This was a wild ride! It starts off slow, with just a man and his dog during the apocalypse. Or so it seems. Well, it’s fairly dystopian at any rate. We get the story from both points of view. The dog, Linekar, is foul-mouthed with a cockney accent. The man, Reginald Hardy, is a man just trying to avoid change and survive. They live in a 10th story flat in London, and have stayed there despite the bombs that destroyed most of the city three years ago. It is December of 2021.
Reginald is very particular about staying within his area, carefully marked out on a map, and I’m pretty sure is no more than 2 square miles. He’s done alright for himself and his dog, but has to venture out beyond his territory to get parts for his generator. He knows he’s not the only one left – there’s proof in the other lights he sees at night, at least 10 other illuminated windows. But he hasn’t been in contact with another person in three years. (Linekar hasn’t seen any other dogs either, so as far as he knows, he is the last dog on earth.) So Reginald is cautious, and he’s right to be, because that trip will change his life forever.
The trouble comes in the form of a small girl. There are soldiers about, of course, on more than one side, but the girl is really the one who starts it all. This small girl, who doesn’t speak, has been separated from her convoy and must be brought to safety. So, against his better judgement, Reginald decides to take her, at least part way, and then return home. But things don’t turn out the way he planned.
Throughout the story, we learn bits and pieces of Reginald’s history and the reasons behind some of his behaviors. There is tragedy in his past, and certain things are very understandable. But over the course of his journey, we see him grow as a person, and it’s a lovely thing to see. He would have been content living the same lifestyle for the rest of his days, but is forced to see and experience more of the world.
For most of the story, Linekar stays the same, a happy, optimistic, enthusiastic dog with a foul mouth who loves his master and has complete faith in him. But Linekar also changes, and it’s heartbreaking. We see both sides of the story, and the changes in both master and dog are understandable, but moving nonetheless. And the change in Linekar is one that probably happens more often than the one Reginald experiences, unfortunately.
The one thing we don’t learn is the reason for the destruction of London (and probably beyond.) It starts with politics, of course, but we never learn the leader’s name or his promises or standpoints, not really. And I guess it doesn’t really matter. Evil doesn’t need a name. Replace it with anyone who would burn the world to the ground and then revel in the power of ruling over the broken remains. There’s a parallel to Hitler and the Nazis, I suppose. The ordinary people are afraid of the BU (*cough* Nazis), and the majority of the soldiers who are enforcing the martial law, I guess you can call it, are the kinds of people who enjoy violence. They are given free rein to commit atrocities without consequences and they revel in it. There are a few who are decent people, but of the ones we see those are the outliers.
There are parts of this that are an emotional rollercoaster. There are times when you think everything will finally be alright, and then nope! Other times you think all is lost, but then in a flash of brilliance someone comes through with a miracle.
This fulfills the CBR12 Bingo square of “Orange”