Book Review: Hunting Across the Danube, by Peter Lewis Horn II

Hmm. I have to give this book a definite “Meh.” 3 stars.

Long story short, I often end up poking very odd subjects on my own dime, given local libraries aren’t so keen on ordering interlibrary loans. This book I got for obvious reasons: it’s about hunting in and around the Carpathians, and I thought it might be cool to have more background info for Taka, especially if I end up writing another story in that setting. Hunting, werewolves – makes sense, right?

And it’s not a bad book. It gives a lot of locales, how people get from other countries to the various hunting locations, checklists on “what you should bring”. If you want some light reading on hunting big game in Eastern Europe, this will do you.

That… wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, though.

I guess I’ve been spoiled by books like “The Man-Eaters of Kumaon” by Jim Corbett, or “The Tiger” by John Vaillant. Books that go far beyond “I went X and shot Y”, to the details of what it’s like to be out in a pitiless natural environment hunting down something that may be all too willing to hunt you right back.

I was hoping for more… sensory impressions, I’d have to say. What does it feel like to be up well before dawn, stalking through the woods or up mountainsides with native guides who only share some common words of German, to take that one perfect shot? This author tends to fall back far too much on “there’s nothing like it”. Without ever trying to describe what it is like.

So… I don’t know. If you want to read what kind of guns the guy likes, what high-society names he likes to arrange hunting trips for, how many and what animals they shot, you might like it. If you want to really try to get into the head of a hunter, though, there are better books.

I do think it’ll be useful for reference info. Just, if I want real sensory meat, I’m going to have to look up other stuff!

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Hunting Across the Danube, by Peter Lewis Horn II

  1. I got a book that I thought would be interesting, but turned out to be a list-book too. I feel your pain/aggravation.


    1. Thanks! I really want to know what the reviewers were thinking; they wax poetic about his descriptions of the hunts, and they’re… not very descriptive. Not compared to Corbett or Vaillant, at least!

      “The Tiger” I highly recommend. It is as scary, to me, as the Alien movie – only it really happened!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is actually one of the reasons I got into reading fanfic. My library had an unlimited “as many free inter-library loans as you want” policy when I first got my library card. A few years later, they limited it to “you can only have up to 5 free ILL requests unfulfilled at one time, and have to pay for more (tho as soon as they arrive, you stop counting against your limit)”. Then down to just 2 free requests. They also started closing library branches and getting rid of books, despite being a major city’s public library system (meanwhile, the city built yet another stadium despite the people voting against it).

    Last I heard, we now have to pay for every ILL request, but it’s been a few years since I seriously used the library here. When it got to the point where I had to pay for everything interesting, and had already read all the books they had that I had any interest in looking at, it ceased to be worth going to the library. Especially when there was all this fanfiction available online. And some really good authors out there. (you’re one of the really good ones, who even gets me to read settings I wouldn’t otherwise be interested in because of the quality of your work)


    1. Holy cow, that sounds so familiar. Just about exactly what happened to our local library system. They rent books now, instead of owning them; I gave the library here 5 copies of A Net of Dawn and Bones, one for each branch, so they at least own that.

      I still go to the library to get general info and do some small print jobs and internet research, but yeah, the variety of books they now have compared to that they had 15 years ago is pitiful. For example, they used to have a book written by a guy who spent a year working with and researching carnivals – awesome info, if you wanted to put any of that setting in a book. Now? Poof!

      So I read a lot of fanfic, and thank goodness for and Amazon, because sometimes I need stuff the local library apparently doesn’t even imagine people could be interested in. Drat.


      1. It’s worse in some ways, because even before the local branch of the library got shut down (making it so we have to drive quite a distance to go to any branch of the library) we had more books in our house than the local branch of the library did. And that’s after getting rid of over half our books during our travels. (we left most of the books we had in Guatemala behind because they didn’t fit, and most of the ones we had in storage in the US got left behind when we moved here)

        I still occasionally get something from the library, but by this point it’s mostly become easier to do research online when I’m looking for something nonfiction. Sure, it’s “the internet, so it can’t be trusted”, but anyone who’s reasonable knows the same is true for actual hardcopy books. (just look at some of the myths about weapon and armor weights, that came about essentially because the reference books all went “that other reference book says it, so it must be true”) And sites like Project Rho are things you just can’t really get in books, normally, except for the occasional super-dense super-boring “just the numbers, but _all_ the numbers” reference books.


      2. Ouch. *Nod* This is not how libraries should work, darn it. Kids should enjoy finding things they had no clue even existed! Adults, too.

        …Wish I had a good idea how to improve the situation….


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