Review by DL Morrese, Fiction Writer & Amateur philosopher:
Title: Doguar and the Baboons of War
Author: Simon J. Townley
Genre: YA/MG Sci-Fi
A Talking Dog’s Tale
Professor Wainwright, a brilliant scientist working for Ibridan Life Sciences, is engaged in a secret project to see if animal DNA can be manipulated to produce human-like intelligence. He discovers it can.
Doguar and Ruby may be smarter than your average dog, but they have led sheltered lives in the Professor’s (sic) lab as his ‘pets.’ They are not part of the official project for Ibridan, with which the Professor has grown disillusioned. He has come to believe Ibridan wants to create intelligent animals to become soldiers and slaves. After he goes to the media to reveal part of what is going on, the company sends its thugs to invade his lab and abduct him.
With the assistance of well-meaning but largely clueless animal rights advocates, his two genetically enhanced dogs escape. Later, they obtain assistance from the Professor’s sister and his Buddhist monk friend in order to find the secret lab where the Professor is being held in order to rescue him.
I found this an enjoyable story with simple prose suitable for MG readers. Doguar, the protagonist of this novel, is likable. It’s hard to go wrong with a talking dog. The human characters are not developed as much, but the good guys are good enough to cheer for, and the bad guys are bad enough for the reader to want them to fail. Underneath it all are good moral lessons about violence and respect for others and one possible answer to the question, ‘Does a dog have Buddha nature?’
This is a fun light read. I recommend it for fans of MG Sci-Fi, talking dogs, and happy endings.