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In 2008, YouTube.com featured an extraordinary film clip that soon became an internet phenomenon. It showed the emotional reunion of two young men and their pet lion, Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free's George Adamson, who would introduce him into his rightful home in the wild. A Lion Called Christian relates how Anthony Ace Bourke and John Rendall visited London from Australia in 1969 and bought a boisterous lion cub in Harrods. For a while, the three of them lived together as flatmates on the Kings Road, Chelsea, where Christian became a local celebrity. But he was growing up, fast, and even the church garden in which he exercised was becoming too small for him. How could Ace and John avoid incarcerating him in a zoo for the rest of his life? A chance meeting with Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, stars of Born Free, led to Christian being flown to Kenya and placed under the expert care of Adamson. Ace and John did not return to see him for a year. Now, thanks to the internet age, their incredible reunion is again being enjoyed by millions. Originally published in 1971, A Lion Called Christian has been fully revised and updated, telling Christians remarkable story in words as well as stunning photographs. It is a unique and extraordinary tale of its time that resonates again today with a worldwide audience, and is destined to become one of the great classics of animal literature.
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Ace Bourke was born in Sydney in 1946. He has become one of Australia’s leading art curators, a pioneer in the field of Aboriginal art and a colonial art specialist, staging numerous critically acclaimed exhibitions. He lives in Sydney with his two cats. John Rendall is a sixth-generation Australian, currently dividing his time between London and Sydney. John continues his commitment to the George Adamson Trust and the Born Free Foundation. John’s three children share his passion for wildlife and conservation.
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