Reviewed by C. L. Rossman
This is an epic fantasy about a group of abandoned dogs searching for a place of legend, the Whispering Fields, where they’ve heard that every dog will have all the food, water, treats and toys, he needs—without any human cruelty. The young hero is Toby, a part-border collie that has been dumped along a highway by his master and left to fend for himself.
At first he races desperately after his master’s car, making for one of the most poignant scene in the book. Then after he realizes the hopeless of it, he begins wandering through the country. He meets a mentor and friend in an older dog, a golden retriever named Max, who after years of living with a human family, was left behind when they moved. Max shows him how to survive by searching out dumpster scraps and how to move from town to town so they won’t be noticed and persecuted by the humans living in the towns. He also has some sage advice to give Toby, such “Never lose hope.”
Eventually these two meet up with a three more homeless dogs: Zeus, a German Shepherd; Bosco, a female mix; and Dodger, an excitable Dandie Dinmont terrier. They have all heard the legend of the Whispering Fields, and while a few like Zeus, don’t believe it’s real, they decide to go in search of it because, well, it’s a beacon of hope for a change, and as strays, what else have they got to do?
This story includes other stories, like the one of the legendary Bander who first thought of a dog sanctuary and Oria, a kind and wise coyote, whose special powers help it come true. There is danger and struggle here, tragedy and loss, and the entire book serves as a reminder of what happens to pets we discard. But the story comes first and we are absorbed in the tale of the dogs’ visionary quest.
All in all, the story reads well, and while the author is a bit too fond of adverbs, the storyline holds your interest. Good first effort.
Armchair Interviews says: Interesting POV from abandoned pets.