4.6 18
by Diana Wynne Jones

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The Dog Star, Sirius, is tried for murder by his heavenly peers and found guilty. His sentence: to be reborn on Earth as a dog until such time as he carries out the seemingly impossible mission imposed on him.

In his Earth guise, Sirius, renamed Leo, truly lives a dog's life. Although he is the pet of a girl who loves him, both child and dog are mistreated

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The Dog Star, Sirius, is tried for murder by his heavenly peers and found guilty. His sentence: to be reborn on Earth as a dog until such time as he carries out the seemingly impossible mission imposed on him.

In his Earth guise, Sirius, renamed Leo, truly lives a dog's life. Although he is the pet of a girl who loves him, both child and dog are mistreated by the family with whom they live. But the worldly obstacles Leo faces are minor when compared with his chilling encounters with the Dark Powers that are set against him. His quest seems hopeless until at lost Sol, Moon, and Earth itself come to his aid.

Dogsbody is a tense, exciting, sciencefiction fantasy, a thriller, and a touching dog story all in one.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Praised by PW as ``among the most rewarding novels available for readers of all ages,'' this fantasy tells of the difficult mission confronting Sirius the Dog Star when he is sentenced to be reborn on Earth. Ages 9-14. (Feb.)
Children's Literature
Diana Wynne Jones has the uncanny ability to make her fantasies real and believable. Dogsbody is more than a case in point. We are asked to believe that a heavenly body-the star Sirius-is exiled to Earth on a mission of recovery and redemption in the body of a dog. Completely rational by Wynne Jones's way of thinking. Why couldn't the dog star become a living dog? And he does. Sirius/Leo becomes one of the most believable canines in dog literature: lovable, devoted to his new mistress Kathleen, intelligent yet still eminently doggie. It is, in fact, the warring between Sirus's intelligence and dog nature that leads to most of the story's drama and sends him back into the heavens as a wiser star. It would be folly to give away more of the plot. It need only be said that the book is more than welcome back into print-and may its own reincarnation find it many new readers. 2001 (orig. 1975), Greenwillow/HarperTrophy, $6.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
From the Publisher
"Among the most rewarding novels available for readers of all ages."—Publishers Weekly

"It need only be said that the book is more than welcome back into print—and may its own reincarnation find it many new readers."—Children's Literature

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Diana Wynne Jones was the multiple award-winning author of many fantasy novels for children, teenagers, and adults. Her book Howl's Moving Castle was made into an Academy Award-nominated major animated feature by Hayao Miyazaki. She received the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Married to the medievalist J. A. Burrow, with whom she had three sons, she lived for many years in Bristol, the setting for many of her books. Diana Wynne Jones passed away in March 2011, after a long illness.

Neil Gaiman is the Newbery Medal winning author of The Graveyard Book and Coraline.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Dog Star stood beneath the Judgment Seats and raged. The green light of his fury fired the assembled faces viridian. It lit the underside of the rooftrees and turned their moist blue fruit to emerald.

"None of this is true!" he shouted. "Why can't you believe me, instead of listening to him?" He blazed on the chief witness, a blue luminary from the Castor complex, firing him turquoise. The witness backed hastily out of range.

"Sirius," the First judge rumbled quietly, "we've already found you guilty. Unless you've any, thing reasonable to say, be quiet and let the Court pass sentence."

"No I will not be quiet!" Sirius shouted up at the huge ruddy figure. He was not afraid of Antares. He had often sat beside him as judge on those same judgment Seats-that was one of the many miserable things about this trial. "You haven't listened to a word I've said, all through. I did not kill that luminary -- I only hit him. I was not negligent, and I've offered to look for the Zoi. The most you can accuse me of is losing my temper-"

"Once too often, in the opinion of this Court," remarked big crimson Betelgeuse, the Second judge, in his dry way.

"And I've admitted I lost my temper," said Sirius.

"No one would have believed you if you hadn't," said Betelgeuse.

A long flicker of amusement ran around the assembled luminaries. Sirius glared at them. The hall of blue trees was packed with people from every sphere and all orders of effulgence. It was not often one of the high effulgents was on trial for his lifeand there never had been one so notorious for losing his temper.

"That's right-laugh!" Sirius roared. "You'regetting what you came for, aren't you? But you're not watching justice done. I tell you I'm not guilty! I don't know who killed that young fool, but it wasn't me!"

"The Court is not proposing to go through all that again," Antares said. "We have your Companion's evidence that you often get too angry to know what you're doing."

Sirius saw his Companion look at him warningly. He pretended not to see her. He knew she was trying to warn him not to prove the case against him by raging any more. She had admitted only a little more than anyone knew. She had not really let him down. But he was afraid he would never see her again, and he knew it would make him angrier than ever to look at her. She was so beautiful: small, exquisite and pearly.

"If I were up there, I wouldn't call that evidence," he said.

"No, but it bears out the chief witness," said Antares, "when he says he surprised you with the body and you tried to kill him by throwing the Zoi at him."

"I didn't," said Sirius. He could say nothing more. He could only stand fulminating because his case was so weak. He refused to tell the Court that he had threatened to kill the blue Castor-fellow for hanging around his Companion, or that he had struck out at the young luminary for gossiping about it. None of that proved his innocence anyway.

"Other witnesses saw the Zoi fall," said Antares. "Not to speak of the nova sphere -- "

"Oh go to blazes!" said Sirius. "Nobody else saw anything."

"Say that again," Betelgeuse put in, "and we'll add contempt of court to the other charges. Your entire evidence amounts to contempt anyway."

"Have you anything more to say?" asked Antares. "Anything, that is, which isn't a repetition of the nonsense you've given us up to now?"

Rather disconcerted, Sirius looked up at the three judges, the two red giants and the smaller white Polaris. He could see they all thought he had not told the full story. Perhaps they were hoping for it now. "No, I've nothing else to say," he said. "Except that it was not nonsense. I -- "

"Then be quiet while our spokesman passes the sentence," said Antares.

Polaris rose, quiet, tall and steadfast. Being a Cepheid, he had a slight stammer, which would have disqualified him as spokesman, had not the other two judges been of greater effulgence. "D-denizen of S-sirius," he began.

Sirius looked up and tried to compose himself. He had not had much hope all through, and none since they declared him guilty. He had thought he was quite prepared. But now the sentence was actually about to come, he felt sick. This trial had been about whether he, Sirius, lived or died. And it seemed only just to have occurred to him that it was.

"This Court," said Polaris, "has f-found you guilty on three counts, namely: of m-murdering a young luminary s-stationed in Orion; of grossly m-misusing a Zoi to com-m-mit that s-said m-murder; and of culpable negligence, causing t-trepidation, irregularity and d-damage in your entire s-sphere of inf-fluence and l-leading t-to the Moss of the Z-zoi." For the moment, his stammer fazed him, and he had to stop.

Sirius waited. He tried to imagine someone else as denizen of his green sphere, and could not. He looked down, and tried not to think of anything. But that was a mistake. Down there, through the spinning star-motes of the floor, he looked into nothing. He was horrified. It was all he could do not to scream at them not to make him into nothing.

Dogsbody. Copyright © by Diana Jones. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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