NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the author of The River: In this "end-of-the-world novel more like a rapturous beginning" (San Francisco Chronicle), Hig somehow survived the flu pandemic that killed everyone he knows. His gripping story is "an ode to friendship between two men...the strong bond between a human and a dog, and a reminder of what is worth living for" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
Hig's wife is gone, his friends are dead, and he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, Jasper, and a mercurial, gun-toting misanthrope named Bangley.
But when a random transmission beams through the radio of his 1956 Cessna, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists outside their tightly controlled perimeter. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return and follows its static-broken trail, only to find something that is both better and worse than anything he could ever hope for.
Look for Peter Heller's new novel, The Last Ranger, coming soon!
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In Peter Heller’s gripping and heartfelt novel, one man searches for meaning in a world of postapocalyptic despair. A pandemic flu has decimated the planet, leaving behind only small bands of hardscrabble survivors, including pilot and aspiring author Hig. Heller’s hero holes up with his dog and a short-tempered sharpshooter in rural Colorado, counting the days as he patrols for danger and fishes for food. But one day, Hig catches a glimpse of something he thought he’d lost forever—hope—and the story that follows is scary, beautiful, and too good to spoil. Heller crafted this moving tale well before the COVID-19 pandemic, making his insights into people’s hopes and fears feel incredibly prescient. The Dog Stars will make you ponder the difference between living and surviving.
In the tradition of postapocalyptic literary fiction such as Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Jim Crace's The Pesthouse, this hypervisceral first novel by adventure writer Heller (Kook) takes place nine years after a superflu has killed off much of mankind. Hig, an amateur pilot living in Colorado, has retreated to an abandoned airport from which he flies sorties in "the Beast," his vintage Cessna, over isolated pockets of survivors. His only neighbor is the survivalist Bangley, who's sitting on a stockpile of weapons and munitions, and the only visitors are plague survivors who have descended into savagery. Hig's one real comfort, besides the memory of his dead wife, Melissa, who fell victim to the flu while pregnant, is his dog, Jasper. But when that comfort is withdrawn, Hig flies west in search of the radio voice that called out to him three years before. Instead, he ends up being shot down and restrained by a doctor named Cima and her shotgun-toting father, a former Navy SEAL. With its evocative descriptions of hunting, fishing, and flying, this novel, perhaps the world's most poetic survival guide, reads as if Billy Collins had novelized one of George Romero's zombie flicks. From start to finish, Heller carries the reader aloft on graceful prose, intense action, and deeply felt emotion.
The Dog Stars
Loved it. An engrossing, quick, satisfying read for those seeking pure escapism.
Beautifully written book!
Read half the book before the story became interesting. The introduction of new characters was contrived and formulaic, but the plot line improves halfway through and the writer provides some interesting insights.