Wednesday 22 July 2009

A Lion Called Christian by Bourke and Rendall

Pages 188,

Published by Bantam Books in 2009. First published in 1971.

In 2008, YouTube showed a film clip that became an international phenomenon. It showed a very emotional reunion of two young Australian men and their pet lion Christian, a year after they had transported him to Africa to be reintroduced to his natural habit by Born Free's George Adamson.

Anthony Bourke and John Rendall had originally bought Christian from Harrods in 1969, before any laws were brought in to stop exotic animals being bought and sold in that way. They took him home and he lived in their basement for the first few months of his life. He began to grow fast and soon became to big for living in a flat.

A chance meeting with Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers altered Christian's life for ever. Rather than being put in a zoo, he was taken to live in Kenya and with other lions previously kept in captivity, Adamson helped the new pride develop and learn to live as lions should.

For the next two years, Rendall and Bourke returned to Kenya to see how Christian was adjusting to his new life. Christian showed them that he had not forgotten them and even though he had his own life as the head of the pride, he treated them to the same loving affection he had always shown them as a cub.

This is the most beautiful book I have ever read. This has just become my Number 1 book of the year. I was so taken with the life of Christian and his transportation to Kenya ( an event that took place before I was even out of nappies).

Christian became a star and his life had a huge impact on the way that lions and other exotic animals are treated today. He was the reason that Kora became a National Park in Kenya and still nearly forty years after it is helping animals to readjust to their natural habitat, after captivity. His story became an international phenomenon, allowing George Adamson to continue his research and rehabilitation of lions for over 19 years until his own untimely death. Christian's life had real meaning and purpose and shows us how intelligent animals actually are.

The book has beautiful photos to help document Christian's life in Kings Road and his transportation to Kenya. You cannot help but fall in love with such a beautiful majestic creature.

You can tell that the decision to buy Christian from Harrods altered the lives of the two Australians for ever. They both became involved in the conservation of animals.

The only thing that bothered me about Christian's life was that eventually they lost track of him. His visits back to the camp run by George Adamson became few and far between and then stopped altogether. So Christian's final years are unknown. With today's modern technology, they would have been able to keep a track of his whereabouts and been able to follow his life from a respectable distance. I just feel sad that Christian, whose life has become so well known, was not monitored in the same way. Though from the book, George Adamson was convinced that Christian had left a legacy as he had mated with a few of the female lions in the surrounding area.

If you don't believe my gushings over this book, then I suggest you head to my starting point The Youtube video. If you are not moved by the video to want to read this book, then I will be really surprised. I have to keep going back to look at it, the affection shown by such an animal is just amazing.

I have to say thank you to Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea, as if she had not reviewed it, I would not have had the joy of reading such an uplifting book.

Other reviews of this book.

Bibliophile by the Sea


  1. Oh my goodness I just went and watched the vid and now am sniffling away like a daftie. My toddler just came up and gave me a hug *g*

    Another for the list!

  2. This sounds like such a sweet book. And that's amazing that Christian inspired so many conservation efforts.

  3. I love when people gush over books, I can't help but want to read it then. Christian sounds like an uplifting saga. I'll read it. :) Thanks Scrap Girl

  4. Really, must beautiful ever, awww that sounds so sweet. though I am bad with RL stories

  5. We are always lurking round the CTM stall too. Devon is obsessed with the ball machine! It's our favourite stall - I love the bargain buckets ;)

    I say 'always' I've only been twice *g*

  6. Aww, what a sweet book. I'm sure I would cry. (I admit, I teared up watching their reunion!)

  7. Thanks for such a wonderful review, it made me order the book even though I've seen countless documentries and interviews of these Aussie guys & Christian the Lion!

  8. I just love books like this and you know what, I'm adding this to my wishlist. Thanks, Ana!


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