This post and extract kick off a blog tour for Adrian J. Walker’s new book, The Last Dog on Earth. Do check out posts on these other great sites and check back in with GeekDad later in the week, when I’ll have a full review of the book.
It’s a well-known fact that the British are a nation of dog lovers. If there were to be a “Last dog on Earth,” it’s reasonable to think it may live somewhere in the British Isles. I’m not sure I’d ever imagine that it would live in a London high-rise, but that’s exactly what Adrian J. Walker has done. That the dog is named after Gary Lineker, possibly the nicest living Englishman, is entirely fitting.
If the name Adrian J. Walker seems familiar to you, it’s because he burst onto the literary scene with his runaway (ahem) bestseller The End of the World Running Club. In this piece of electrifying apocalypse fiction, Edgar Hill finds himself 550 miles away from his family and the only way to get to them is to run.
The Last Dog on Earth, Walker’s new book, has almost the same background, but with a reversed premise. Once again we are in an apocalyptic future. Reginald Hardy never leaves his London tower block except to walk his dog. His only other companions are 11 lights in the distance. 11 lights than shine in the dark signifying the handful of people that remain in London after its destruction. Reginald likes to be alone
The narrative alternates between two perspectives. Reginald’s and Lineker’s, his foul-mouthed dog. The tale that follows examines the bond between man and animal, and the lengths humans may go to, in order to isolate themselves from tragedy. I’ll have a full review up soon, but until then, here is an extract from the book. It’s one that exemplifies Lineker’s view of the world and displays his unique voice.
Extract from first chapter: The Last Dog on Earth by Adrian Walker (Del Rey) "BOSH Lineker (On his owner Reg) ... So that's Reg: writing, football and me. Now, I know what you're thinking. How does yours truly know so much about all of this? I am, after all, just a dog. I understand. You like asking yourselves questions like that, don't you? You clever little monkeys. How best to answer? Hum hum . . . well, couple of ways I could do it: I could try to explain to you how we think in different speeds, or how we can tell what you're thinking just by looking at the way your shoulders slump, or how we talk to you and to each other, not just with sounds but with smells and looks and the way we position our bodies (which, actually, isn't a whole lot different to you). I could try to tell you how dogs don't just pick up fleas and sticks but everything. Things you never see, like the quiver of a cat's whisker (don't, just don't, get me started) or the flash in a mans eye that tells me he's nervous, or excited, or that he's about to do something he shouldn't. I could try to tell you that every little thing you do, everything you say, every little expression that flickers upon your chops: it all goes in these furry noggins and that's where it stays, whether you like it or not. (Me, I like it. I like it very much indeed, thank you.) I could try telling you what it's like when we find ourselves awake in the middle of the night, triggered by nothing more than a tightening in the air, as if space has been suddenly gripped by some unknown hand, and that this twist in the fabric of things carries with it messages encoded in ways that cannot be turned into words, and we have to get up and see what's what. I could try to explain things in this way, using simple sentences and facts, but sometimes plain language just does not cut the mustard. Poetry, however – now there's a mustard cutter. That'll chop your Coleman's right down the middle. Now I . . . ahem . . . I dabble in the old poetry myself, as it happens – STOP LAUGHING – I do. It's hard not to when you live with a literary giant such as Reg. I've picked up the craft and I practise for hours, looking out of our window at the city and the infinite shapes and colours it makes."
If you enjoyed that, The Last Dog on Earth, his wisdom and adventures are available now from Del Rey. Check back later this week for a full review and do check out the other stops on the Last Dog on Earth blog tour.