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Imprint: Rock the Boat

Subject: Children’s Fiction

Age: 9-12

Dogs of the Deadlands

Anthony McGowan

‘This book! It broke my heart and then splinted it back together again. Full of hope and love and wildness… Imagine Watership Down meets The Animals of Farthing Wood but fiercer.’
Hannah Gold, author of The Last Bear



Chernobyl 1986. Those left behind must fight to survive.


The world is coming to an end. Dragged from her bed in the middle of the night and forced to leave her beloved puppy behind, Natasha has no idea if she’ll ever return home. 

Growing up in the shadow of the ruined nuclear power plant, pups Misha and Bratan need to learn how to live wild – and fast. Creatures with sharp teeth, scythe-like claws and yellow eyes lurk in the overgrown woods. And they’re watching the brothers…

But will the dogs survive without humans? And can humans live without them?

A devastating tale of courage, companionship and hope from the Carnegie award-winning author of Lark.


  • Publication date: September 1, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861543267
  • RRP: £7.99
  • Pages: 320
  • Publication date: September 1, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861542741
  • RRP: £12.99
  • Pages: 320
  • Publication date: September 13, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861543205
  • RRP: £
  • Pages: 320


‘Steeped in Richard Adams’ Plague Dogs and Watership Down, yet wearing all the hallmarks of Barry Hines at his finest, Dogs of the Deadlands is a wonderful thing. It moved me and stayed with me for an awfully long time.’

Phil Earle, author of When the Sky Falls

‘I was completely blown away by this brilliant, beautiful story. I was propelled back to reading Watership Down as an eight year old – this gave me that same feeling of having been indelibly changed by a story. It's a rare and special thing for a book to do.’

Catherine Bruton, author of No Ballet Shoes in Syria

‘Raw, unflinching, and blisteringly well written, Dogs of the Deadlands is already certain to be one of my books of the year! Just WOW.’

A. M. Howell, author of The Garden of Lost Secrets

‘A truly unforgettable tale of hope in the wilderness. This story feels classic, timeless. It will be read and read and read and loved by so many readers for a long time to come.’

Keith Gray, author of Ostrich Boys

‘Dogs of the Deadlands is extraordinary – exciting, brutal, heartbreaking, it carries you along with every howl, every bite and every moment of joy. Wonderful!’

Alastair Chisholm, author of Orion Lost

‘Beautifully written and emotionally devastating.’

Bookseller, Most Anticipated Children’s & YA titles 2022

‘This is a powerful novel about how people’s lives can change in an instant, and how the animals affected by human disaster learn to survive… a tense, thought-provoking drama whose descriptions of animal life are reminiscent of Watership Down. Rock the Boat is publishing a sumptuous hardback edition.’

Bookseller, One to WatchCharlotte Eyre

‘Loved Dogs of the Deadlands – swept along by the story – powerful telling of dogs’ survival in the wilds against the backdrop of Chernobyl and the spaces humans left behind.’

Gill Lewis, author of A Street Dog Named Pup

Praise for Anthony McGowan:

‘The Carnegie medal winner McGowan is superb at stories about children who do not have all the advantages.’ Sunday Times

‘McGowan's prose is beautiful in its brevity and devastating in its emotional impact.’ Bookseller

‘This book! It broke my heart and then splintered it back together again. Full of hope and love and wildness. Can’t even describe the plot but it has dogs and wolves and it’s set in the aftermath of Chernobyl. It’s just MAGNIFICENT. Imagine Watership Down meets The Animals of Farthing Wood but fiercer.’

Hannah Gold, author of The Last Bear

Anthony McGowan

Anthony McGowan is one of the most widely acclaimed young adult and children’s authors in the UK. His books have won numerous major awardsIn 2020, he was awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Lark. He was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal with Rook and won the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the Catalyst Award for Henry Tumour. His YA novel The Knife that Killed Me was made into a critically-lauded film in 2014. Anthony lives in London, with his wife, two children and dog.

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