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The Dust of 100 Dogs

The Dust of 100 Dogs

4.5 44
by A. S. King

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A Spring 2009 Children's Indie Next List Pick for Teens!

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


A Spring 2009 Children's Indie Next List Pick for Teens!

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.

Exciting, fascinating, spellbinding. I'd follow Saffron into the briny deep.
Heather Brewer, author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

A non-traditional pirate tale with a dangerously raw, mystical edge and a unique modern twist. Deliciously fresh and starkly unforgettable. Lisa McMann,
New York Times best-selling author of Wake

Sparkling, original, both swashbuckling and contemporary...This gripping adventure is sure to be devoured by both teens and adults.Lauren Baratz-Logsted,
author of Angel's Choice


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Seventeenth-century pirate Emer Morrisey, murdered and cursed to live the lives of 100 dogs, finally rematerializes as Saffron Adams, 1980s teenager, in King's far-reaching but uneven debut. Cognizant of her past lives, Saffron's sole ambition is to unearth a treasure buried in Jamaica, even as her oblivious parents urge her toward conventional success. Chapters alternate between Saffron's struggles to conceal her swashbuckling instincts and Emer's falling for a lackluster country boy-then escaping an arranged marriage-while en route to the high seas. Emer's dog incarnations appear in short chapters entitled "Dog Facts," which, though charming, feel superimposed; additional sections are devoted to an aggressive alcoholic living in modern Jamaica. The litany of narratives leaves authentic characters like Saffron's emotionally crippled mother vying for page time, and Saffron's (Emer-inspired) hostility-"Why was she forcing me to take a cutlass to the ligaments at the back of her knees?" thinks Saffron, imagining taking down her mother-feel like intrusion on otherwise poignant glimpses of an unraveling family. Readers will want to love this book, but may not find enough to sink their teeth into. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Cursed by a strange man just after losing her one true love, Irish pirate Emer Morrissey must live 300 years in the bodies of various dogs before being reincarnated in 1972 as human Saffron Adams. Saffron retains all of Emer's memories and is thought to be a genius for her great knowledge of history. As Saffron drags the reader through her uninspired life in a dysfunctional Pennsylvania family, she makes plans to travel to Jamaica and dig up the treasure that she buried there as Emer, 300 years ago. Later in the book, King introduces the creepy Fred, who has deviant sexual tendencies and carries on conversations with his mother in his head-and whose connection to Emer/Saffron isn't revealed until the end. With its sloppy, uneven pacing, kitchen-sink plot and boring characters, even the most loyal of pirate mateys will wish that Saffron and Fred would simply walk the plank. The language is anachronistic during Emer's story and lacks spark when Saffron narrates. Despite Emer's pirate adventures, there is little excitement and the ending is anticlimactic. This is not buried treasure, just fool's gold. (Fantasy. YA)
From the Publisher
"Pirates, reincarnation, dogs, teenage angst, a romance that spans the centuries, magic, treasure--all are wrapped up inside a fun Goth cover. . . "--SLJ

"An undeniably original book."--Booklist

"King weaves an unusual and astounding story from these disparate premises...A remarkable and compelling story for readers seeking something out of the ordinary."--VOYA

"An intricate and sometimes very funny story. The character of Saffron is the embodiment of an escapist fantasy." --The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

"Exciting, fascinating, spellbinding. I'd follow Saffron into the briny deep."-Heather Brewer, author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

"A non-traditional pirate tale with a dangerously raw, mystical edge and a unique modern twist. Deliciously fresh and starkly unforgettable."-Lisa McMann, New York Times best-selling author of Wake

"Sparkling, original, both swashbuckling and contemporary...This gripping adventure is sure to be devoured by both teens and adults."-Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of Crazy Beautiful

Product Details

North Star Editions
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Isn’t She Sweet?

Imagine my surprise when, after three centuries of fight-ing with siblings over a spare furry teat and licking my water from a bowl, I was given a huge human nipple, all to myself, filled with warm mother’s milk. I say it was huge because Sadie Adams, my mother, has enormous breasts, something I never inherited.

When I was born into a typical family in Hollow Ford, Pennsylvania, in 1972, my life was finally mine again. No more obeying orders from masters, no more performing silly tricks, and no more rancid scraps to eat. Within seconds of my birth, I was suckling like no other child in the local maternity ward, in order to grow strong quickly and return to a life cut short by the blade.

A puppy can walk and wander and whine from the minute they leave the amniotic sac. There is a freedom in that, which I learned to appreciate during those first years as a human again. Lying on my back for hours in a crib, wearing a diaper, and drooling made me feel like an idiot. I first tried to walk again at five months old and promptly fell over onto the linoleum floor, wailing from pain and frustration.

I was the youngest of five children born to Sadie and Alfred. Being the last, there was no wonder for them in my first steps or mutterings, and only a sigh of relief when I started to use the toilet by myself.

I don’t know if my parents saw it then, but they cer-tainly noticed later that I was completely different from other children. When I first began talking, I sometimes spoke of places I’d never been, and they would look at me, confused. When I started school, my kindergarten teacher arranged a meeting with them and asked where I’d gotten so much knowledge of history and language. They shrugged and figured I was going to be the genius in the family—so I didn’t let them down.

In all fairness, they needed a genius. As I grew up, I started to notice that life in the Adams household was less typical than it appeared on the outside. My father suffered horribly from the side effects of his tour in the Vietnam War and my mother had never recovered from her child-hood. Their lives had been lived on the edge of poverty and emotional instability. In me and my superhuman intelligence, they saw a way out of their troubles and shame, and so they rarely questioned any of it.

But after a meeting with my first grade teacher, they had to sit me down and ask a few things.

“Saffron, how did you know so much about the second world war?”

“I guess I saw it on the TV,” I answered, trying not to sound coy.

My father frowned. “You couldn’t have seen it on the TV. They don’t say that much on the TV.”

“Must have read it in a book, then.”

“Sweetie, we don’t have any books like that. Did you read it somewhere else?” my mother cooed.

“I must have.”


“Saffron, we know you’re a very clever girl, but do you think there’s a way you could stop showing off in class? Mrs. Zeiber is concerned that you’re making the other children feel bad,” she said.

“Then why don’t they put me in a higher grade?” I didn’t like Mrs. Zeiber, but now I had reason to like her even less. I pictured myself liberating her eyeball from its socket and tossing it onto the merry-go-round in the first grade recess area.

“But we thought you liked being in Mrs. Zeiber’s class.”

“I do, but I’m pretty bored. I’m sick of counting to a hundred,” I whined.

They looked at me, and shrugged at each other. Two weeks later, after winter break, I was enrolled in the district’s gifted program—the ultimate place for showing off knowl-edge that no other first grader could have. I blabbered about everything—the goings-on in the Truman White House, the main tenets of Hinduism, the political complications of Central Africa. My peers envied me, even the teachers envied me. I was like a miracle kid or something, and peo-ple started to talk.

The next year, I realized that life as Saffron Adams would have to be far more inconspicuous. I couldn’t go around claiming to be a genius, and I couldn’t go telling stories from history that I shouldn’t know yet. I guess I realized that the more I said, the more chance I had of ruining everything I was working toward.

It was then, in 1980, the year I turned eight years old, that I forged my plan to return to the Caribbean Sea. Most of the other kids in my class were toying with being rock stars or President of the United States, but I had something much more appealing in mind. Finally done with my one hundred lives as a dog, I would one day reclaim my jewels and gold, hold them close to my heart, and live happily ever after.

So from that day forward, in order to seem my age when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered accordingly.

“I want to be a pirate,” I would say. And they would smile and think, “Isn’t she sweet?”

Meet the Author

A.S. King has been profiled in Writer's Digest magazine and is a member of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) andthe Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

She was a finalist for the Washington Square fiction contest and Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Award in 2007, and her writing has been nominated for the 2008 storySouth Million Writers Award and the Best New American Voices 2010 anthology.

A citizen of both Ireland and the U.S., King's short fiction, poetry and nonfiction have been featured in the Sunday Times Magazine (Dublin edition), the Sunday Tribune Magazine, and iVillage, as well as in several literary journals including Quality Women's Fiction, Underground Voices, and Contrary.

She now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children. The Dust of 100 Dogs is her debut novel.

Visit King online at www.as-king.com or www.thedustof100dogs.com for more information.

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Dust of 100 Dogs 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Solstice-Ballad1 More than 1 year ago
Saffron's years before graduating were stiff, but afterward Saffron and Emer- This character has real edge. She's not a sap in love. She's the new Anyanwu. She reminded me a lot of Octavia E. Butler's character. She's strong minded and strong willed. Emer's vivid culture saved Saffron.
Xenstuff More than 1 year ago
Original and captivating. Combined subjects that I normally would have found of little interest, and tied them together with a strong heroine and great story telling. I work in a Library and I will be passing this on to all of my favorite teens and some of their parents!
Snb793 More than 1 year ago
Yeah... I was at Barnes and Noble looking for a series I was reading at the time, and some who worked there pulled it out from the shelve and recommended it.It was extremely good. I like the way it goes from Emer's POV to the present. Or 1990... Anyway... This book was awesome... And you haven't read it, you should. But don't let Younger people (11 and under?) read it... Just a warning. IF there were anymore of them I would be the first person to buy it!!! XP Snb793
Livs_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
I really don't know where to start with this one. It's a book unlike any I've ever read. It's strange, compelling, and confusing. And at times I wanted to throw it against the wall. I don't think it's a YA book. But it's not adult either. It's in its own class, I guess? I'm screwing myself up just trying to analyze it. The Dust of 100 Dogs was like this enormous jigsaw puzzle. My strategy for solving puzzles is to find all the edge and corner pieces first and complete the entire outline first. Then you get the basic outline and layout and you can move on from there. Which totally applies to D100D. An enormous chunk of the book was just set-up. Another interesting thing about the book was that it switched between three different narrators - Saffron, Emer, and Fred, which got sort of hectic. When I first started reading I was really mixed up about what was going on. Maybe I'm just dumb (actually, most probably I'm just dumb) but I couldn't figure out what was going on in the beginning. The prologue really threw me off and I didn't catch on that the story (at least Emer's) was going back in time for about 50 pages. Which I think is dumbness on my part. But still. The beginning would have been better if a little excitement or clarity was injected. It all connected in my brain eventually though. And that's when it got good. The main story (leading up to the big climax which was actually partially told about in the prologue) is being told by Emer while at the same time Saffron is moving towards her own climax that has roots Saffron's story. It was all very cool. The puzzle outline that you got in the beginning began to make sense and everything began to fall into place. My least favorite part of the book? Fred's poor dog. I flinched every time I read about that. I am a complete dog lover so reading about that tore my heart out. I almost considered skipping a few pages. It was just so vivid. But THEN, you get the big twist at the end which I totally didn't see coming and the whole sad dog/perv guy stuff makes oh so much sense. I felt like slapping myself on the forehead. Because all the pieces were in plain sight, but I didn't make the connection until Saffron did. Which is a good thing because I guess it shows I was sucked in. Towards the end when everything began spiralling in on itself I got completely caught up. And I think that that was because of the characters. Amy's character development was flawless. They all have their own little quirks and flaws and each has something different to add to the story. Emer especially stood out to me. She was the kind of character that you remember. For me, the mark of a bad book is too many characters with too few pages to tell their stories in but Amy packed it all in and packed it in well. I loved the characters. I think the only part of this book that I'm able to complain about is the slow beginning and the dog beating. That's really it. Everything else is amazing. But what's interesting about this book is that it's the kind of thing that you have to put aside and let marinate for a while. Directly after finishing, I wasn't as ecstatic as I am now. There's just so much going on, so much crowding your mind after you finish the book that it's almost impossible to form a coherent opinion. So after a night of sleep and a few hours of thinking, it's safe to say that I loved this book. It was intelligent, clever, and compelling. Definitely recommended.
Facepalm More than 1 year ago
When I started out reading this story, I was honestly sort of bored. I wasn't interested in her family and the war. But..... After that it completely turned around and I was soooo happy I had kept reading it. It was very interesting and the ending was awesome.
Readers_in_Las_Kato More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing to me--if I had half as much creativity, I'd be a happy girl. I'm not sure what to say that hasn't been said already, but I'm sold on D100D. This book has all the elements of a great read--incredible characters, a great premise, and unique plot twists. Emer Morrisey is a determined girl, as is Saffron, and I love to read about determined girls. Fred is amazing for his creep factor. The dog facts do an excellent job of tying the "lesson" threads together for us. I sound like a broken record, but it's a great, great book. And pirates! Who can resist pirates? Especially a completely kick-butt girl pirate? If I can find a way to teach this book to my lit students, I will. If I can find a way to buy this book for all the young adults I know (and some adults, too), I will. I eagerly await A.S. King's next book!
waterfox More than 1 year ago
As a refugee from Cromwell's destruction of Ireland, a pirate on the Caribbean, and a contemporary teenager in Pennsylvania -- not to mention the one hundred dog lives she's lived -- Emer Morrisey is one of the most original heroines I've come across in a long while. You'll want to follow her on her many lives' journeys and wish to see them continue beyond the last page.
Robin_Brande More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book about five minutes ago, and I have to tell somebody: IT'S INCREDIBLE! So imaginative, so clever and exciting and fun and absorbing--I had to put aside my own work for the past two days so I could just keep reading and reading. And then by the end I wished it weren't over! This is a masterfully-told tale of a modern girl too smart for herself and everyone around her, and of the brave, resourceful young woman she once was in a past life. If that alone doesn't grab you, the fact that we learn proper dog care and training throughout the book--from the dogs' point of view--should be the clincher. Hate to say more because it might give away too much, but rest assured that this is a fantastic read, and one that you'll be recommending to everyone you can think of. Ahh, such a satisfying book!
JoanneLevy More than 1 year ago
I just devoured this book in one day! The second I read the absolutely gripping prologue, I was hooked and couldn¿t put it down! This isn¿t your Johnny Depp/Orlando Bloom kind of Disney pirate story; this is a story of real violence and heartbreak that befalls Emer Morissey after she escapes Paris where she was an orphan, sold to a man to be his wife. Emer becomes a veritable pirate, captain of a ship, a force to be reckoned with as she amasses her fortune while pillaging through the Caribbean. But just as she is about to get what she always wanted: treasures immeasurable and a life with her one true love, Fate has its way with her when she is murdered alongside her lover and cursed to live a hundred years as a dog. This heart-wrenching story is told beautifully through the eyes of Saffron Adams the girl who inherited Emer¿s memories after her 100 canine stints are up, and through 3rd person accounts of Emer¿s days back in Ireland and on the high seas. I cried a few times while reading this book, but was rewarded by an ending I did not see coming yet which was incredibly satisfying nonetheless. This story was wonderfully fresh and original and I especially loved that Emer was tough and strong (and did I say a bit violent?), but did have a warm feminine side through it all. I just can¿t say enough about how much I loved this book and can¿t wait to see what Ms. King has in store for us next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My blurb for this awesome book is already above in the Product Review, and there's probably no need to say more. But I can't help it.

You know how you come across a book every few years that really blows you away, and you can't stop thinking about it? You finish reading and you close it and you sit and ponder for a while. You go to sleep thinking about it and when you wake up in the morning, your mind goes back to it. You find yourself in front of the mirror, blow-drying your hair, and you start talking it through because it's so clever, and before you know it, there you are having a little book chat with yourself as you process the story.

And then you know how you want to tell all your friends (strangers, too) to go out and buy this book?

That's how I feel about Emer and Saffron and The Dust of 100 Dogs. It's so freaking strong and moving. Seriously. Give it a try.

If you want to know a little more, check out the book video trailer. It's awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l7pgmcC1rI

Now. Go buy this book.

--Lisa McMann, NYT bestselling author of the WAKE trilogy (Mesa, Arizona)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Possibly one of the best books ive ever read:)
lives_she_wrote More than 1 year ago
I don't think I've ever read a book quite as original as The Dust of 100 Dogs. When I first saw it in the bookstore a couple of years ago, I'd been drawn in by the unusual, enchanting title and the simple, yet fulfilling cover. It's one of those books that you'd probably pass in a bookstore, seeing it but not really looking. And what a loss it is for those people who unknowingly avoid this book! As soon as I read the summary on the back, I was sold. Pirates? Reincarnation? Reincarnation as a dog? It was definitely one of the most intriguing ideas I'd ever heard of, and I just had to read it. The Dust of 100 Dogs starts out at a prologue. In this prologue, Emer, the main character, is on an island. She has just killed "the Frenchman" and is looking back on how a life of being a pirate has ruined her. A man emerges from the bushes and spills a certain type of dust on her. When Emer dies, she turns into a dog. Thus, the "dust of 100 dogs." Emer must live the lives of 100 different dogs before she finally becomes human again. The rest of the book switches back and forth between past Emer and modern day Emer, along with a man named Fred. Past Emer lives in Ireland, though she must leave her home when it is attacked by Oliver Cromwell's army. Eventually, she beomes a pirate, after facing many hardships throughout her life. She is also in love with a boy named Seany, who we see has died in the prologue of the book. Modern day Emer, known as Saffron, is facing difficulties in choosing what she wants to do in the future. Because she has lived through so many years during her time as a dog, not to mention her time beforehand as a human, Safffron is very intelligent and therefore everyone is expecting her to become a doctor or something along those lines. All Saffron wants, though, is to find the treasure she buried so long ago before she died. As for Fred . . . well, you’ll see soon enough. The Dust of 100 Dogs is interesting, fascinating, and one of the most original books I've ever read. Many of my friends have borrowed it from me and agreed that it was amazing. With plot twists that you'd never see coming, unusual characters, and the occasional special chapters explaining what it's like to be a dog, The Dust of 100 Dogs takes you on a wonderful adventure worth the read.
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Dark_Angle More than 1 year ago
This was by far my favorite book ever!! The characters were very dynamic, it was well written, and best of all... it was completely unique.I have never read a book that was anything like this. 100 percent original. This is a must have for any library and I guarantee you will like it if not love it!!!!! BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!
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MercedesMud More than 1 year ago
Here's an excellent book about a pirate named Emer. After burying her treasure she's killed but before dieing she's cursed to live the life of 100 dogs. She's now a modern day teenager with one goal on her mind, get to her treasure she buried long ago. The book changes views frequently and keeps you hooked making is a page turner. Emer if likable from the get go and her love for Seanie is of the deepest kind. The things Emer had to endure to finally be reunited with Seanie and then tore away are heart wrenching. Spoilers below... Emer's family dies during an attack and she's the only one left. She's taken to her Uncle's to live until she's old enough to be sold off as a wife to a man in Paris. She'll meet Seanie and they'll fall in love. Upon arriving in Paris Emer escapes and lives on the streets for a year. Meanwhile Seanie is trying to follow to rescue Emer. Emer will eventually leave Paris and is raped by a Frenchman. Soon she'll become one of the most feared pirates in the world. She's been cursed and now Emer is a teenager living in modern day who can't wait to leave her dirt poor family and seek her treasure she buried over 300 years ago. Then you'll meet Fred Livingston a wealthy man who hears voices and has a live in lover of the same sex. Not until the ending of the book did I figure out who Fred was. Emer, now Saffron will find her treasure, discover the Frenchman she thought she killed received the same curse and is now Fred, Fred's lover will also turn out to be the Frenchman's assistant from long ago. And once again Emer will be united with Seanie. This is an excellent book about pirates and a love story. Solid page turning and a must keep. I hope this author writes more books as good as this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReadingAngel002 More than 1 year ago
Dust of 100 Dogs was one of the most original, funny, and entertaining reads I've read in awhile. Emer, a swashbuckling female pirate from the 1700's, is cursed and killed and has to live the life of 100 dogs before being returned to a human body. When finally being born back to a human family, she has the memories of the last 300+ years while being a baby and a child. Forced to wait until she can make the trip to Jamaica on her own before she can find her buried treasure, Emer must live the life as a teenager named Saffron, with a family that is broke and dysfunctional. The story would flip between present day Saffron and past life Emer. I enjoyed Emer's story the most. She was a strong willed woman who took what she had to survive. She ends up on a pirate ship and it doesn't take long until she becomes the captain of her own ship so she never has to answer to anyone again. I loved how the past and present intertwined and the past lives of people Emer knew come to play in the present day. I laughed out loud and screamed in rage in the span of only a few pages. There was some moments that were a little ris-kay, so parents may want to crack the spine on this one before giving it to your kid. Overall this book was a great escape (which is what I look for when reading) and I look forward to reading more by A.S. King.