cover image Dogs of War

Dogs of War

Adrian Tchaikovsky. Head of Zeus, $15.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-80024-893-9

Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Tchaikovsky (Children of Time) takes readers inside the mind of a weaponized bioengineered animal in this imaginative triumph, the first in a series. From the opening lines—“My name is Rex. I am a Good Dog”—Tchaikovsky appeals to the cliché of a pet desperate for approval, which proves grimly ironic as Rex’s true nature is revealed. This “Good Dog” is almost eight feet tall, with guns mounted on both shoulders and “super-dense muscles, impact-resistant fibres in his skin, [and] hollow bones that were strong as titanium.” In short, he was made for combat. Rex is the leader of the Redmark corporation’s Asset Protection team, whose other members include an augmented swarm of bees, a weaponized bear, and a dragonlike lizard. His obedience is tested on a mission in Campeche, Mexico. Redmark has been retained to suppress anarchist terrorists there, but as Rex comes to suspect that some of those he and his unit have slaughtered were innocents, he must weigh his desire to be a “Good Dog” for his masters against his desire to do real good. The detailed and clever worldbuilding more than justifies a sequel, and Tchaikovsky pulls of an impressive feat in making Rex’s character evolution genuinely moving. Readers will be wowed. Agent: Mic Cheetham, Mic Cheetham Assoc. (Nov.)