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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780688800741
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/01/1977
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About 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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Dogsbody 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like dogs this might be the book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I ever read by Diana Wynne Jones, and it remains my favorite. She's such a wonderful author, and this book is a perfect example of her talent. The premise is so original and so interesting that this book is extraordinarily hard to put down. I reccommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy, mythology, or good dog stories
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eurekas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sirius, the dog star, is falsely accused of murder and sentenced to be a dog on earth until he can find the Zoi which was lost during the murder. Kathleen, the girl who rescues Sirius from being drowned at birth, is a young Irish girl living with her aunt and uncle and their two sons because her mother has run off to the United States and her father is a political prisoner. Life isn't easy for either of them. It takes Sirius a long time just to figure out who, or perhaps that should be what, he is and what his task is, and then, due to the limitations of his dogs body, it takes even longer to act on it. A very funny and emotionally satisfying book.
schinders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
my other favorite dwj, read it a hundred times.
Citizenjoyce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dogsbody reads like a Greek myth. It personifies stars and planets, giving them the same vengeful and even romantic notions found in real myths, there's also an antlered god reminiscent of pagan religions and a zoi which appears to be an object of pure Force right out of Star Wars. Sirius, a green luminary, is on trial accused of losing control in a fit of anger, killing another luminary and losing a zoi on earth. Having been found guilty he's sentenced to the life of a (literal) dog on earth. If he finds the zoi he can return to his star, if not he will live only as long as a dog's body lives. When Sirius gets to earth he constantly has to balance his green active, angry, impulsive star energy with his earthly dog tendencies toward patience, love, hunger and joy. The story is compelling, the characters are stereotypes, as befits a myth: the father who, like the fathers in many stories, is a fine man but oblivious to anything that doesn't effect him directly, the mother is pretty Cruella Deville, and the little girl is the pure virgin out of any unicorn story. The ending is appropriate for both myth and story. I'd recommend the book for anyone preteen to adult who loves dogs and wants to acquaint themselves with myth.
Sorrel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dogsbody was an adequate, but not an enthralling read. A mistreated stepchild takes in a stray dog that is actually a disgraced extraterrestrial bigwig with a mission. (It¿s not tongue in cheek.)
souloftherose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sirius, the denizen of the Dog Star, is wrongly convicted of murdering another denizen and as a punishment is sent to Earth where he is 'reborn' as a puppy and given the life-span of that dog to clear his name.On Earth he's adopted by a young girl called Kathleen. DWJ does a fantastic job of showing us the world from a puppy's point of view and there were some laugh out loud moments as well as lots of cute ones (the personifications of the different dogs were hilariously accurate). But the book also deals with some more serious issues just as well, Kathleen is Irish and living with her aunt and uncle in England during The Troubles. Her aunt resents her and in exchange for being allowed to keep Sirius the puppy, Kathleen has to do all the housework which makes her tired for school and and easy target for some Irish jibes from her schoolmates. A great children's/YA book and I enjoyed it much more than the more well known Howl's Moving Castle. In typical DWJ fashion, the ending was.. unexpected. And made me cry.I'm torn between 4.5 and 5 stars but thinking about it again has made me bump it up to 5 stars. Highly recommended but why is this book not more well known?
Safia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book at first when I was nine years old and ten years later, I still really enjoyed it - it's my first ever favourite book as a child and it still hold my heart.
AmphipodGirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think this is my favorite DWJ book yet. The being who occupies Sirius, the Dog Star, wrongly convicted of a crime, is incarnated as a puppy on Earth and has only the dog's lifespan to clear his name. The spirits that inhabit the stars and planets are a new notion in fantasy (at least to me) and transcendantly wonderful. The pup's/dog's eye view of life is very well done. I haven't been so captured by a book in some time.
Madeleine_Grace More than 1 year ago
Dogsbody, Diana Wynne Jones is a multilayer novel that is a mystery, a love story, and an other worldly experience all in one. The main character Sirius is a celestial being who is punished for a crime by being confined to the mind and body of a dog on Earth. He must accomplish a mission that will restore to him his power, position, and previous physical form. Along the way, he forms an unintended bond with the young girl Kathleen. Kathleen is a young Irish girl who is living in Britain with her extended family because of violence in her country. As he moves through life as her dog, Sirius learns about loyalty, friendship, and the price of being stubborn. In the novel, the author uses the point of view of a dog, who is experiencing the world for the first time as a way to prompt the reader to try and look at the world differently. This means that even though the reader is familiar with Earth, it becomes a foreign planet to them as it is observed through the eyes of an alien. Sirius begins his time on Earth as a puppy with no recollection of his previous life. When he is first introduced into this new life, he describes the setting around him giving the reader clues as to what he is experiencing. As he grows and learns more about life on Earth his descriptions become more clear to the reader and more familiar. Jones created a unique novel that ties together the science fiction, fantasy, and mythology genres. The novel has elements of science fiction in that Sirius was a celestial being in outer space who had control over planets and interacted with characters that represent other forces in space. The novel is classified as fantasy because the story is written from the point of view of a dog, and there are magical type forces used that can’t be explained in scientific terms. The novel also has elements of mythology because the author ties in the Welsh myth of the wild hunt. Themes such as relationships, loyalty, discrimination, and desire are all addressed by Jones. All of these concepts are explored through Sirius’s experiences and conflicts. Different relationships are explored between Sirius and the other characters. The most significant relationships are between Sirius and Kathleen, Sirius and his Companion, and Sirius and Sol. Through all of these relationships the author conveys major ideas and developments in the story. Jones also explores the concept of loyalty, when it’s true, and how it shifts. This is experienced through Sirius’ loyalty to Kathleen as a dog, and his loyalty to his companion as an effulgent. Discrimination also appears when Sirius comments about how the other characters view Kathleen for being Irish, and how they associate her with violence she has no part in. Another theme is desire. Sirius believes he wants something so much that he neglects to see when that desire changes until it is to late. This novel is fun for any reader that is character oriented and loves observing how well developed characters change and interact. It has a moving plot that helps the reader maintain interest, but focused mainly on characters. The writing can seem a bit simple at times because it is written from the perspective of a dog, but the story is still exciting. It is a science fiction and fantasy book, which is not a genre that all people enjoy. However, even readers that don’t normally enjoy that genre can still have an gratifying experience with the book because of the dog-and-owner relationship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the book and enjoyed it. i'm not a dog lover, but when i read the first page i was hooked. the story was touching, funny and sad at times. the pace was good and the plot was full of action. i recommend it to anyone of any age.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it. Great book. Great story. Great ideas. Loved it so much don't know what to say. I just love it. Goodbye.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dogsbody is one of the most unique fantasy books I have ever read. There's nothing else quite like it. The story is fascinating and captivating. Don't miss this sweet gem.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book because it looked good (and because it was about a dog) and I was right! I read it all in one night, which was about 5 and a half hours. This story is about the Dog Star, Sirius, who was found guilty of murder and was banished to live as a dog on Earth until he could retrieve a weapon called the Zoi. While being a dog, he became a kinder person/dog/illuminary (whatever you'd call him.) This book was really good because it was a fantasy, yet followed the life of a dog. I think it is a great book for dog lovers and fantasy lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Diana discribes life from a dog's point of view so well that I couldn't put the book down! It is a great story for all ages and Sirius really brings the book to life, he has such a big personality. I highly reccomend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for the first time probably 15 years ago, and upon re-reading it as an adult I find I still enjoy one of my favorite books from my childhood. Its fantasy premise is that solar systems and constellations fall under the aegis of 'luminaries,' beings that order and run their spheres of influence. Sirius, the Dog Star, is accused and found guilty of murder, and is sent to Earth in a dog's body, there to either find and recover the murder weapon, a powerful tool called a Zoi. The story unfolds in England, where Sirius is adopted by Kathleen, an oh-so-common English orphan being raised by unkind relatives, and slowly, with the help of Sol (the denizen of Eath's sun), he pieces together his luminary memory and confronts the forces that framed him. The story's fantasy premise is fun and original. Jones personifies the stars well and gives them personalities in harmony with their physical characteristics that we can see from Earth. As a dog story, it's excellent as well, with a different twist. Usually the child's point of view is taken as we follow their development, which is facilitated by their relationship with a dog (or, often, a horse). Here Sirius's point of view is the only one present, and he must balance his 'luminary' concerns and his place as Kathleen's friend and defender. Jones does a very good job following Sirius's dog's thoughts and, later, as he comes to remember his past life, his 'adult' luminary awareness. The book is so well written, with more grown-up elements thrown in to boot (Kathleen, for example, is Irish and living in England at a time when the IRA was quite active) that any one of any age should enjoy it. (As an addendum: Jones anticipates two of J.K. Rowlings' mainstays: orphans living with horrible relatives and, in her Chrestomanci books, a world divided into magic and non-magic people in which 'magic' children attend 'magic' school and so forth--Rowlings is by no means a copycat, but for those who liked the Harry Potter series, try Jones as well. She writes with enough edge and seriousness to keep adults interested and stretch kids' minds.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book by Jones. I Read it one day when I was sick and I read it agian the next night. I Recommened this book it's a good read!