“Will Staples is passionate about wildlife and conservation. Although this book is a fictitious story it is based on sound research and a real understanding of the issues discussed. Animals will help people realize the horrors of global wildlife trafficking—the cruelty, the corruption, and, as we now know from COVID-19, the risk it poses to human health. Thank you, Will, for writing this.” —Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, www.JaneGoodall.org
South African Defense Force veteran Cobus Venter embarks on a mission to take down an animal trafficking syndicate. Joined by insurance investigator Randall Knight, the two find themselves on a journey that takes them from the darkest corners of Southeast Asia to the VIP gambling rooms of Macau. They must stay alive long enough to stop a vicious triad of animal traffickers from ending wildlife as we know it.
Animals by Will Staples
When rhino poachers kill two of his fellow rangers in Kruger Park, South African Defense Force veteran Cobus Venter reaches his breaking point. Quitting his job, he embarks on a vigilante mission to take down the animal-trafficking syndicate from the inside. Meanwhile, in Florida, insurance investigator Randall Knight is called to a private roadside zoo, where a new tiger cub of suspect lineage brought a virus that wiped out all the zoo’s tigers. The disease is just one species jump away from erupting into a deadly global human pandemic. What starts as a simple insurance claim leads Knight to discover a shocking new evolution in the business of illicit animal trafficking. Both men’s journeys take them from the darkest corners of Southeast Asia to the VIP gambling rooms of Macau, where they must stay alive long enough to stop a vicious international triad from ending wildlife as we know it.
Animals is set in the world of global animal trafficking and follows converging story lines into a dark maze of corruption and organized crime, and through the journeys of the main characters, the novel explores the factors driving the exploitation and ruin of the natural world.
Though the story is fiction, the characters, locations, and plot points are almost entirely rooted in fact. They are the product of hundreds of conversations with everyone from Jane Goodall to the CIA, to Damien Mander (an ex-mercenary turned animal activist). To experience the issue firsthand, Will Staples took a month-long research trip spanning three continents and seven countries. The journey was a profoundly transformative, life-altering experience.
The author’s goal with this novel is to expose this issue to as many people as possible. To that end, all his income from this book will be donated to nonprofit organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife.
“This is more than a story about the fate of wildlife—it’s a story about the fate of the earth. As an animal lover, I highly recommend this book.” —Arnold Schwarzenegger
“A suspenseful thriller heavily rooted in extensive research into the cruel underworld of global animal trafficking, Animals uses fiction to starkly expose the repercussions of harrowing inhumanity. Intense and gripping to the very last page, Animals is worthy of the highest recommendation.” —Midwest Book Review
“Screenwriter Staples…makes the tragedy of animal trafficking vivid in his impressive debut…Staples skillfully weaves multiple plot strands, including CIA efforts to combat terrorism, with well-developed characters. His extensive research pays off in this moving, multifaceted tale.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Animals is a thrilling and cinematic exploration of the animal-trafficking underworld and its surprisingly far-reaching consequences. Staples expertly weaves together memorable characters from every corner of the globe, whose storylines braid together into a tense page-turner.” —Nicole Perlman, cowriter of Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel
Will Staples writes movies, television series, video games, and books. He has worked on such films as Without Remorse and the Mission Impossible franchise. His television work includes the Jack Ryan and Shooter series and adapting Tom Wolfe’s book The Right Stuff for Disney+. He has written numerous hit video games, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Dion Graham is an award-winning narrator named a “Golden Voice” by AudioFile magazine. He has been a recipient of the prestigious Audie Award numerous times, as well as Earphones Awards, the Publishers Weekly Listen Up Awards, IBPA Ben Franklin Awards, and the ALA Odyssey Award. He was nominated in 2015 for a Voice Arts Award for Outstanding Narration. He is also a critically acclaimed actor who he has performed on Broadway, off Broadway, internationally, in films, and in several hit television series. He is a graduate of Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, with an MFA degree in acting.