Dying Breed (2008)
Dying Breed interweaves the two most fascinating icons of Tasmanian history: the extinct Tasmanian tiger and “The Pieman” (aka Alexander Pearce) who was hanged for cannibalism in 1824. Against all odds, Pearce escaped from the most feared penal settlement of the British Empire – Sarah Island – and disappeared into the impenetrable forests of Western Tasmania. Seven convicts escaped with him, yet Pearce was the only one that emerged… along with chunks of human flesh in his pockets. The legend of Pearce was born. An extinct species… a long forgotten legend… both had a desperate need to survive; both could now have living descendants within the Tasmanian bush. Many sightings of the tiger have been reported. Many hikers have gone missing. Hundreds in fact. Zoologist Nina is convinced there are still tigers remaining in the Tasmanian wilderness, and she has proof – a photograph of a paw print snapped by her sister just before she met with a fatal accident in the bush eight years before. Unable to attain funding for an expedition, Nina fears her wish to finish her sister’s work (and perhaps lay to rest recurrent nightmares she has about her sister’s death) will never happen. Her partner, Matt, manages to persuade an old mate Jack to help finance the trip – at a price. Jack brings along a girlfriend, Rebecca, who uses the trip as an escape from her stifling real estate job. On their quest to find the extinct tiger, the group venture deep into isolated territory and into the domain of “Pieman” descendants. “Sarah” is a small township that passionately upholds its cannibalistic heritage in honour of the convict patriarch that gave birth to it. It needs to stay hidden to survive… but it also needs fresh “stock” to breed. The four hunters become the hunted.