The Plague Dogs Author:Richard Adams In this enthralling new novel, which the Lond 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 escap... more »e 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 scarecely prepared for survival int he bleak landscape 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-ago life with his master--they accept.
So their adventure begins, an adventure that turns into nightmare, enemies springing up around them as they roam from place to place in a desperate search for 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 ambitious young reporter whose headline stories proclaim that experiments with bubonic plague are being conducted at the laboratory from which the 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 conceieved, magically realized, seizing and holding our allegiance--who make this novel his most affecting, most disturbing, most illuminating.« less
After reading the wonderful reviews, I truly had high hopes for this book. All animal-related books pique my interest and I do believe that I gave this one enough time before I decided to stop reading it. I did not have a difficult time understanding the plot, yet the dialect that is used for the main characters is just too difficult to comprehend. I found myself skipping over certain paragraphs which elaborately described certain geographical locations that caused me to lose my interest. I do think that Richard Adams is a gifted author but this book was just too painful for me to continue reading.