The Plague Dogs Author:Richard Adams In this enthralling new novel, which the London Observer has called "the real successor to Watership Down," Richard Adams moves us more deeply than he has ever done - with his impassioned vision of the fate of animals at our mercy, with his splendid tale of flight and pursuit, with the three wonderful creatures whose story he tells. — Two dogs es... more »cape one night from an animal experimentation laboratory in the English Lake District. They are Snitter and Rowf. Snitter is a small black-and-white fox terrier, Rowf a large black mongrel. Each has been badly injured - in the name of science. Rowf, rough and brave, has been repeatedly immersed, nearly drowned, and revived, and now has a deathly fear of water. Snitter - playful, clever, gentle - has undergone drastic brain surgery, an operation designed to "confuse the subjective and objective in the animal's mind": he wavers between lucidity and spells of vivid hallucination - dreams, fragments of a lost past, strangely prophetic visions of the future.
Weakened by their ordeals, unused to freedom, the two runaways are scarcely prepared for survival in the bleak landscrape of crags and fells in which they find themselves. But they are befriended by a creature whose like they have never encountered before, an animal with a sharp, furtive, dangerous scent, trotting, preying, slinking through the darkness. It is the tod - the fox - a raffish wanderer with neither name nor ties, who speaks a lilting rogue's jargon, who lives by cunning and trickery, who mesmerizes them with his sardonic humor, his shifty vitality, his mysterious, exhilarating wildness. He offers them a bargain, if they will hunt with him, he will teach them how to live by instinct alone, to know the land, to steal and vanish like shadows. He will keep them from being caught by men. Despite their misgivings, against their deepest will - Rowf's strong, undying sense that dogs were made to serve men,Snitter's flickering images of a loving,idyllic, long-age life with his master - they accept.
So their adventure begins, an adventure that turns into a nightmare, enemies springing up around them as they roam from place to place in a desperate search from some - for any - haven. At first, they are hunted only by the local farmers whose sheep and chickens they must kill for food. Then, suddenly, by many others - scientists, politicians and government officials, policemen, journalists, soldiers, excitement-seekers of every kind, incited by an ambirious young reporter who deadline stories proclaim that experiments with bubonic plague are being conducted at the laboratory from which they dogs have fled, and that they themselves may be carriers of death. The entire countryside - indeed, all of England - is roused against them. The terrible, unequal chase is on . . . .
As in both Watership Down and Shardik, Richard Adams has given us a tale of quest, a spellbinding story with mythic overtones of love and of struggle against evil. But it is his three wonderful animals on the run - dogs and fox, powerfully conceived, magically realized, seizing and holding our allegiance - who make this novel his most affecting, most disturbing, most illuminating.« less