The Feather Thief
Kirk Wallace Johnson
Who is Edwin Rist?
Genius or Narcissist? Mastermind or Pawn?
One summer evening in 2009, twenty-year-old musical prodigy Edwin Rist broke into the British Museum of Natural History. Hours later, he slipped away with a suitcase full of rare bird specimens collected over the centuries from across the world, all featuring a dazzling array of priceless feathers.
Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist-deep in a river in New Mexico when he first heard about the heist, from his fly-fishing guide. When he discovered that the thief evaded prison, and that half the birds were never recovered, Johnson embarked upon a years-long worldwide investigation which led him deep into the fiercely secretive underground community obsessed with the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying.
A page-turning story of a bizarre and shocking crime, The Feather Thief shines a light on our fraught relationship with the natural world’s most beautiful and valuable wonders, and one man’s relentless quest for justice.
"A real page-turner, while at the same time meditative, thoughtful and stylish, The Feather Thief takes us on a fascinating journey inside a bizarre and secretive underworld unlike any other." -- Henry Hemming, author of M: Maxwell Knight, MI5's Greatest Spymaster "A stirring examination of the devastating effects of human greed on endangered birds, a powerful argument for protecting our environment-and, above all, a captivating crime story" -- Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees "A true-crime tale that weaves seemingly unrelated threads into a spellbinding narrative tapestry" -- Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu "A captivating tale of an unlikely thief and his even more unlikely crime, and a meditation on obsession, greed, and the sheer fascination in something as seemingly simple as a feather" -- Paul Collins, author of The Murder of the Century "This is the type of book I absolutely love - one that takes a seemingly obscure topic and shines a brilliant and bizarre and endlessly fascinating light upon it. Kirk Wallace Johnson's portrayal of the crazy world of feather fanatics makes this an unforgettable read" -- Michael Finkel, author of The Stranger in the Woods