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Errol Trzebinski reviews 'Christian The Lion - The illustrated legacy' | Coastweek

The many lives of 'Christian the Lion' in books, television and cinema. 'Christian' [top right] with London owners John Rendall and Anthony Bourke. 'Christian' [lower right] with George Adamson at Kora Park Kenya.

Errol Trzebinski reviews 'Christian The Lion - The illustrated legacy'

'Christian The Lion - The illustrated legacy' written by John Rendall with photographs by Derek Cattani. Reviewed by Errol Trzebinski.

What a miracle that Derek Cattani took a cornucopia of photographs of Christian, the lion cub, from the end of the 'Swinging Sixties' in London.

In 2018, those images have found their natural home in this handsome soft back edition, which could become a classic lion taming epic, page by page.

The pleasure of this moving work is that far from being confined to the enjoyment of children it’s for peoples of every age, race and everywhere that people aspire to comprehend how the wildest of wild creatures, can communicate with humans, enjoy their company and be returned to their natural habitat.
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Arguably today 'Christian' has become as well known as 'Elsa', the Born Free lioness returned famously by Joy Adamson to Meru national park.

'Christian' had been an orphan and was parted from his ferocious sister, when he plucked from the bush to enter the safety of a cage at Harrod’s pet shop.

Here, the orphaned creature attracted the interest of two Australian students, John Rendall and ‘Ace’ Bourke, who could ill afford the 50 guineas (equivalent in 2009, to three thousand five hundred English pounds) but somehow raising funds, naming him 'Christian'.

 

Errol Trzebinski reviews 'Christian The Lion - The illustrated legacy' | Coastweek

 

Errol Trzebinski reviews 'Christian The Lion - The illustrated legacy' | Coastweek

'Christian' with London owners John Rendall and Anthony Bourke. Derek Cattani took a cornucopia of photographs of the lion cub 'Christian'.
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Once ensconced at a Kings Road enterprise, Sophisticat, at World’s End Christian inveigled himself into every human activity where, what they had really let themselves in for, was a daily revelation.

Their friend Derek Cattani.

Already a photographer of some repute, focussed his camera as Christian and the other two occupants of 'Sophisticat', adapted to one another’s ways, sharing human vicissitudes.

Their pet.

Monarch of all he surveyed, included jaunts in their open top Mercedes on the rear seat, with the upper half of his body and huge paws on view and stunning pedestrians with disbelief as they passed.

I defy anyone not to smile involuntarily or to chuckle aloud, in response to Christian’s feline nature; his fascination with fluffy Easter chicks, chasing a football in the Moravian Close, or drumming up a spot of mischief, climbing all over James Hunt’s fragile racing car.
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Not to mention quizzically allowing his coat to be beautified with a hair drier for a TV appearance.

The relationship between the young men is awesome, saved from existence behind bars and released into a world unknown to him, in the care of George Adamson.

Christian’s welcoming embrace, enough to knock his rescuers flying by sheer exuberance when reunited in the bush, had nothing to do with the next meal but the sheer human joy of meeting long lost friends.

Like the initial book, 'Christian The Lion  - the illustrated legacy' is justifiably likely to become an International best seller.

pp192. Bradt, October 2018
English pounds 12.99 US Dollars 22.99 Amazon

 

Errol Trzebinski reviews 'Christian The Lion - The illustrated legacy' | Coastweek

 

Errol Trzebinski reviews 'Christian The Lion - The illustrated legacy' | Coastweek

'Christian The Lion - the illustrated legacy' could become a classic lion taming epic. Errol Trzebinski is a best selling British writer. She lives and works in Lamu. PHOTO - EVENING STANDARD LONDON

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FURTHER READING:

Christian the lion was a cub born in captivity and purchased by Australian John Rendall
and Anthony “Ace” Bourke from Harrods department store in London in 1969

Errol Trzebinski is best selling British writer who lives and works in Lamu Island, Kenya.
Her books feature prominent individuals in the history of colonial Kenya.

             

 

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