In 1902, Arsenyev, the great explorer/geographer/geologist, was with an expedition in Eastern Siberia when Dersu appeared. It becomes evident very quickly in Arsenyev's journal account that Dersu is one of nature's noblemen. Deprived of his family by a smallpox epidemic, the hunter ceased to have a home base. He lived on what he could shoot with an antique rifle, clothed himself in animal skins and used all nature for his newspaper. He taught Arsenyev many of the tricks of survival he had learned the hard way; he revealed the hunting skills that had become reflex action and, on more than one occasion, he saved Arsenyev's life. The publisher has compared Dersu to Cooper's character, the Deerslayer, but in our opinion, Dersu is far more interesting and much easier to read about.