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Tigerman by Nick Harkaway
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Tigerman (original 2014; edition 2014)

by Nick Harkaway

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4993341,711 (4.01)54
"Sergeant Lester Ferris is a good man in need of a rest. After a long career of being shot at, he's about to be retired. The mildly larcenous, backwater island of Mancreu is the ideal place to serve out his time, a former British colony in legal limbo, belching toxic clouds of waste and facing imminent destruction by an international community concerned for their own safety. The perfect place for Lester is also the perfect location for a multinational array of shady businesses. Hence the Black Fleet of illicit ships lurking in the bay: spy stations, arms dealers, offshore hospitals, money-laundering operations, drug factories and torture centers. None of which should be a problem, since Lester's brief is to sit tight and turn a blind eye. Meanwhile, he befriends a brilliant, Internet-addled street kid with a comic-book fixation who will need a new home when the island dies. When Mancreu's fragile society erupts in violence, Lester must be more than just an observer: he has no choice but to rediscover the man of action he once was, and find out what kind of hero the island--and the boy--will need" --… (more)
Member:psutto
Title:Tigerman
Authors:Nick Harkaway
Info:William Heinemann (2014), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:2014 challenge

Work Information

Tigerman by Nick Harkaway (2014)

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» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Mancreu is a place beyond the law. A former British colony, this little island is at risk of being destroyed by an environmental disaster: clouds of toxic chemicals whose full health effects can’t be fully predicted. Until the island dies, the inhabitants are left to fend for themselves, and the Black Fleet of law-evading criminals looms just offshore. Lester Ferris is the sole British consular representative left on the island, and he finds himself embroiled in saving the island from self-destruction at the hands of rioters. But he’s not alone: he has a comic-book-obsessed youth for a sidekick. Together they will bring Tigerman to life.

As with Harkaway’s other novels that I’ve read (Angelmaker, The Gone-Away World), this is a great concept, but it definitely took some digging for me to get into it. It’s not a casual read, although it is amusing in a dry-wit sort of way.

I will warn the prospective reader that there are two scenes where harm comes to animals (specifically, dogs). ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jan 22, 2022 |
Awesome. ( )
  levan.matthew | Jul 17, 2021 |
Darn good! A return of several themes from The Gone-Away World ("The natural world is making something both wonderful and cataclysmic that the entrenched military/political infrastructure finds threatening and will soon do something terrible to prevent") but a good yarn, for all that. ( )
  qBaz | May 28, 2021 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13125833

I'm not sure how to classify this. Is it science fiction? Some kind of fantasy? I don't think so. The situation is imaginary but not entirely implausible or unreasonable to assume. And the ending seems out there but maybe not.

"The Sergeant" is Lester Ferris. He is sent to Mancreu, a remote island, to man several vacant posts. He is sort of a British embassy all by himself, except that Mancreu is a British colony, so presumably he has some kind of control. But he doesn't, really.

The island has been experiencing small explosions of a gas, presumably derived from toxic wastes over a period of many years, and the World Powers have determined that the only thing for it is to explode the entire island to close up the holes. Residents have been informed that this time will come, and gradually they take leave of the island. Many remain, many who are not ready to leave or have decided they never will.

As the sergeant wanders over the territory, he gets in the habit of stopping in at a bar. There he runs into a boy, probably about 13 years old. The boy is fond of comic books, and usually has a supply of them. The two become friends and the sergeant starts to think of their relationship as similar to father-son. It is natural, then, that he should start to wonder what is to become of the boy when the island is exploded.

Meanwhile, there are some actions on the island that seem like gangster activity. Law and order seems to have gotten skewed in some parts. When this activity gets too close, Lester takes action and the boy convinces him to use his talents for good, like so many comic book figures. Lester thus becomes Tigerman.

He is not altogether at home in the role and tries to leave it on the shelf. He is still trying to find the boy's family, which has become his main interest. But this boy has more power than Lester bargains for. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Unwitting hero
just right for a doomed island
and a not-quite-son. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nick Harkawayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Heshka, RyanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, ChipJacket art directorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
My father had formed one of those close English friendships with him (the first adjective is perhaps excessive) that begin by excluding confidences and soon eliminate conversation.

-Jorge Luis Borges
Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
Mein Vater hatte mit ihm eine dieser englischen Freundschaften geschlossen (ersteres Adjektiv ist vielleicht ein wenig exzessiv), die damit beginnen, alles Vertrauliche aussen vor zu lassen, und bald schon jede Unterhaltung auslöschen (Jorge Luis Borges: Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius)
Dedication
For Clemency

I knew I wanted to be a father. I didn't know how much until I was.
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On the steps of the old mission house, the sergeant sat with the boy who called himself Robin, and watched a pigeon being swallowed by a pelican.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Sergeant Lester Ferris is a good man in need of a rest. After a long career of being shot at, he's about to be retired. The mildly larcenous, backwater island of Mancreu is the ideal place to serve out his time, a former British colony in legal limbo, belching toxic clouds of waste and facing imminent destruction by an international community concerned for their own safety. The perfect place for Lester is also the perfect location for a multinational array of shady businesses. Hence the Black Fleet of illicit ships lurking in the bay: spy stations, arms dealers, offshore hospitals, money-laundering operations, drug factories and torture centers. None of which should be a problem, since Lester's brief is to sit tight and turn a blind eye. Meanwhile, he befriends a brilliant, Internet-addled street kid with a comic-book fixation who will need a new home when the island dies. When Mancreu's fragile society erupts in violence, Lester must be more than just an observer: he has no choice but to rediscover the man of action he once was, and find out what kind of hero the island--and the boy--will need" --

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