The Last Dog on Earth by Adrian J Walker
Book of the Month
The Last Dog on Earth is the latest novel from Adrian J. Walker, author of the bestselling The End of the World Running Club. In this latest offering Walker remains within the same genre to present a dystopian bombed-out London where, as the novel opens, he introduces us to the agoraphobic, former electrician Reginald and his trusty canine companion, Lineker.
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can be. Reg, an agoraphobic writer with an obsession for nineties football, plans to wait out the impending doom in his second floor flat, hiding himself away from the riots outside. But when an abandoned orphan shows up in the stairwell of their building, Reg and Lineker must brave the outside in order to save not only the child, but themselves...
First, the positives, of which there are many. I enjoyed the way this story was told, especially the way it utilised a dual narrative. The second voice we encounter is the human, Reginald, who recounts his experiences through a journal. But the first, and by far the best voice, is that of Lineker. It is this narrative that sets the novel apart from anything else is the genre. Walker puts Linker’s thoughts onto the page in a way that we can understand and I would imagine he had as much fun writing it as we the reader have reading it. Lineker’s narrative is often gross, and often humorous and this poetry-writing, expletive-spouting canine loves nothing more than the fouler smells emitted from his owner: the wind, the morning breath being particular favourites. He is a beast full of boundless energy and let’s face it - dogs do many things we humans class as disgusting (smell each others bottoms, roll in manure, lick their own testes etc), and to have this written down in a way a human can comprehend resulted in my laughing and cringing in equal measure. Ultimately it allowed me to feel the bond with Lineker I believe I would also have felt in real life. Oh, and Lineker hates squirrels. He hates squirrels so much he drops the c-bomb liberally and inventively when they make an appearance in the story.
To enjoy a story this dark you have to like some of the characters involved and thankfully Lineker and Reginald (and those we encouner later in the story) really worked for me. Reginald was an everyman that all will recognize, a decent man who has been left damaged by life, a man who has found a way of coping with this trauma by cutting himself off from society and seeking solace in routine. He dislikes human contact and his writing and his canine friend are everything to him. One element I really found impressed me about Walker’s last book, The Running Club at the End of the World was how realistically the male lead was portrayed and I experienced the exact same here: I knew a Reginald, we all know a Reginald. I also enjoy this author because I get his references. Geoff Capes anyone? Younger readers may need to look him up but I understood when Reginald said “and I am no Geoff Capes, believe me” instantly and it made me laugh. So I am happy to admit that my age, and these references, played an important part in increasing my reading enjoyment.
The first part of The Last Dog on Earth introduces us to man and dog while vividly showing us a disturbingly realistic bombed-out London in the not-so-distant year of 2021. Once this introduction is over we encounter the abandoned orphan Aisha and from here book begins to pick ever greater speed as her plight pulls Reginald kicking and struggling from out of his comfort zone. We then travel the waste land London has become, finding both decency and inhumanity as they try to get the girl home. There is not as much horror here as you may find in other books in the genre like, say, The Road, and the horrific elements that do exist in this book draw upon human history for inspiration, with Hitler’s rise to power and the concentration camps that formed part of his ‘master plan’ used to strong effect. A warning from the past you might say.
I’ve read all the great dystopia and post-apocalyptic fiction I could lay hands on but found that this particular well had begun to run dry. So I am always on the lookout for new titles (The Dog Stars by Peter Heller being an excellent recent discovery) and I would definitely add Walker’s books to my list of recommended titles.
The Last Dog on Earth is a book I would recommend highly as it is at turns funny, disturbing, moving and thought-provoking. Walker is an excellent author who creates great characters and in Lineker he has excelled himself. A dark yet life-affirming book ideal for those who enjoy reading within the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre.
And finally, I also like these types of books because they hold up a mirror for us to look into in. I’ll end this review with a damning vision of humanity through the eyes of a dog:
“You slaughter the forests with giant saws. You throttle the sea with plastic. You drown the sky with soot. You kill everything in your path. And why? Not to survive - you've already nailed that one - oh no, you kill to give yourself little luxuries like skin scrubs, painkillers and boxes to chatter on. You - you kill for no other reason than comfort and curiosity. You kill so your eyes don't sting when you wash your hair.”
The Last Dog on Earth by Adrian Walker (Del Rey, £7.99)
This The Last Dog on Earth book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read The Last Dog on Earth?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Last Dog on Earth reader reviews
Russel from Canada
I have to say this book was an emotional roller coaster. The way everything fell together at the end of the book left me in amazement. This is one of the only books that has been able to effect me emotionally. Originally reading this book the vile language and directional absence left my worried if this was going to be a good read. But the more I read the more I realized how amazing the story was. It was amazing to watch the transformation of Reginald and the dog. It was also worrying to this that this type of dystopian world is fully possible and has happened in history. One flaw was that I sometimes felt the use of profanity was a little unnecessary. Otherwise the best book I have ever read by far! I would love to see this as a movie one day.
Bear from USA
Lasted longer than Robin but agree that fucki and shit are way overused and add nothing other than the feeling that Mr Walker is not as articulate as he thinks he is. And halfway into the 430 pages it is still unclear what is really goin on - international war, gang war, alien invasion or whatever?
Robin from UK
I listened to the first page and discarded the book. Vile language assaulted my ears. Weak/poor language is characterised by expletives. It spoils a good storyline and is totally unnecessary. I hate it and don't want to listen or read it. Yet I couldn't find any review that even warned of the language.
5.5/10 from 4 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothi...
Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels ag...
The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boun...
Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen – from the Pres...
Oryx and Crake
Snowman may be the last man on earth, the only survivor of an unnamed apocalypse. Once he was Jimmy, a member of a scientific elite; now he lives in bitter isolation and lo...
The Last Man Standing
Italy is on the brink of collapse. Borders are closed, banks withhold money, the postal service stalls. Armed gangs of drug-fuelled youths roam the countryside. Leonardo wa...
A boy stands on the roadside on his way to London, alone in the rain.No memories, beyond what he can hold in his hands at any given moment.No directions, as w...
The Drowned World
Fluctuations in solar radiation have melted the ice caps, sending the planet into a new Triassic Age of unendurable heat. London is a swamp; lush tropical vegetation grows ...
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse
John Joseph Adams
Famine, death, war, pestilence. These are said to be the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse-Armageddon. The End of the World. Whether by nuclear warfare, a biological di...
Great fantasy books published in 2017
The Fall of Arthur
The world first publication of a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the extraordinary story of the final days of England’s legendary hero, King Ar...
The second thrilling installment of the award-winning Nevernight Chronicle, from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.In a land where three suns a...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
A Conjuring of Light
The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empi...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
The Witchwood Crown
New York Times-bestselling Tad Williams’ ground-breaking epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle! • Volume One of The Last K...
‘An exciting new writer – sharp, compelling and original’ Mark LawrenceYears have passed since the Vagrant journeyed to the Shining City, Vesper in...
A modern Britain. An age-old cruelty. Britain's magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years - and now it's the Hadleys' turn...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: