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Denver author Peter Heller’s first novel is set in an abandoned airfield and the wooded foothills of Erie, Colo. after Hig, the narrator, has lost his wife, Melissa, and all of his friends to a “global” flu epidemic. The illnes has “wiped out” most of the U.S. population. Hig, a pilot, fisherman, hunter and poet, lives at the airfield with his dog, Jasper, and Bruce Bangley, former Navy SEAL weapons expert and a survivalist
Bangley has found an abandoned mansion nearby where he has taken up residence. Jasper is an extra pair of eyes and ears, always on alert as they fly daily in Hig’s antique (1956) Cessna over their 8-mile area foraging for fuel and stashes of supplies. Bangley becomes a trusted ally and patrols the encampment on foot, shooting any other survivors who might attack and kill them for their supplies.
One day after nine years of merely surviving, Hig flies outside the perimeter to look for hope and possibility. He hears a random radio transmission and the voice ignites hope.
‘The Dog Stars’ is a story of the survival of people trying to find meaning in, and connection with, life and the value of human survival at the cost of near-total isolation. The stream-of-consciousness narrative is action-packed and moves the story along at a suspenseful pace. The author’ background in travel and adventure writing and his knowledge of nature and his sensitivity shine through.