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The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams

The Plague Dogs (edition 1978)

by Richard Adams

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1,670254,295 (3.68)65
Title:The Plague Dogs
Authors:Richard Adams
Info:Alfred A. Knopf (1978), Edition: Book Club Edition, Hardcover, 389 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, SciFi Fantasy
Tags:science, experiments, dogs

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The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams


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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
“The Plague Dogs” was the first book I read in 2016, after having read “Shardik” and (re-read) “Watership Down” in 2015. I love Adams’ style of writing: it’s beautiful, poignant, dark, and often interspersed with the mythical and fantastical. “Plague Dogs” was a wonderful read, though I would put it in second place as far as my favorite Adams books, because “Watership Down” probably remains one of my top 10 books ever. I read it as a kid, and it really affected me, so of course I have differing opinions on his books in terms of how it stacks up to “The Plague Dogs.”

What I love about his books is that he takes ideas that are often beloved by children, and crafts them into something wholly beautiful and a little bit wild and dark that is perfect for the well-read adult. This tale follows two dogs, Rowf and Snitter, on their adventures in escaping a government research facility and trying to find their place in the world. They find friend and foes on their adventure, naturally, but the book often goes into the very core of existence. What is the saying, looking into the void, and the void stares back at you? These protagonists are dogs, but they are as well-written and well-rounded as any properly crafted human in other stories. More so than many other books, to be perfectly honest.

Rowf was very much the stoic, cynical, plodding type of character be-fitting his large bread. Snitter, on the other hand, was a bit more complex; good-natured and optimistic, and even a little bit crazed because of the experiments done to him. I would say that Snitter is the Fiver character in this book, with the occasional fantastical vision, and the wonderful way he has of telling stories.

Adams does what he does so well in many of his books: he creates a word with their own gods and myths, and he writes them convincingly. I’d love to read a book he wrote just about these unique creation myths. Sure, his writing is a bit wordy, but he writes so poignantly that the words easily bleed into imagery. This book is definitely not for everyone, and it is a bit dense at times. Those who are easily bored with prose and poetry would probably not find this book to their taste. But for those into a little darkness (often, more than a little..), and who can easily imagine the words they read happening in front of them, I’d say that they should definitely give this book a chance. ( )
  Lauraborealis | Dec 22, 2016 |
Review: The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams.

For readers who are sensitive to what happens to animals that are used for experiments in a laboratory to find cures for terminal illnesses should not read this book. I love animals but I’m also one for finding cures for cancer, etc.

Richard Adams does a wonderful job when it comes to describing the environmental world around us. Sometimes a little too much but his descriptive writing impressed me. The book could have been shorter but I still went with the flow of the story. There is sadness throughout the story but I also felt it sent a message to the reader on the grounds of survival and kindness. The story is about two dogs escaping from an experimentation laboratory in England and causing havoc along the countryside, struggling to live and wanting to find a new owner to live with. The larger black dog is “Rowf” and the smaller black and white terrier is “Snitter.

After they escaped from the research laboratory Snitter and Rowf encountered one obstacle after another like being hungry, or bad weather, not finding shelter, also humans who wanted to harm them especially after a goal digger of a journalist started writing that the dogs were infected with the bubonic plague. This journalist is the main protagonist of the story. He wanted a strong story to give himself a name as an upper-class reporter. He writes anything he can dig up on the dogs, the experimental laboratory, and even the researchers who did the experiments. However, he has to decide what angle he wants the story to go. At first he was favoring the human side then the animal side but realized he needed to write a story that would captivate his audience. He decides he has more to gain by writing the dogs as threats to the public health and the negligence of the laboratory researchers.

Snitter was such a sweet little dog and at one time he did have an owner so he knew how it felt to be loved and that’s all he ever talked about. Rowf never had an owner and he kept saying he should have been a good dog and done what the researcher wanted him to do. So, Rowf was a little rougher along the edges but still a sweetheart. These two dogs struggled to survive on the outside becoming what they called themselves after a while, “Wild dogs trying to live in the wilderness”. They were starving so often that they begun killing sheep, chickens, and raiding peoples trash bins. The country folks weren’t to happy about that so they started to take matters in their own hands and started hunting them down. The story goes on through some terrible incidences that Snitter and Rowf experienced but the sad issues lead to a humane ending.

In my review I stayed away from the experiments done in the laboratory and what happened with the two dogs running the countryside to allow readers to love these two beautiful dogs. It was a great story but in order to say that I have to say the ending prevailed… ( )
  Juan-banjo | Aug 21, 2016 |
I remember feeling shocked and appalled at animal experimentation when I read this many years ago. That feeling has stayed with me. ( )
1 vote .cris | May 31, 2016 |
Facing the blistering starkness of the wild, these two escape into the terror of having to face brutal reality... ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Band on the run. Classic mis-matched dogs escape from lab. I still enjoyed it. ( )
1 vote joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Adamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Butler, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piet EggenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wainwright, A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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QUEEN: I will try the forces

Of these thy compounds on such creatures as

We count not worth the hanging, but none human . . .

CORNELIUS: Your Highness

Shall from this practice but make hard your heart.

--Shakespeare, Cymbeline
There is in this passage nothing that much requires a note, yet I cannot forbear to push it forward into observation. The thought would probably have been more amplified, had our author lived to be shocked with such experiments as have been published in later times, by a race of men that have practised tortures without pity, and related them without shame, and are yet suffered to erect their heads among human beings.

--Dr. Johnson
To Elizabeth, with whom I first discovered the Lake District.
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The water in the metal tank slopped sideways and a treacly ripple ran along the edge, reached the corner and died away.
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Book description
With the same warm sensitivity that made a bestseller of Watership Down, Richard Adams creates a lyrical and engrossing tale, a remarkable journey into the hearts and minds of two canine heroes, Snitter and Rowf, fugitives from the horrors of the animal research center.

The escape from man's cruelty is only the beginning of their chilling experiences as the flee to the isolation - and terror - of the wilderness.

First, they strike an unlikely bargain with a fox who will teach them to live by instinct alone if they agree to hunt with him. Then they find enemies springing up all around them - excitement seekers of all kinds - incited by an ambitious young reporter who calls the dogs carriers of a deadly plague.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345494024, Paperback)

"Thousands and thousands of people will love this book!"
A lyrical, engrossing tale, by the author of WATERSHIP DOWN, Richard Adams creates a lyrical and engrossing tale, a remarkable journey into the hearts and minds of two canine heroes, Snitter and Rowf, fugitives from the horrors of an animal research center who escape into the isolation--and terror--of the wilderness.

From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:20 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A large black mongrel named Rowf and a white terrier named Snitter escape from an animal experiment center in England's Lake District and may be carriers of bubonic plague.

(summary from another edition)

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