Billed as the true story of the Champawat tiger-a prolific man-eater that Jim Corbett finally killed in 1907 after it was believed to have slain 436 people in India and Nepal-No Beast So Fierce is so devoid of content that it reads like something an Indian Administrative Service applicant might,Billed as the true story of the Champawat tiger-a prolific man-eater that Jim Corbett finally killed in 1907 after it was believed to have slain 436 people in India and Nepal-No Beast So Fierce is so devoid of content that it reads like something an Indian Administrative Service applicant might produce if commanded to vomit forth 300-odd pages.Author Dane Huckelbridge insists here and there that he trawled the many studies of tiger behaviour, colonial-era accounts of the beast he compares to a serial killer and that he travelled to India and Nepal where tigers have attacked and killed people in recent years, but it is painfully evident that he discovered next to nothing about the Champawat tiger and precious little about tigers in general.The text he has padded the book with is random, consists of uninteresting anecdotes, page-long passages borrowed from other (more interesting) books, and has employed the most flatulent, adjective-and-adverb-packed prose to stretch out his non-story.He cannot say anything without saying it a dozen times in a dozen different ways and most of what he says did not warrant mention in the first place. The simplest observations come with introductions, repetitions, explanations and recapitulations. Consider this utterly pointless and over weighted sentence as an example: “When untangling the skein of information regarding the Champawat, the unavoidable point of entry is the sheer number of its victims.” Stating the obvious is not an unusual crime, but surely here its commission is cynically premeditated-an insult to the reader. That sentence is only the introduction to several pages of similarly useless flab explicating, of all things, the size of the number 436! He actually writes, several times in rapid succession, that, in fact, 200 and 236 combine to form that sum; that it is nearly equivalent to the entire roster of America’s National Basketball Association; and why and how that number is both bigger than 400 and smaller than 500 (okay, that last bit is a minor exaggeration). And he cannot leave it without adding his inevitable fatuous recapitulation: “While comparing its statistics with modern-day professional sports teams’ numbers may border on the whimsical, the horror and trauma it would go on to cause for the inhabitants of western Nepal and the Kumaon division of northern India at the turn of the 20th century was viscerally and painfully real.”advertisementHe is not without accomplices in this crime against the English language, either. A morally bankrupt hack at HarperCollins has seen fit to describe this steaming pile of words as “equally comparable to Jaws as to Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard”-a true statement insofar as anything can be compared to things that are so much better that the comparison is laughable. And reviewers at prestigious publications including Scientific American, Nature and the Wall Street Journal purportedly called it “riveting,” “gripping” and “thrilling.”It is none of those things-unless you are thrilled to discover how far Huckelbridge is willing to go to meet his page quota.