Falconry, relationships, mid-life crisis and a deeply rooted appreciation for the natural world come together in this personal account that details the training of an exceptional peregrine. As O’Brien nears his fiftieth birthday he becomes seriously conflicted between moving with his wife from their South Dakota home to New Hampshire where she’ll spend the next year working or staying home to pursue his lifelong dream of training and flying the perfect falcon. After some soul searching and no small amount of understanding from his wife, O’Brien opts to stay on the ranch and live the dream that evaporates when he tries too hard.
The descriptions of falconry, working with hunting dogs, the rolling prairie hills of South Dakota and simple good food are eloquent. O’Brien does an excellent job of showing what goes into the training of both birds and dogs along with the effort and dedication it takes to create an effective hunting partner. Although many of O’Brien’s observations regarding the devastating effects generations of overgrazing have had on the prairie ring true, his heavy-handed condemnation of the NRA and its members smacks of a personal vendetta. While his descriptions of working with birds is flawless, O’Brien’s personal life may leave readers wondering about his priorities.
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