Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams

The Plague Dogs (edition 1978)

by Richard Adams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,543224,758 (3.63)58
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

Work details

The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 58 mentions

English (20)  Swedish (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Was expecting this book to be a lot more serious than it actually was, considering its subject matter. At the beginning when I saw the A.R.S.E. abbreviation I couldn't help but wonder if it was an unfortunate accident.

Adams was obviously very well-read. Loads of obscure literary references, including himself. I especially appreciated the Lord of the Rings reference.

Wasn't sure what to think of his reference to himself, couldn't help but think bits of the text were a bit of an author soap box about animal testing.

Preferred the bits about people, like Dr Boycott, Powell and Digby Driver, took a while to enjoy the dogs' bits.

Ending felt a bit contrived but in a way I preferred a happy ending to the alternative. ( )
  ClicksClan | Dec 10, 2014 |
somewhat plodding, but still a good read, magnificent illustrations, wonderful ending ( )
  Judebird | Sep 18, 2014 |
I found it hard to finish this book. I'm a sentimental person. Dogs have it hard enough, with some masters, and then we add research. .(for all the dogs reading this).I'm sorry guys, we really have cruelly exploited your boundless faith in humans. I'll try to do better. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 8, 2013 |
I didn't find this to be all that terribly bad, I just felt that it was incredible average and quite honestly blah in parts. From what I have heard, and read myself, I feel that this is definitely the low point in Richard Adams' writing.

I think that my two main problems with this book are first the amount of space that Adams uses to push his political agenda down the reader's throat. While I totally agree that the inhumane treatment of animals in research facilities is deplorable and that something definitely must be done about such activities, after a while when reading the novel I began to dread the sections of the book that did not concern themselves directly with the dogs' activities. This leads directly to my second issue, the sections of the book that concern themselves with the dogs begin to get rather droll as well as the dogs never really make any progress towards any sort of productive goal. As a matter of fact, they travel around the countryside for days and end up returning to the same spot that they were in after their first day of freedom following their escape. It gets to be very frustrating. The last fifty pages or so, the pace does change quite a bit and the book does have a satisfying conclusion.

I had no problems what-so-ever with Adams' writing style; he does have a way with putting sentences together that make them flow fairly easily. I also rather enjoyed several of the characters in the novel, especially the two dogs and because of this, really wanted to like the novel, but just simply found it to be more of a chore to read than a pleasure. ( )
  StefanY | Jan 7, 2013 |
If I could blurb THE PLAGUE DOGS, I'd say, "A lovely, terrifying, satisfying read in every way ... with the best ending of all time."

Here's a mini-story within the story, told by Snitter, the brain-damaged terrier, to his questing companion-dog, Rowf, the bete noir with a heart of gold:
"'O for the wings of a sheep!' sighed Snitter, and they began once more to follow the inexorable tod [fox] up the gill's pools and cascades towards Willie Wife Moor. [Place names are from the Lake District of the English-Scottish border.]
"'Wings of a SHEEP, Snitter?'
"'Yes - they had them once, you know. What happened was that one flew up into the sky, so naturally they all followed. Then they took off their wings and began feeding and as the sun moved on across the sky they went with it, to keep warm. Well, towards evening a wind got up and blew all their wings away from the place where they'd left them. They never got them back - you can see them all up there, blowing along in the blue to this day.'
"'But how did the sheep get back to the ground?'
"'Why, a long way off the sky curves down and touches the land - you can see it does. They had to walk round the long way - took them ages.'
"'Well, I never knew that. You are a clever little chap, Snitter.'" (pg. 220)

And here is Rowf, pushed to the limits of suffering, delivering his "Job's lament" soliloquy:
"Rowf threw back his head and barked at the close, muffling sky. The snow, which had ceased during the night, had been falling steadily again for the past hour, and in the swirling confusion neither dog could make out either the hills whence they had come or what lay beyond the main road, where the cars and lorries went whang-whanging past behind the dismal sheen of their lights in the gloom.
"'Rowf-rowf! Rowf-rowf! Go on, pour down the lot and bury us underneath it, blast you! I don't care! You're not as cruel or contemptible as the whitecoats [animal research scientists] who used to put me in the [drowning] tank! They were supposed to be masters - you're not! I'm just a dog, starving to death, but I'm still better than you, whatever you are! You're licking the whitecoats' hands. Aren't you ashamed? Miles of bitter sky sky and freezing cold powder against a couple of starving dogs! Rowf-rowf! Rowf-rowf!'" (pg. 269)
  maryoverton | Oct 6, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Adamsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Butler, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piet EggenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wainwright, A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
First words
The water in the metal tank slopped sideways and a treacly ripple ran along the edge, reached the corner and died away.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

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.
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:57 -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)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
9 avail.
19 wanted
2 pay5 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.63)
1 7
1.5 4
2 23
2.5 8
3 83
3.5 17
4 91
4.5 9
5 62


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 97,865,287 books! | Top bar: Always visible