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An Oath of Dogs Mass Market Paperback – July 4, 2017
"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
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“All of Wendy Wagner’s stories feature a rare and precious element: tremendous heart. An Oath of Dogs is an excellent example of this – with an expansive SFF universe, exploration of philosophy, theology, and issues right at the heart of what it means to colonize a strange world. Wagner’s characters are compelling and true. An Oath of Dogs combines echoes of Vernor Vinge and Sherri S Tepper with Wagner’s own unique vision for the planet of Huginn and those who are trying to survive the planet, and each other.”
– Fran Wilde, Andre Norton & Compton Crook-award winning, Nebula Nominated author of Updraft and Cloudbound
“A compelling tale of corporate intrigue and biology, set on a thoroughly imagined world. Perfect for any fan of eco-science fiction and world building. A really great read.”
– Pat Murphy, author of The City, Not Long After and The Falling Woman
“Wagner’s exquisite world-building takes Manifest Destiny to the stars. There’s a dark Romanticism here, and it asks big questions about humanity and the cosmos. An Oath of Dogs is smart, dangerous, and impossible to put down.”
– Darin Bradley, author of Totem, Chimpanzee, and Noise
“An Oath of Dogs nails the rough-hewn feel of a frontier town, then mixes it up with intergalactic corporate intrigue and alien biology. It’s like Lake Wobegon mashed up with a Michael Crichton thriller, as unlikely a melding of cultures as the world of Huginn itself, creating a story that mashes massive questions of religion and ethics together with the joy of science and discovery.”
– Ferrett Steinmetz, author of the ‘Mancer series
“An Oath of Dogs is a welcome exoplanetary colony sci-fi trip riddled with mystery and conspiracy. Wagner paints an immersive world packed with history and an ecosystem that is simultaneously wondrous and terrifying, and fills it with real, deep characters and a haunting yet engaging atmosphere. I didn’t want to leave!”
– Jason LaPier, author of the Dome Trilogy
“I really enjoyed this science fiction mystery! I am a sucker for stories set on alien planets, especially when the flora and fauna are part of the story. Add in a questionably ethical mega-corporation, a religious sect that helped colonize the planet, mysterious and scary feral dogs and MURDER – and you’ve got yourself a good story.”
– Leveled Up Reading
“An Oath of Dogs is a good, solid sci-fi thriller, set in an interesting world and peopled with sympathetic characters.”
– Strange Bookfellows
“An Oath of Dogs is a riveting story, the kind one might tell around a campfire, if it were a short story instead of a novel. The blue butterflies, the caterpillars, the comparison to Earth’s ants, and the theme of what humans do in extreme situations: it may seem a lot of disparate elements are piled into one story, but Wendy Wagner knows exactly what she’s doing with each piece.”
– Perihelion Science Fiction Magazine
“An Oath of Dogs is an entertaining and enjoyable read.”
“Wagner’s mystery-in-space is a fast-moving pager-turner, but Hattie’s star turn brings something new to sci-fi.”
– Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“An entertaining book.”
– Purple Owl Reviews
“An enjoyable eco-sci-fi read I’d recommend to any one who enjoys sci-fi, biology and thrillers.”
– The Dreamland Bookshelf
“This novel, it’s exactly the kind of Sci-Fi that I adore with strange alien biology, stories of settlers trying to make a living and it has an adorable dog in it.”
– Brenhines Books
“Wagner’s prose cuts deepest when dealing with horror, and one can’t help but paw the dirt, hoping her next novel smells even more strongly of disaster.”
– Willamette Week
About the Author
Wendy N Wagner is a full-time science fiction and fantasy nerd. Her first two novels, Skinwalkers and Starspawn, are set in the world of the Pathfinder RPG, and she has written over thirty short stories. Wendy is also managing editor of Hugo Award-winning Lightspeed magazine.
Author hometown: Oregon, USA
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Top customer reviews
I was captivated by this book, even though it was gruesome at times (and I'm a bit of a squeamish person.) The main characters were well-drawn and interesting, and I'm happy to say that there's a lot of diversity in the cast compared to other sci-fi books. The female main character's best friend is a trans woman and she herself is mentally ill; the male main character is gay (at the very least.) The community had dark secrets that you really wanted to discover what they mean and where they come from. I don't read a lot of murder stories but this one was very compelling; I get why thrillers are so popular!
I have to say that some of the themes in the book weren't to my personal taste. I thought that for a book taking place in the 23rd century, there wasn't a lot of far-out sci-fi technology around. I get that they're in a remote world, but I would've liked to have seen more interesting technology that has evolved in the 200 year time span from the present. Besides space travel, most of the tech in the book seemed like stuff that you and I might see in the near future. I wasn't a huge fan of the religious stuff either, especially towards the end. It was interesting hearing about the lives of the settlers, but when they talk about curses from God and start quoting bible verses that's where I lose a bit of interest. I will say that the religious stuff isn't overdone; the characters who believe in religion believe in it, and don't try to force it on anyone else, whereas the characters who are more atheist or agnostic stay that way.
If you like space, dogs, corporations, alien lifeforms, weird lifestyles and taking long walks in dangerous woods, you'll like this book! I definitely recommend it. It makes me want to go and pet a friendly dog!
The book opens with a hell of a chapter, I’d be impressed if someone wasn’t hooked by that brutal opening. From there we move to Standish as she wakes from cyro, and we’re shown immediately how important Hattie, and dogs, are important to the story. Interspersed between the chapters of Peter and Standish’s shenanigans we’re given quotes from a mysterious man and journal entries from the earliest days of Huginn. These entries and thoughts may not seem important to the plot at first but if you pay attention it can give you HUGE hints at where the story goes. Standish lands to find out her now former boss, Duncan, was reported ‘lost’ and believed to be dead and now she has his job, as well as his house. The reader knows, thanks to that brutal opening chapter, the truth about the man. We get to watch as Standish begins to step into the community, earn friends, and discover that maybe everything isn’t all right with Canaan Lake, her new little town. Not only is Duncan presumed dead but the townspeople are being plagued by a pack of rabid dogs. Dogs that seem intelligent and intent on digging up the dead around the town. They’ve been know to nose around houses and as you see later in the book, go after people.
Initially I didn’t care for Standish or Peter, but they grew on me. Standish is prickly and Peter is a bit of a wet rag. Throughout the story though they grew on me. Standish’s character seemed at times inconsistent but you could see what she was as prickly as she was. She was by no means a perfect woman or character. Peter was the same for me though I thought his character was more consistent through the novel. Once you figure out why he is the way he is, you can understand him. Past our two main characters, we see some great attempts at character depth on others but I’m not sure if I was fully convinced on some of them. I wanted more depth in some of those people, but I do like what we got.
Besides some what felt like inconsistent character behavior (which seemed to smooth out as the book went on) my other problem with the book was just the way it seemed to jump over things, again at the beginning. I felt like maybe things were trimmed or cut that would have filled in gaps or explained missing time. Things like jumps between when Standish is at home then at someone else’s house, staying there, then back at her own home. We can safely assume why and it might mention in passing, but it felt like something was missing in the execution of this. Past the half way mark this seemed to even out. I’m not entirely sure if this is due to the copy I had, how I read it, or the way the book actually is, but it did affect my enjoyment.
Other than that I liked a lot of things about this book. The focus on therapy animals, the neo-Mennonite community and their impact in Canaan Lake, the talk about the biology of the planet and the hints at the way it changed the people. In fact I think the book might be entirely worth a read just for the therapy dog and the unique neo-Mennonite community. Those are things I don't think that I've ever read about in a SF book. They bright a splash of depth and color that I really didn't expect, and honestly why I rated the book so highly. I loved the interplay of that community and the religion with how they settled the moon for Songheusser (not to mention the diary entries) and how that affected the story. I also just got excited everything Hattie was on the page, which was really most the pages.
I'd definitely read it again and really recommend this one for new readers of SF or for someone interested in some really unique and different elements.
Cover Thoughts: Initially I was not impressed with the cover, but once you get up on it and see the details, the line work it really pops. The meticulously hidden details are amazing, I love pieces like this. You don't realize what you're looking at unless you look deep. I highly recommend inspecting this cover closely. I'm not surprised either, browsing the artist's site, JOEY HI-FI, I can see this is something he excels at. The symmetry in it just makes me so happy, look at that bottom edge with the branches and smoke. How can that not make you happy?
I've read the this author was challenged by 'World Building'-- creating a completely new universe for he characters to inhabit.
I say, fear no more, Ms. Wagner! An Oath of Dogs takes place in a fututistic world, where colonization of planets and moons has replaces colonizing continents.
Different viewpoints are woven into the story, some more subtle than others. The perils of industrialization are set against the difficulty of preserving an environment that's not hospitable to humans from Earth. There's politics and faith, and the very difficult choice between survival and keeping to ones conscience.
While some viewpoints are presented in a less favorable viewpoint, in the end, Wendy N. Wagner ends with a hopen that there is a balance to these conflicting needs.