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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treasure for the soul, 25 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Doglands (Hardcover)
I'm not particularly a dog lover (I have never owned one).
So I think I can claim to have approached this book without too much sentimentality or preconceptions about the canine world.

I can only describe the experience of reading Doglands as overwhelming. The plot, which follows the exploits of Fergal, a young crossbred greyhound, is both gripping and action filled.
I will let you discover the details of that joy for yourself. What I found so impressive and thought provoking were the deep multilayered themes and observations about the human condition.
Doglands makes the allegory of Animal Farm seem clumsy in comparison.
You won't need a set of notes to decipher the rich seams of meaning running through this crisp literal tale, you will feel them.
The story is cleverly told through Fergal's perspective and starts with the simplicity of a puppy's perception.
The concepts and vocabulary of the text grow along with Fergal as his awareness and experience develops.

In a time when young people have very little indication of where they will fit into a future that has already been wrecked and plundered by those in charge of the present,
Furgal and the dogs in this story offer more truth and inspiration than any politician or social commentator.

Doglands should be handed out to all secondary school children (Not because it's a children's book, because I don't think it is).
They should read it because I suspect that one day soon they may well need its advice.
As an adult reader Doglands has rekindled a spirit in me that I thought was long gone.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finished it in one sitting, 25 May 2012
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This review is from: Doglands (Hardcover)
After hearing a review on a radio station I ordered the book. I would not normally read a book about dogs, but the review was so good I had to read it.

I am not a dog owner, but you don't need to be to really enjoy this book. I am not a teenager, far from it, but you don't have to be to enjoy this book. I laughed out loud and held back my tears.

I was gripped from page one. It is so well written, it's a proper page turner. I could not put it down until I found out what was going to happen next.
This book reminded me that freedom is a personal thing and that we must not lose sight of what's important to us.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gladiator for dogs, 22 May 2012
By 
Amanda Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doglands (Paperback)
Apart from Eva Ibbotson's One Dog and His Boy (for much younger readers) this is one of the best novels about dogs ever written. Its hero is born in captivity with two sisters, to a mother who is a champion greyhound. But our hero and his sisters are not pure-bred: they are the offspring of a single night of passion with the dogs' own freedom fighter, the legendary Fergul.

As soon as their lurcher status becomes obvious, our hero is for the chop. How he escapes, and gets picked up by various humans - kind but obtuse, unkind but cunning - before the final show-down makes for electrifying reading. Willocks is also a highly successful writer of thrillers, and if you have a son of 11+ who won't stop playing on an Xbox, try this. There's enough action, cruelty, cleverness and fighting to absorb him, but a good deal of beautifully written thoughtfulness about how we treat our greatest friends too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional and Beautiful, 16 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Doglands (Paperback)
Furgal and his three sisters were born in Dedbone's Hole, a terrible greyhound prison owned by a very wealthy, very cruel man. Furgal's mother is Dedbone's champion racer, but his father is a stray mongrel off the streets. Furgal is not pure greyhound, so in Dedbone's eyes he doesn't deserve to live. Furgal and his sisters are caged up and taken away to die.
But Furgal escapes thanks to wit and good fortune, and now longs to find his mother again so he can liberate all the greyhounds at Dedbone's Hole - and find out who is father is. We follow him as he journeys through different places, meeting dogs with their own incredible stories in a book that makes you laugh and cry and tugs at your heartstrings like no child's book has ever done before.

As the story follows Furgal from puppyhood, he grows up as the book progresses. For this reason the writing style also develops, so that it reflects Furgal's age. This is a nice touch and makes it great book for all ages. I'm sixteen and loved it, yet the book can be easily read by children far younger of or older than me.

While aspects of the book are very funny and often slapstick (making me laugh out loud) it is essentially a moral story, one full of reason. The author wants us to see the horrible truth behind how dogs are treated - from greyhounds to guard dogs and even pets - and show us from the dogs' perspective, which really puts power and meaning behind his words.

Also the author is very open with his choice of vocab, using words like "balls" and "nuts" when referring to certain body parts, and is not afraid to describe gruesome events in vivid detail. But this really adds to the strength, showing you the truth and not pretending its better than it is.

This book really moves you. I was not much of a dog lover but after reading this I see dogs in a different light. People too, as you will find out if you read it. One particular scene in the old carnival almost had me in tears it was so sad. Thankfully it has a happy ending which was left so open that you're just dying for sequel. The whole book was just beautiful, giving out a message about how important it is to be free and how we should open our eyes to animal cruelty.

I hope you will now make the right decision and read Doglands. It is one of the best stories I have ever and maybe will ever have read, and I mean that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all you greyhound/lurcher lovers, 2 Jan. 2015
By 
Siltone (Staffordshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doglands (Paperback)
Actually, if you enjoy the company of any dog, you'll be hard put to find a better novel about these sometimes misunderstood animals. This may be a story that was written with young adults in mind but I (as a fifty something guy) found it to be just as rewarding a read as anything else I pick up these days.

I could easily recommend this fine book to any person that has even the slightest interest in reading a story about our four-legged friends - it really is just a super book. You'll read about the terrible deeds perpetrated at the greyhound slave camp that the dogs call Dedbone's Hole. And, like me, I'm sure you'll enjoy the epic adventures of Furgal as he aspires to experience the wonders of 'Doglands' - a place where dogs can be 'free' and run with the winds. In the dog versus man scenes, your allegiance will quickly fall in favour of the new canine friends you have made. One of these 'stand out' characters is a very scruffy-looking mutt who goes by the name of Skyver. He's always coming out with his own witty remarks. At one juncture Skyver tells Furgal that his mum used to say: "Skyver, life is like a bowl of dog food. Most of the time it's like eating your own poop. But every now and again somebody leaves a raw steak lying on the table."

The novel has many sad, exciting and funny moments - and occasionally you will paws (sorry, pause) for thought and reflect on how irresponsible some humans are when it comes to the breeding, ownership and general treatment of dogs. By all accounts, this is an enthralling novel that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and may even make you shed a tear. I recommend this book without reservation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a modern classic, 1 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Doglands (Kindle Edition)
What sets this above most children's modern literature (and to be truthful its hard to categorically state that this hard hitting tale is really for children) is it's heart and the message it has to tell. A simple story of a stray dog is enough for Willocks to weave his magic giving a truly heart wrenching tale of betrayal and loss and ultimately redemption and peace.

As a fan of Willocks' other adult works I was actually very surprised at how deeply this novel affected me and the questions that it raises about the society in which we live resonate long after the tale comes to an end.

Quite simply this novel is perfection and stands head and shoulders above a very crowded market.

Kids will enjoy it, but I can guarantee that adults will love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic on many levels!, 2 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Doglands (Paperback)
A beautifully written book. Although it was primarily aimed at teenagers, I couldn't put it down (and i am in my seventies).
We ourselves have a Lurcher pup, so it was fascinating to see life from another perspective. I am looking forward to reading more of Tim Willocks' books now
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doglands, 26 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Doglands (Paperback)
An excellent story for all ages, at first I couldn't believe I could be reading a story about dogs talking, but eventually I got so into the story I couldn't put it down
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book!, 18 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Doglands (Paperback)
My 10 year old son loves this book he is a dog lover anyway, and this is an inspiring story for both children and adults alike!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic for me, 3 July 2013
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This review is from: Doglands (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely love this book, it had me hooked straight away, it made me view dogs in a very different light, i also bought the book to pass around my kindle-less family n friends, this is a book you should read..especially if you are a dog lover.
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Doglands
Doglands by Tim Willocks (Paperback - 5 Jan. 2012)
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