The Ravenmaster
The first behind-the-scenes account of life with the legendary ravens at the world’s eeriest monumentThe ravens at the Tower of London are of mighty importance: rumor has it that if a raven from the Tower should ever leave, the city will fall.The title of Ravenmaster, therefore, is a serious title indeed, and after decades of serving the Queen, Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife took on the added responsibility of caring for the infamous ravens. In The Ravenmaster, he lets us in on his life as he feeds his birds raw meat and biscuits soaked in blood, buys their food at Smithfield Market, and ensures that these unusual, misunderstood, and utterly brilliant corvids are healthy, happy, and ready to captivate the four million tourists who flock to the Tower every year.A rewarding, intimate, and inspiring partnership has developed between the ravens and their charismatic and charming human, the Ravenmaster, who shares the folklore, history, and superstitions surrounding the ravens and the Tower. Shining a light on the behavior of the birds, their pecking order and social structure, and the tricks they play on us, Skaife shows who the Tower’s true guardians really are―and the result is a compelling and irreverent narrative that will surprise and enchant.

The Ravenmaster Details

TitleThe Ravenmaster
Author
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherHarperCollins Publishers
ISBN-139781443455930
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Animals, Autobiography, Memoir, History, Biography, Science

The Ravenmaster Review

  • K.J. Charles
    January 1, 1970
    I vividly remember the day of Brexit. Nobody knew what the hell was going on and the pound fell off a cliff and we saw the leading Brexiteers looking nauseous and terrified as they realised their actions had catastrophic consequences, and the Prime Minister's resignation only made it to #3 on the news agenda. It was chaotic and terrifying in the days when that wasn't standard practice. I was on Twitter of course, and there I saw a tweet from the Ravenmaster with a picture of the Tower ravens tha I vividly remember the day of Brexit. Nobody knew what the hell was going on and the pound fell off a cliff and we saw the leading Brexiteers looking nauseous and terrified as they realised their actions had catastrophic consequences, and the Prime Minister's resignation only made it to #3 on the news agenda. It was chaotic and terrifying in the days when that wasn't standard practice. I was on Twitter of course, and there I saw a tweet from the Ravenmaster with a picture of the Tower ravens that read, simply, "We are still here." I welled up. It meant a lot. This is a marvellous book about a bizarre job. Mr Skaife is a Yeoman Warder and in charge of the Tower ravens because if they ever leave the Tower, the country will fall. He actually shows that to be a relatively recent myth, but that doesn't make it any less true IMO: it's deeply embedded in the national consciousness and every story has to start somewhere. This is very much a book of stories, one of those reads that feels like you're in the pub with a really interesting bloke. Chatty, discursive, a lot about the life that brought him to this point, and loads about the ravens he adores. You learn about raven flight feathers and bird distribution globally and raven myths and Army drumming and what it was like to be on Army duty in South Armagh or Belize and how the Warders cope with the visiting public (taking the mickey, basically), and it's all just a really interesting slice of human life. I'm now desperate to go to the Tower again, tourist trap that it is, just to check out the birds. A lovely book.
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    I've been a fan of ravens for a long time and always detested their bad reputation thanks to silly old superstitions that seem to mostly derive from their physical appearance and the fact that they are omnivores. Especially the latter seems only yet another sign of their extreme intelligence because all of us who've paid attention in biology know that highly specialized (picky) animals are much more likely to die out (yes, I'm also talking about you, sabre-toothed tigers).It all began with Sir D I've been a fan of ravens for a long time and always detested their bad reputation thanks to silly old superstitions that seem to mostly derive from their physical appearance and the fact that they are omnivores. Especially the latter seems only yet another sign of their extreme intelligence because all of us who've paid attention in biology know that highly specialized (picky) animals are much more likely to die out (yes, I'm also talking about you, sabre-toothed tigers).It all began with Sir David Attenborough, as is often the case. Yes, I adore the man and always will. He is the prime example of a human not caring about looks but ability and he was the one telling me (through one of his BBC programmes) about the intelligence tests (Kerplunk games) for ravens that most of them seem to ace every time.Then, some time ago, I somehow heard about the Ravenmaster on Twitter. I didn't know anything about the man or his job but the tweet had the picture of a gorgeous raven so I clicked and scrolled - and became addicted to the man's updates. Through his photographs and little videos I got to share his enthusiasm and see some of the quirky birds almost every day.My plan had been to see London eventually, the plans having been thwarted by a lack of money for a long time, and those plans only got invigorated by the prospect of meeting these special corvids personally when visiting the historic site! And this year my dream finally came true. I had the money and didn't care that I'd had to go on vacation on my own, I could do this! Thus, I booked tickets and made plans and got really excited.Imagine my delight, therefore, when I heard that the man was going to publish a book about his life at the Tower and the ravens there! So when I was in London this past week, I had to get a copy before making my way to the Tower and I did. It wasn't the edition I had originally wanted but I didn't care (unusual for me). Packed and ready to go, I got there early and went on one of the apparently famous Yeoman Warder tours (like an idiot I hadn't known much about the Tower in advance except for some juicy historical bits).Following the sarcastic "elderly and rude" (his words) Yeoman Warder and listening to his take on the history of the fortress was delightful. Afterwards, I met a raven posing for tourists when exiting the exhibition of the crown jewels. I took some pictures, moved on. After walking through yet another exhibition (the Fusiliers Museum), I made my way to the raven enclose, heart set on meeting the Ravenmaster and getting my book signed. And he was there! I only noticed by a complete coincidence despite his uniform. I chatted him up and ...However, like a complete idiot, despite him being so nice and friendly and us chatting for a few solid minutes about everything from the ravens themselves to our shared admiration for Sir David Attenborough, I forgot to ask for a feather - because it is mentioned in the book that the Ravenmaster sometimes has some that he hands out. *doh*He had to leave, however, because despite it being his day off, he had to watch some students who were researching and filming the ravens' behavioral patterns and talking to some journalists (I was lucky he was there at all)!Thus, I made my way to yet more interesting sights around the Tower (there is no shortage of those), tried kicking myself for not having remembered to ask about the feather, kept watching the birds and even entered the gift shop where I got a cute raven pin and pencil with a raven on top. I was contemplating my chances of finding him again when I noticed him while walking the battlements and made a split-second decision to stalk the poor man. So I descended the stairs, keeping an eye on the Ravenmaster and the reporters filming him, waited in front of the enclosure where Poppy (youngest member of the raven staff) promptly entertained me when a student entered her enclosure and tried to take one of her toys away (yes, pure Schadenfreude, but the woman deserved it - she wanted to take a toy away!), which prompted the cheeky bird to show her who the boss was and chasing her out. Yes, I chuckled, I may have even laughed loudly (no, I'm not sorry) because even the bird looked at me. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Ravenmaster then walked down and out of the enclosure with the journalists, I followed (yes, I know, but I wanted a feather!), waited until the journalists had said goodbye for what must have been the fourth time - and then I made my move! If you ever read this, Ravenmaster, I really am sorry. *lol*Anyway, I found the courage to chat him up again, inquired about the feather an lo and behold, I didn't get one but TWO!!!But that isn't the end of this glorious tale, nope. I was so incredibly happy after leaving the food preparation rooms where he kept dead chicks and the afore-mentioned feathers that I had to sit down. I opted for one of the benches around White Tower, hoping for a good shot of one of the ravens. And suddenly there was Poppy! She was walking from left to right and left again behind my bench, probably trying to scare me so I'd drop some food. Alas, I had deliberately nothing on me. Instead, I turned around, facing her and started talking to her. Yes, I talk to animals, I don't care what you think about that. But here is the amazing thing: she cocked her head, hopped onto the litter bin and from there onto my bench next to me AND STARTING CHATTING BACK (no idea what else to call it)!!! She came so close, I could have easily stroked her feathers but of course I didn't. I wasn't scared or anything, I just figured she wouldn't like that (imagine if even only a quarter of all tourists tried that, how annoyed she would have to be). So I sat there, eyeing her, talking, listening to her sounds. Then I took the picture below (yes, she was definitely posing when she wasn't cleaning her beak) and then she took off.Nothing - and I mean NOTHING - could compare to that during my vacation. I wasn't walking, I was floating for the rest of the day.Tonight, I finally finished this compelling, funny and insightful book that gave me historical information as much as some great insight into the Ravenmaster's military career and the mischief of these extraordinary birds. I am no longer surprised that they actually are working the crowds (two of them did after my encounter with Poppy, first performing for one side, then turning around and doing the routine on the other, it was glorious to watch).From the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU, Ravenmaster, for a book that isn't only entertaining (though it definitely is) but also moving and THANK YOU for spending some of your precious (free) time with this fan and being so generous to her.And THANK YOU, Poppy, for not doing to me what you did to that female student (she totally deserved it). ;)P.S.: This hardcover edition has nearly 300 pages, by the way, not only 208 as Goodreads claims.
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  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
  • Nostalgia Reader
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars.This will be a very brief review, not for lack of interest in the book, but rather because it was relatively short itself.Skaife is a delightful storyteller, and this memoir weaves the perfect mixture of facts about caring for the ravens at the Tower, personal history, and Tower factoids. I never felt like the raven-memoir aspect of it was ever sacrificed for the personal history aspect. Skaife frames the book around his daily routine with the birds, with chapters veering off to talk a 4.5 stars.This will be a very brief review, not for lack of interest in the book, but rather because it was relatively short itself.Skaife is a delightful storyteller, and this memoir weaves the perfect mixture of facts about caring for the ravens at the Tower, personal history, and Tower factoids. I never felt like the raven-memoir aspect of it was ever sacrificed for the personal history aspect. Skaife frames the book around his daily routine with the birds, with chapters veering off to talk about the history of the ravens, their species as a whole, a variety of reminisces about his personal history and how he got to work at the Tower, and, of course, the routine itself of caring for the ravens. All around it was both informative and amusing read. I had wished it was a bit longer, or more substantial in some some aspects, but it also worked perfect as a short book due to the wide variety of topics covered.Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the Tower of London or ravens!Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy to review!(Cross posted on my blog.)
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  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a fan of ravens and crows my entire life. When I met the ravens at the Tower I fell in love. Ordering this book was a no-brainer! WAITING FOR IT TO GET ACROSS THE POND was a bummer. All the UK reviews on social media just reminded me how far away I am. Once it was in my hands I devoured it. Great read. Charming, thoughtful and absolutely enjoyable.
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  • Melise Gerber
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed reading this book quite a bit. It is a combination autobiography and history describing the life of the Yeoman Warder who is in charge of caring for the ravens that live at the Tower of London. He tells anecdotes about working with the birds, explains why they live at the Tower, the procedures that are used for caring for these animals and provides a lot of information about the raven itself.As an American born and raised in Southern California, I have never had the opportunity to tour I enjoyed reading this book quite a bit. It is a combination autobiography and history describing the life of the Yeoman Warder who is in charge of caring for the ravens that live at the Tower of London. He tells anecdotes about working with the birds, explains why they live at the Tower, the procedures that are used for caring for these animals and provides a lot of information about the raven itself.As an American born and raised in Southern California, I have never had the opportunity to tour the Tower of London, but have visited Disneyland numerous times. I have often thought that being a tour guide for the Jungle Ride at Disneyland must be one of the best jobs at the park, as the tour guides consistently make silly jokes and bad puns and seem to be enjoying themselves immensely. Based upon Skaife's book, I am guessing that being a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London is a very similar position. His descriptions of many of his and his coworkers' interactions with the public reminded me of the type of humor I have heard on the Jungle Ride. This good-natured humor permeates the entire book, and made it an overall pleasant reading experience.One of the unexpected pleasures that arose out of reading this book was his description of the ravens themselves, which are much more intelligent than I ever knew. I was reading this book on my iPad, and frequently found myself clicking away from the book to listen to recordings of raven vocalizations, and videos of ravens flying, or using tools or solving complex problems. It was a fascinating introduction to a subject that I knew nothing about previously, and I am looking forward to doing more research about ravens and their behavior.All in all, this was a quick and enjoyable read that I definitely recommend.I received an advanced reading copy from Farrar, Straus and Giroux via NetGalley. Thanks!
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  • Billie
    January 1, 1970
    Narrated by the author, with whom I now want to hang out and have a drink.
  • Julia Simpson-Urrutia
    January 1, 1970
    Stepping back into history is fun, but ravenmasters do not really seem to go that far back, according to Skaife's comment that he is but the sixth appointed ravenmaster at the Tower of London. I recommend this very well written book for lovers of London history because tourists who step into the Tower estate will find themselves so crowded by other tourists that they may not get as many stories as they wish--and certainly not from the ravenmaster. I liked reading about the ravens and Skaife's fr Stepping back into history is fun, but ravenmasters do not really seem to go that far back, according to Skaife's comment that he is but the sixth appointed ravenmaster at the Tower of London. I recommend this very well written book for lovers of London history because tourists who step into the Tower estate will find themselves so crowded by other tourists that they may not get as many stories as they wish--and certainly not from the ravenmaster. I liked reading about the ravens and Skaife's frank admiration of them. We are beholden to bird lovers and rescuers everywhere. I was enchanted by this book! #The Ravenmaster and its cover art. #NetGalley.
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  • Brittney Foster
    January 1, 1970
    This book was exactly what I hoped it would be - a first hand account of life as the Raven Master. Skaife mixes in history in a very accessible way, people with limited knowledge of British history will be able to follow along. He added personal anecdotes which allow the reader to establish a connection to this genuine man. He is clearly passionate about his duty in the forces and his current role now. And of course you learn about the Ravens! For one I did not know that a raven was bigger than This book was exactly what I hoped it would be - a first hand account of life as the Raven Master. Skaife mixes in history in a very accessible way, people with limited knowledge of British history will be able to follow along. He added personal anecdotes which allow the reader to establish a connection to this genuine man. He is clearly passionate about his duty in the forces and his current role now. And of course you learn about the Ravens! For one I did not know that a raven was bigger than a crow! He explains his daily chores of caring for the birds but also The intricate social hierarchy of the birds with in the tower. I also appreciated how he went into detail about how he is working hard to improve the life and living quarters of the ravens. He recognizes that while these birds may never live free they are living the absolute best life he can offer.I hope this book gets marketed in the correct way and we can get it to the best seller list. Chris, I will be looking for you next time I’m at the tower!
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  • Grrlscientist
    January 1, 1970
    review coming (as soon as i get the final version of the book so i can quote it in my review!)
  • Hilary Scroggie
    January 1, 1970
    This was exactly the flavor of "strange corners of Britishness" that I like best.
  • Becky Spratford
    January 1, 1970
    I reviewed this for my ALA Annual 2018 Booklist Read ’N’ Rave Panel. Details: http://raforall.blogspot.com/2018/06/...
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Told with wit and invaluable insight The Ravenmaster is a veritable treasure trove of raven lore and captivating personal tales told by a man of whom I am now frustratingly envious. Best. Job. EVER!
  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I've been following the author on Twitter for a while so I was familiar with his job and what it entails.  Despite that, this is still a fascinating look at the care of the ravens at the Tower of London.If you aren't familiar with the story, there is a legend (which the author casts doubts on) that if the ravens leave the Tower of London, then England will fall.  There are seven ravens who live in the Tower.  They are free during the day to mingle with the tourists, steal food from the tourists, I've been following the author on Twitter for a while so I was familiar with his job and what it entails.  Despite that, this is still a fascinating look at the care of the ravens at the Tower of London.If you aren't familiar with the story, there is a legend (which the author casts doubts on) that if the ravens leave the Tower of London, then England will fall.  There are seven ravens who live in the Tower.  They are free during the day to mingle with the tourists, steal food from the tourists, and observe the general hub bub.  At night they have an enclosure to help protect them from the foxes who also live in the tower.  "In the past the Ravenmasters preferred to put the food out around the Tower, but the problem was that a seagull might take a nice juicy piece of ox liver, say, that was intended for a raven, have a little nibble on it and then casually drop it on a visitor from a great height."The ravens aren't pets.  They aren't tame.  They don't work on your schedule.  They don't sit nicely on the bench when David Attenborough wants to film with them.  They are prone to killing and eating pigeons (not always in that order) in front of the tourists.  Most of the Ravenmaster's time seems to be taken up with getting them where they are supposed to be and getting them out of places where they shouldn't be. "[m]ore than once I’ve seen a raven chasing the Tower’s many resident cats and dogs." Readers of this book will find out not only lots about ravens but about what it takes to be a Yeoman Warder.  He discusses The Story - the official tour group talk that takes people about 6 months to learn perfectly before they can start to change it by adding in their own embellishments.  The Story is standardized so any Yeoman Warder can step in and take over a tour if the original guide has to step away to help someone (like if they faint after watching ravens murder other birds.)  The book is written in short chapters in a very conversational style which makes it a very quick and entertaining read.  I enjoyed this more since I have been to the Tower and could visualize most of the places that he is discussing.  If you haven't been there, looking at a map of the grounds would be helpful to understanding the story. This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story
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  • Anne Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    In The Ravenmaster, we have the first behind-the-scenes, insider story of what it's like being the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. I follow Skaife on social media and have been looking forward to reading this book for a long time- and it does not disappoint! Ravenmaster Christopher Skaife generously shares his successes and learning experiences, triumphs and tragedies, and gives readers a glimpse into his life caring for some of the most famous ravens in the world. He tells us the Story of t In The Ravenmaster, we have the first behind-the-scenes, insider story of what it's like being the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. I follow Skaife on social media and have been looking forward to reading this book for a long time- and it does not disappoint! Ravenmaster Christopher Skaife generously shares his successes and learning experiences, triumphs and tragedies, and gives readers a glimpse into his life caring for some of the most famous ravens in the world. He tells us the Story of the Tower as if giving us a tour of the grounds: its history, famous residents and prisoners, and woven throughout are stories of the ravens. Ravens past and present, their personalities and habits, and his relationship with each one of them.Throughout this fast-paced, witty and enthralling account, Skaife's love for the ravens comes through loud and clear. It is clear that you need not only to think like a raven to succeed in this job, but always need your sense of humor about you! By the end, the reader not only has a delightful glimpse into his life, but the lives of his feathered friends as well. Skaife is a natural storyteller, and reading The Ravenmaster is like he is sitting down with you over a drink and telling you about the latest exploits of Merlina and her cohorts.An absolute must-read for history-lovers, Anglophiles, and animals lovers, make sure to clear a few hours for yourself when you sit down with The Ravenmaster, because once you start you won't be able to put it down!
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I’m glad I decided on the audio book for this one. It is read by the author and the joy that he has in his job shines through. And the accent doesn’t hurt either. 🙂Skaife goes from a young (seemly) hooligan to boy solider to Yeoman Warder. He describes each phase of his life with charm and wit.The main thing is his genuine love for the Ravens and his job. For not being an ornithologist, Skaife has come up with some interesting innovations for the care of the birds. Made a couple of gaffes, too. I’m glad I decided on the audio book for this one. It is read by the author and the joy that he has in his job shines through. And the accent doesn’t hurt either. 🙂Skaife goes from a young (seemly) hooligan to boy solider to Yeoman Warder. He describes each phase of his life with charm and wit.The main thing is his genuine love for the Ravens and his job. For not being an ornithologist, Skaife has come up with some interesting innovations for the care of the birds. Made a couple of gaffes, too. Sprinkle some history, folklore and personal experiences and you have a fun read/listen.Would love to share a pint or three with this man and hear even more.5/5
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  • Latkins
    January 1, 1970
    This is an excellent book which blends the life story of the author, with a typical day caring for the ravens and conducting tours at the Tower of London, a history of the Tower, and an examination of the behaviour of ravens. Each raven has its own personality and it's interesting to read about their various escapades. The book is fairly short and easy to get into, and Christopher Claire is an informative and affable host. Long may the ravens reign!
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. It covers not only the ravens but also the Tower of London and his career. The ravens are fascinating. It's a very chatty book and very wide reaching. If you like history and birds then this is the book for you.
  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    I truly enjoyed this book. The combination of autobiography, history of the Tower of London ravens, and biology of ravens was truly interesting. I particularly appreciated the author's humor. Christopher Skaife is a cheeky Yeoman Warder.
  • Monika
    January 1, 1970
    This was really just an okay read for me. The parts that were actually about the ravens were great - the stuff on his life in the army, not so much.
  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book. The author narrates and does a lovely job. I envy his life.
  • Book Seller GV
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing book about life at the Tower of London, featuring remarkable insight into the lives of the famous ravens and the Ravenmaster himself.
  • Ali
    January 1, 1970
    What a delightful read! I have a particular love of birds, especially birds who choose to live closely with people, so I was very excited to be chosen to read this by Netgalley. And it was worth every minute I spent with it. Not only do we get to learn about the ravens of the Tower of London and all the history and lore that goes along with them, but we also get to know each bird’s personality and quirks. Even more, the author shares stories of his experience, both as Ravenmaster and his time in What a delightful read! I have a particular love of birds, especially birds who choose to live closely with people, so I was very excited to be chosen to read this by Netgalley. And it was worth every minute I spent with it. Not only do we get to learn about the ravens of the Tower of London and all the history and lore that goes along with them, but we also get to know each bird’s personality and quirks. Even more, the author shares stories of his experience, both as Ravenmaster and his time in the infantry, and he is as entertaining and charming as you could possibly want. I really enjoyed this book and was sorry to see it end. Highly recommended.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a wonderful glimpse into the history, lore and personalities of the ravens living at the Tower of London as well as the man entrusted with their care, Chris Skaife. I listened to this on audio and Chris’s narration made it all the more enjoyable. It is clear listening to him that he loves the ravens, loves telling stories, and is very adaptable to changing situations which is paramount to his success as a Ravenmaster having to handle the birds that are not trained nor tamed to do hi This book is a wonderful glimpse into the history, lore and personalities of the ravens living at the Tower of London as well as the man entrusted with their care, Chris Skaife. I listened to this on audio and Chris’s narration made it all the more enjoyable. It is clear listening to him that he loves the ravens, loves telling stories, and is very adaptable to changing situations which is paramount to his success as a Ravenmaster having to handle the birds that are not trained nor tamed to do his bidding. It is clear that the Tower of London made the right choice when hiring him straight out of a 20+ year successful military career. He seamlessly blends his love of the birds with Tower of London history and his own life experiences so well it’s like you’re there just hanging out with him as he goes about his daily routine. He goes into great and fascinating detail about each of the birds’ ages, pedigree, and personalities; it’s clear he has spent a lot of time getting to know his subjects and in return the birds obviously respect Chris because almost none of them have flown off in his time as Ravenmaster (one bird did disappear after flying out of scaffolding but they never found him, he was presumed dead). The ravens could fly off if they wanted because he does a minimum amount of wing clipping and Chris prefers to keep the Ravens as close to wild as possible in case they need to flee from foxes or otherwise find themselves on their own. This will be enjoyable to anyone who appreciates good storytelling, a bit of humor and history all while learning about the ravens that live at the Tower of London. Chris knows his birds intimately and appreciates the unique environment where he is lucky enough to live which shines through in his storytelling and his love of the ravens in the Tower of London.
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  • Nate
    January 1, 1970
    This is just a perfect mix of a day-to-day memoir of the Ravenmaster, some anecdotes about his life and his hijinks with the ravens, and a bit of history of the Tower and ravens with some raven science mixed in. Skaife comes off as a very likable, dutiful guy who is super passionate about his charges, which makes this a pleasure to read. I did it in one day. When I visited the Tower, I felt bad for these guys who have to wear these uniforms in all weather, but you can really see that, at least f This is just a perfect mix of a day-to-day memoir of the Ravenmaster, some anecdotes about his life and his hijinks with the ravens, and a bit of history of the Tower and ravens with some raven science mixed in. Skaife comes off as a very likable, dutiful guy who is super passionate about his charges, which makes this a pleasure to read. I did it in one day. When I visited the Tower, I felt bad for these guys who have to wear these uniforms in all weather, but you can really see that, at least for Skaife, they really love their jobs. A really interesting and unique book (and short too)!A copy of this book was provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lissa
    January 1, 1970
    This short book written by the current Ravenmaster of the Tower of London is a pure simple, relaxing, informative delight. After over two decades in the British Army, he applied for a position as a Yeoman Warder the Tower, not knowing that it would lead to his current position. Currently in charge of the welfare of seven ravens, Mr. Skaife has an authentic affection and interest for the birds who have complex personalities and behaviors. Written simply, I couldn’t help but become just as enamore This short book written by the current Ravenmaster of the Tower of London is a pure simple, relaxing, informative delight. After over two decades in the British Army, he applied for a position as a Yeoman Warder the Tower, not knowing that it would lead to his current position. Currently in charge of the welfare of seven ravens, Mr. Skaife has an authentic affection and interest for the birds who have complex personalities and behaviors. Written simply, I couldn’t help but become just as enamored of the Tower ravens as the author. I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Eleanor
    January 1, 1970
    One of the more delightful memoirs of the latter half of the year (it’s out in October). Skaife is a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, and more specifically, the one in charge of the Tower’s ravens: legend has it that their departure will cause the kingdom to fall. It’s obviously not true (the Tower didn’t have ravens at a point in the ’40s, and we won the war, didn’t we?), but Skaife takes great joy in describing his daily routine, the awe-inspiring intelligence of corvids (they’re about as One of the more delightful memoirs of the latter half of the year (it’s out in October). Skaife is a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, and more specifically, the one in charge of the Tower’s ravens: legend has it that their departure will cause the kingdom to fall. It’s obviously not true (the Tower didn’t have ravens at a point in the ’40s, and we won the war, didn’t we?), but Skaife takes great joy in describing his daily routine, the awe-inspiring intelligence of corvids (they’re about as clever as a five-to-seven-year-old human child), and the Tower’s many myths and legends. I got to go on a private tour of the Tower with him, thanks to his publishers, and can confirm that he really is as jolly and eager to share knowledge as the book makes him appear. Follow him on Twitter, and pick this up for any history buffs, Anglophiles and/or bird-lovers you know this Christmas.Originally published here.
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  • Csimplot
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book
  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    I'm sure my reading list doesn't compare to many of the ones here, but this has been my favorite read of this year. I am absolutely infatuated with this book! I was very excited to win the chance to read it since I had just begun trying to lure the local crows to my yard to keep hawks away. I (mistakenly) thought ravens and crows were the same bird! This book taught me some lore, raven science, history, and the anecdotes kept me amused for hours! The Tower of London is now very much on my bucket I'm sure my reading list doesn't compare to many of the ones here, but this has been my favorite read of this year. I am absolutely infatuated with this book! I was very excited to win the chance to read it since I had just begun trying to lure the local crows to my yard to keep hawks away. I (mistakenly) thought ravens and crows were the same bird! This book taught me some lore, raven science, history, and the anecdotes kept me amused for hours! The Tower of London is now very much on my bucket list and my poor husband has heard more about ravens then he ever thought possible! I wish there were more stars to give than five because I truly feel it is not a fair representation of how much I enjoyed this book! The only downside is that when he does the book tour, it didn't appear to be stopping in my neck of the woods!
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  • Gretchen Marie
    January 1, 1970
    This was just so charming and such a fun read. History lovers and anglophiles will definitely enjoy this one.
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