The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson

A fascinating true story opening with the brazen 2009 heist of the Tring British Natural History Museum, The Feather Thief gives us a glimpse into the world of 20 year-old Edwin Rist and others obsessed with the Victorian art of fly tying.  Rist, a brilliant American flautist, carried out the theft of 299 rare bird skins, fueled by a seemingly insatiable desire to create elaborate and exquisite fly fishing lures from these feathers, some of extinct species.  A gripping tale which intertwines the author’s own experiences as well as an interesting history refresher on the theory of evolution by natural selection, The Feather Thief provides suspense, intrigue, and colorful characters that you won’t soon forget.

As a reader of mostly fiction, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this incredible real-life account.  The author’s pace and timing are impeccable, and his painstaking attention to detail on such a specialized topic are what impressed me the most about this memorable book.

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(Recommended by Jen in Adult Services.)