they weren't eating, sleeping off their huge meals. But their sleep was not peaceful.
The cubs had no desire to fight or kill each other. They didn't know they were brothers, but each knew that the other was all he had. One was the firstborn and the larger. He was the leader. In the jungle, he had been fed first and most, and had led their games and pretend hunts. He was also the more intelligent of the two. He came to understand that it was no use howling and scratching at the ground and rubbing backward and forward with cheek and sides against the cold, close-together barriers, or trying to chew them to pieces. When his brother did these things, he would knock him down with his paw and lie on him to stop him.
The younger one would submit. It was better, he found. His paws, throat, and teeth stopped being sore. He learned to save his energies. But the misery was still there. It only stopped while he ate, and when he curled up with his brother and they licked each other's faces, and slept.

Meet the Author

Lynne Reid Banks is the bestselling author of many popular books for children and adults. She lives in Dorset, England.

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Tiger, Tiger 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. I liked it. Normally something i dont read about but great book. Ill recommened it to animal & tiger lovers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For what?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U here nessie?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think i will like this book because it sounds interestin!g
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its also a movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book to read. Very action packed but very sad. It is great for anyone espesally if your learing about acient rome. Trust me you will love this book as much as i did!!! I promis...... im not a person who likes reading but this book is very entertaining!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Warriors is so overrated.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Since the overview gave away the ending, I won't be reading this one. I hope BN sees this, and I am sorry it's not a review. But spoilers in book overviews are ridiculous and should never happen.
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Christopher Morgan More than 1 year ago
Tiger, Tiger is an real book. It will let you feel what the charactars feel, you see what they see, and you hear what they hear. It provides a twisted story for you to read eith every bit if intrest. I read this tween book at thr age of eight, and I remember every single detial and I turned eleven a month ago. Dive into this book.
Charlie1977 More than 1 year ago
I received this as a present and it is the first book I have read from this author. The story is not bad, but it doesnt grip you. Well written, but not my favourite story. I would like to read another book by this author, as I liked the writing style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book, I loved the fact that they mixed in forbidden romance and that the story took place in this particular place in the world. Some people, however, might find the book boring if they don't pay attention to what's really happening. I wish the ending was a little more interesting, but overall I totally recommend this book to teens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can i join iceclan?