The Ravenmaster

My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London

by Christopher Skaife

On Sale: 10/02/2018

The Ravenmaster

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The Ravenmaster

My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London

by Christopher Skaife

On Sale: 10/02/2018


About the Book

For centuries, the Tower of London has been home to a group of famous avian residents: the ravens. Each year they are seen by millions of visitors, and they have become as integral a part of the Tower as its ancient stones. But their role is even more important than that—legend has it that if the ravens should ever leave, the Tower will crumble into dust and great harm will befall the kingdom.

The responsibility for ensuring that such a disaster never comes to pass falls to one man: the Ravenmaster. The current holder of the position is Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife, and in this fascinating, entertaining and touching book he memorably describes the ravens’ formidable intelligence, their idiosyncrasies and their occasionally wicked sense of humour. The Ravenmaster is a compelling, inspiring and irreverent story that will delight and surprise anyone with an interest in British history or animal behaviour.


Critical Praise

“Christopher Skaife adores his birds with every fiber of his being. His knowledge and love of the ravens fly off the page in The Ravenmaster.” - Caitlin Doughty, author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

“This is a charmer! Life with the legendary ravens at the Tower of London! Chock full of wild things you didn’t know.” - Margaret Atwood

“Christopher Skaife’s tales contain not only comedy but also tragedy, frustration, love, hubris, fear, foolishness, compassion, and uncertainty. Keeping the ravens requires constant negotiation with them, in which, as Skaife repeatedly observes, we learn not only about corvids but also our own role as human beings.” - Borix Sax, author of City of Ravens

“A natural storyteller, Skaife writes with affection and insight about these powerful, unpredictable and highly intelligent birds.” - Guardian (UK)

“Lively and cheeky. . . . Balancing fascinating tidbits with macabre details, [Skaife] titillates as he educates, rehabilitating the gloomy reputation of the raven. Skaife’s conversational style and disarming candor make this a rollicking tale fit for nearly any armchair adventurer.” - Publishers Weekly

“A riveting read . . . witty and bewitching.” - Winnipeg Free Press

“A delightful read from a masterful—and very funny—storyteller. [The ravens are] much like us: brave, silly, ruthless, charming, unpredictable, brilliant, lovable, and complex.” - Jennifer Ackerman, author of the New York Times–bestselling The Genius of Birds

“What a terrific book. . . I learned so much about ravens, and even things I didn’t know about the Tower. It’s like spending a long evening with a bottle of whisky as a wise Ravenmaster tells you everything you need to know.” - Neil Gaiman  

“[Skaife is] a born storyteller with a gift for banter . . . . beguiling, fascinating, and highly amusing.” - Helen Macdonald, The Atlantic

“Christopher Skaife is both a ravenmaster and a master storyteller. Compulsively readable—I devoured the book in a single sitting!” - Lindsey Fitzharris, author of The Butchering Art


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443455930
  • ISBN 10: 1443455938
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 10/02/2018
  • Pages: 256
  • List Price:29.99 CAD
  • BISAC2 : HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain
  • BISAC3 : NATURE / Animals / Birds

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