If I had to say one thing about Mr. Cameron’s books it would be that they certainly tug at my emotions, whether the lighter “Dog’s Purpose” series or this latest, most ambitious to date, “The Dog Master”.
“The Frightened” – a clan of incredibly shy people, often alone posing no real threat
“The Cohorts” – man killers, they are the most feared tribe of the book
“The Kindred” – hunters and migrators, with a strict social structure
“The Wolfen” – hunters, who run everywhere they go and have a social structure based on observing wolf packs
“The Blanc” – fishers rather than hunters, known for their peaceful ways and pale hair and complexions.
These are the people who populate this book. Starting in Year One the reader follows these tribes through their day-to-day lives, becoming familiar with their hunting and living habits as well as their family and social structures. Each tribe kept to themselves, with occasionally little but most often no friendly interaction. It’s a hard and often solitary existence if you don’t fit in. Even more difficult when you’re shunned and forced to live on your own … until a series of circumstances allow you to make the most unlikeliest of allies – a wolf – and so begins man’s extraordinary relationship with “the dog”.
As the book begins the reader joins the first day of Dr. James K. Morby’s class studying “Early Humans”. Halfway through he receives a message stating simply “they found her”. Finally, his long held belief is proven; they have discovered the skeletal remains of a human buried with a “dog”. As Dr. Morby rushes out of class and onto an airplane to the archeological site where he and others hypothesize (off page) about the origins of the first dog, the reader is transported back to Year One where Mr. Cameron begins to weave a wonderful story of these pre-historic people and their relationships. This book had me enthralled from this first page. It had me smiling tenderly and nodding my head, at times frightened for my favorite characters while at other times angry at the ugliness of other characters. A few times I even got teary, especially those parts told from the perspective of the wolf (that’s all I’ll say so no spoilers). No matter what my emotional state while reading I never ceased to be awed by the scope of Mr. Cameron’s imagination.
Every dog from the smallest teacup poodle to the huge mastiff carries some DNA in common with wolves. If you have ever wondered why, Mr. Cameron gives you an, although fictional, highly believable and entertaining explanation.
I have no hesitation in rating this book at five stars. But, with that statement comes a little warning for fans of Mr. Cameron’s “A Dog’s Purpose” series. This book is not a cozy and charming little read. This book is an epic and the story has guts … and blood, and hunting, and cruelty, and sex and … well everything you would expect in a book about prehistoric times when it was survival of the fittest. I loved it and would not think twice about recommending it highly.
This book had me so totally involved that I was sad to turn the last page. I wanted to know more about these people’s lives. I felt involved. So, I was quite pleased after reading Mr. Cameron’s (very humorous) “Afterword” because it left me with the distinct impression that I may get a chance to revisit with “the Kindred” and “the Wolfen” and “Dog”. As I post this review I can only hope that Mr. Cameron is typing furiously!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from the book cover but a more detailed bio can be found on his website
W. Bruce Cameron is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Dog’s Purpose, A dog’s Journey and The Dogs of Christmas. He lives in California.
*A note to Mr. Cameron should you accidentally happen upon this review*
Gawd … I really, really hated Albi. Please, please, let me pick the rock!