In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on
YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon.
It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their
pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with
Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his
rightful home in the wild.
A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable
story of how Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, visitors
to London from Australia in 1969, bought the boisterous lion
cub in the pet department of Harrods. For several months,
the three of them shared a flat above a furniture shop on
London’s King’s Road, where the charismatic and intelligent
Christian quickly became a local celebrity, cruising the
streets in the back of a Bentley, popping in for lunch at a
local restaurant, even posing for a fashion advertisement.
But the lion cub was growing up—fast—and soon even
the walled church garden where he went for exercise wasn’t
large enough for him. How could Ace and John avoid having to
send Christian to a zoo for the rest of his life? A
coincidental meeting with English actors Virginia McKenna
and Bill Travers, stars of the hit film Born Free,
led to Christian being flown to Kenya and placed under the
expert care of “the father of lions” George Adamson.
Incredibly, when Ace and John returned to Kenya to see
Christian a year later, they received a loving welcome from
their lion, who was by then fully integrated into Africa and
a life with other lions.
Originally published in
1971, and now fully revised and updated with more than 50
photographs of Christian from cuddly cub inLondon to
magnificent lion in Africa, A Lion Called Christian
is a touching and uplifting true story of an indelible
human-animal bond. It is is destined to become one of the
great classics of animal literature.
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