There’s joy in The Ravenmaster, as well as tragedy, obsession, and a rare tenderness toward Skaife’s avian charges ... Skaife is doing us, I think, a small political service by introducing us to the quirks and histories of every bird in his care; he is letting us love them in a way that makes them more than mere symbols. Ravens have long been regarded as messengers, and the message the birds in this marvelous book have given me is this: Perhaps, by paying much closer and more careful attention to the reality of the things we unconsciously use to claim the past, we might move a little further toward safety in a world that seems to be teetering on the brink.
This is an utterly fascinating book about one of those subjects you never thought you’d be interested in until, well, you were ... Skaife is a very good storyteller, and the book is full of the kind of anecdote that would make a great scene in a movie (like, for instance, the time one of the ravens orchestrated a daring escape from the Tower). A splendid and constantly surprising book.
It’s no H Is for Hawk as a literary achievement, but Skaife’s account delivers a pleasing set of anecdotes that will appeal to the Atlas Obscura–reading crowd, to say nothing of corvid fans ... For those seeking the secrets of the Tower of London without actually being imprisoned there, this is just the thing.