Tuesday, March 31, 2009

War, pirates, reincarnation, and dogs make for a great read

The past few days have been busy with boring duties like laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping, so I haven't been able to do what I want to do most: sit down and read A.S. King's The Dust of 100 Dogs.

The author, Amy Sarig King, is a fellow Pennsylvania resident who spent some time close to my second home (Scotland). For years, King wrote and taught literacy in Ireland. This debut novel of hers is marketed as young adult fiction, which I'm an avid reader of since I write in the genre, but I have to say it will appeal to a much wider audience.

The book tells the story of Emer Morrisey, a brave and innovative Irish girl who watches her family destroyed at the hands of Cromwell's army. She's taken in by a brutish uncle who ultimately sells her to be the wife of an old, unattractive French man, tearing Emer away from her true love.

But Emer's too strong to let someone else control her life.

While we're learning about Emer's challenges and successes in the 17th century, we're also learning about her life in the 21st century. The jacket copy does a great job of explaining why that is:

In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with the dust of one hundred dogs, dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body - with her memories intact.

Now, she's a contemporary American teenager, and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.

I wish I had a few hours to sit alone with King's incredibly-woven, rich story of the past, the present, and the intricate workings of canine minds. Until then, I'll be enjoying the book bit by bit when I have a few moments, and I would strongly encourage you to do the same.

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