This is a second book but it's a great stand-alone read and doesn't require any knowledge of the first book to get totally immersed in the story. I was on pins and needles until the very end.
Eric Dinerstein uses the reader's prior knowledge of the ivory trade leading to the senseless killing of elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns to craft a story that is superbly suspenseful.
Poachers invade the relative sanctity of the Nepalese King's Royal Elephant Breeding Center. From the start, you know the Center's giant bull elephant, Hira Prishad, will be one of their targets, as are the Center's rhinos, and many are slaughtered before 12-year-old Nandu and his friends find a way to stop the killings.
Nandu's attitude toward elephants changes and in the end he realizes he can't keep Hira Prishad safe in the enclosure. He must let Hira Pirshad join the wild herd. For me, the ending was heart-breaking, as I know that even after those particular poachers were captured and arrested, that many, many more were likely on the way...and Hira Prishad's time was ultimately limited.