Plague Dogs Hardcover – 22 Sep 1977
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Gripping. . . . A compelling tale of emotional force and high suspense. The Wall Street Journal
Adams takes us to places where no author author has taken us. The Washington Post
Engrossing. . . . Bears the abundant mark of sheer genius. The Plain Dealer
Better and more powerful than Watership Down. Providence Journal
Marvelous. . . . An excellent drama. Newsweek
Excellent. New York Daily News
Adams writes brilliantly about animals. . . . When these dogs are on the move, they compel us to follow, trotting along the narrative path on all the legs we have. Saturday Review
The genuine and moving feeling for animals that dominated Watership Down emerges here in intense dramatic form. Adams engenders such compassion, such desperate, urgent sympathy for the plague dogs, that the reader yearns for a happy ending. Publishers Weekly"
"Gripping. . . . A compelling tale of emotional force and high suspense." --The Wall Street Journal
"Excellent." --New York Daily News
"Adams writes brilliantly about animals. . . . When these dogs are on the move, they compel us to follow, trotting along the narrative path on all the legs we have." --Saturday Review
"The genuine and moving feeling for animals that dominated Watership Down emerges here in intense dramatic form. Adams engenders such compassion, such desperate, urgent sympathy for 'the plague dogs, ' that the reader yearns for a happy ending." --Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Richard Adams is the author of many bestselling novels, including Watership Down (1974), Shardik (1976), The Plague Dogs (1978), The Girl in a Swing (1980), Maia (1985), and Traveller (1988), as well as several works of nonfiction, including his autobiographical The Day Gone By (1991). The winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Award for Children's Literature, he currently lives in Hampshire, England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The book's two heroes are Rowf and Snitter - two dogs, and victims of scientific research. Rowf is a large, black mongrel who is constantly being drowned and resusitated while Snitter, a fox terrier, has had brain surgery. (There seems to be little point to the experiments - they're apparently being carried out just for the sheer hell of it). Naturally, Rowf has come to hate the water tank, while the surgery has left Snitter suffering from regular bouts of confusion. Unlike Rowf, who'd been bred for research, Snitter had once been a pet - and despite his operation, he knows there are better people out there than the "whitecoats." The pair are incarcerated at the Animal Research (Scientific and Experimental) labs, based in northern England's Lake District. (The institution's acronym, I'm guessing, gives some idea of what Adams thought about animal experimentation). The book opens on a Friday evening, and Snitter notices that Rowf's cage hasn't been properly closed. He manages to wriggle underneath the partition and the pair manage to escape into the outside world.
Although delighted to have escaped their tormentors, there soon realise that life on the outside isn't going to be easy. At first, Snitter tries to find them a new master - but each effort, naturally, ends in disaster. They soon realise they'll have to feed themselves, and find somewhere dry to sleep. Unfortunately, when they start taking sheep, the local farming comunity decide the dogs are a burden they could do without. The farmers suspect the dogs had indeed escaped from the research station and, when the tabloids get involved, there is a good deal of hysteria whipped up...
I read "The Plague Dogs" for the first time when I was thirteen, and - having re-read it many years later - I'd still rate it very highly. It isn't always an easy read, though; in fact, the first edition of the book's apparently had a slightly different ending to later editions, one that was slightly less warming. There's plenty of cruelty, thanks to ARSE's scientists and their experiments - though few of the humans in the book cover themselves in glory. There's little in the way of happiness, and throughout the book I just couldn't help feeling sorry for the dogs. They really only have one ally, a fox who speaks with a Geordie accent. Nevertheless, some of the writing is wonderful - Adams clearly loved the Lake District area, and the descriptions of the scenery are vivid. However, some of the characters' accents might be a little tricky enough...
Snitter, in the lucid moments when he is not affected by experimental brain surgery, shows a fine understanding of human nature, learned from a kind master. Rowf has never been domesticated, and is strong and brave, but ignorant. Tod, the fox who befriends them, is canny.
Although the story starts in an Animal Research Station (from which the dogs escape), the author does not take sides on animal experimentation, merely reporting factually; he is not so even-handed when it comes to fox-hunting, the death of Tod is very upsetting.
The book takes you on a Lakeland tour, helped by Wainwright's maps, but out-of-season in late Autumn, when it is the domain of the sheep farmers, their dogs and sheep. Some of the humans come across as stereotypes (although I loved Annie Mossity!), but the redemption of the journalist Digby Driver is a nice touch.
The one difficulty I had with this book is the variety of dialects, both human and animal.
All in all, this is a book well worth reading, if you can find a copy- as it is out of print in paperback.
Humans are not rats, monkeys or dogs. & our closest genetic relative,the chimpanzee,has yielded little or no relevant insight leading to cures for human disease, that is why laboratories in the USA are quietly releasing chimpanzees to sanctuaries. If they were proving useful would they be releasing them ?
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