“It was the moment that many journalists fear most: getting arrested in a foreign country. But Bryan Christy wasn’t too upset by his predicament. He had created it, after all.”

Washington Post

“As high-stakes and character-rich as an Elmore Leonard novel.” ★★★★

– Playboy

“The Lizard King is a wild, woolly, finny, feathery and scaly account of animal smuggling on a grand scale, in a weird world so expansive that a few hundred stray snakes and turtles amount to peanuts. Mr. Christy is after much bigger game …”

– Janet Maslin, The New York Times Full Review ››

“One of the planet’s most fearless investigative reporters”

Boise Weekly

“A remarkable tale of smuggling and civil war, international fugitives, and elephants.”

THE Washington Post


San Francisco Chronicle

“A hugely authoritative presenter with a lifetime’s commitment to the subject, a flair for storytelling and a fearless determination to bring violent people to justice.

-Winner, Best Presenter, Wildscreen

“This is exceptional crime reporting by a courageous man who went to unbelievable means to get his story.… ”

Tucson Citizen

“An Indiana Jones slash Inspector Clouseau for animals”

-Trevor Noah, The Daily Show

Bryan Christy represents the best of what National Geographic Society has to offer…

-Gary Knell, President and CEO, National Geographic Society

“Reminiscent of the film version of Frank W. Abagnale’s Catch Me if You Can: the determined lawman, the flamboyant scofflaw, the eventual showdown. Christy takes us deep inside the world of the smuggler… An exciting story of smugglers, lawmen, corrupt government officials, organized crime, and slithery beasts.”

– David Pitt, Booklist

Editor’s Choice


“Tight, focused, gripping…reads like a thriller…an outstanding book. Florida’s rich literature of true crime just grew richer with the publication of Bryan Christy’s The Lizard King…Christy tells the story masterfully, with a novelist’s control and sense of scene… He writes with a laconic humor that recalls Elmore Leonard….”

– David Fleshler, Sun-SentinelDetroit Free Press

“I have a feeling this guy can tell stories hair-raising enough to keep us up all night.”

Miami Herald

“High-stakes … creepily compelling … a book so complicitly illicit that it could only take place right here in our own backyard … It’s not a nice story, but it is nicely told, and pretty amazing to see it’s the really scaly creatures featured in its midst are people who look probably a whole lot like us.”

– Miami Sun Post

“What (Bryan) is doing is innovative and what needs to be done”  … “Wildlife crime reporting needs to be flipped on its head and approached from a criminal perspective.”

USA TodayFull Review ››

“Bryan Christy has entered the belly of the beasts and come out with a perfectly paced page turner. His complete infiltration into the reptile-smuggling worlds of Mike Van Nostrand and Henry Molt (lovely name for a snake man), among others, could have yielded a book overburdened with whos, hows, and whys. Instead, having mastered all the complexities by dint of exhaustive, gutsy (or crazy) reporting, he succeeds in building, in suitably plain prose, an unfolding narrative whose characters and events-evil and good-leave you marveling at the sheer unholy weirdness of people. The Lizard King is a phenomenally good read!”

– Oliver Payne, National Geographic

“Bryan Christy has fulfilled his contract as a writer on all counts; in this impassioned, noirish, funny, ruthlessly researched masterpiece he has, with a poet’s soul, given voice to the voiceless, shown us a world we could not otherwise explore on our own and borne witness to the careless mentality of our collecting, consuming culture. This is The Orchid Thief, with fangs.”

– Alexandra Fuller, author Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

“In South Florida, we love our crime stories. And we love our weird animal stories. And we’re happiest of all when the two categories intersect. [S]ome guy’s getting busted at the airport with birds in his underwear or snakes in his socks… [Those stories] are the rarely visible evidence of a vast, illegal, lucrative trade, exotic animal smuggling, which Bryan Christy recounts and reveals to great effect in his new book… [A] fascinating story.”

– Miami Herald

“[I]t hit me like a body blow … ”

The New York Times Book Review

“There’s a single sentence, three chapters into his first book, The Lizard King, where Philadelphia-area writer and first-time author Bryan Christy proves just how good he is at making sense of complicated things. … And with it, Christy enters a new and scary world: the world of promising, potential-filled writers.”

Out and About

“Everyone connected to wildlife today—from governments to zoos and field conservationists to wildlife pet traders and owners—should read The Lizard King. By plumbing the criminal nature of the wildlife trade, it demonstrates the paradigm shifts in thinking essential to tackling the illegal global wildlife trade.”

– Dr. Elizabeth L. Bennett, Wildlife Conservation

“A book unlike any you have read before, The Lizard King will take you on a twisting journey in which you will crave the culmination of the story while at the same time not wanting it to end.”

“After reading this captivatiating true story, you may never look at a reptile in the pet store—or perhaps any animal in a pet store—the same way again.”

Animal Welfare Institute


Emerging Writers Network

“Does it sound like a fictional thriller? Well, this non-fiction book is just as compelling a read as any best-selling thriller… extremely well researched…a rollercoaster…This is how a book, any book, should affect its reader, and Christy delivers.”

– Azrina Abdullah, Regional Director, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, The Star, Malaysia

“If you like a good Indiana Jones adventure, Christy’s work is loaded with all the colorful characters, entertaining asides, and exotic locations you could desire.”

– Etude: New Voices in Literary Nonfiction

“Christy’s The Lizard King tips scales of justice … [His] book will keep you up at night as you begin to see some of the world’s most frightening creatures as victims instead of villains.”

St. Petersburg Times

“It’s a story of crime, wildlife smuggling and money….Fascinating”

New Straits Times, Malaysia

“Riveting… [The Lizard King] captures in vibrant prose the dynamic personalities and habits of its human and reptilian subjects.”

Kirkus Reviews

One of the Best Non-Fiction Books of the Year

Tucson Citizen

“It wasn’t that bad.”

– Mike Van Nostrand, aka The Lizard King