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  • Writer's pictureTerrie

The Dog Master is historical fiction set in the time of early man

This is the story of one tribe's survival and how a man came to befriend a wolf - and how it changed mankind forever.

The Dog Master: Novel of the First Dog book cover

The Dog Master: A Novel of the First Dog, W. Bruce Cameron

Genre: Historical Fiction, Animals

Published 2015, 416 pages

What a pleasure to read! This seemed a well-researched historically based story of early man. I like the tribal life representations, contrasting different styles of survival – the seasonal hunters following the cycles of their prey, the fishermen, the aggressive take-what-they-need tribe. The story focuses on two main tribes, the Wolfen and Kindred, and both had characters who represented 'good' and 'bad' people, some who tried to do the right thing as well as those who were manipulative and destructive.

In trying to imagine what language might have been then, the complexity of the dialog sometimes felt a bit out of place, but I didn’t find it distracting. Cameron creates an environment that’s rich with detail and, using familiar landmarks, helps us visualize the wilderness these people and wolves inhabit. I was drawn right in.

As for the wolf/dog portion of the story – I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought his premise was sound and believable. The way the relationship between man and wolf gradually evolved from reverence of the wolf to befriending it was so well done. However, one quibble I had was with the jumping between two different timelines involving different wolves….I found that confusing to follow sometimes. I would have preferred a more linear time frame.

I haven’t read many novels set in this time period and found it a refreshing change. I’d recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction, animal lovers, and anyone looking for something different who enjoys a good, well plotted story.

photo by Terrie Purkey, Salt Creek, WA (Hurricane Ridge)

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