Dogs have always played an important role in literature, and as the Chinese Year of the Dog has just begun, what better time to look at canine characters?
    Without his faithful hound, Argos, to recognise him, who would have believed that Odysseus had finally returned in Homer's The Odyssey? The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, without a big black dog, wouldn't have left Sherlock Holmes with much to investigate. Every age group and genre of literature from See Spot Run by Ronald Lourie to Jack London's The Call of the Wild, features dogs front and centre.
    As protagonists, dogs are usually smarter than the humans who are supposed to be in charge, and far braver, especially in films. It's usually Lassie or K9 who saves the day or brings the lovers together. Dogs take the place of the faithful sidekick and often get bumped off in the final reel or chapter. Tin Tin wouldn't get far without Snowy. Even Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot relied on Mr. Bob, the fox terrier, to solve the case in Dumb Witness. The Belgian detective's little grey cells couldn't have done it on their own.
    Of course, anyone who's ever lived with dogs knows that they have a tendency to disregard instructions, and that their notion of being helpful can lead to a lot of cleaning up. The dogs in Discord's Child and Discord's Apprentice are brave, enthusiastic and ever-so-helpful! What's more, they turned up on their own, without me planning to include them, despite plotting the novels before I started writing. Yet, I can't now think of a way the novels would work without them. Will there be any canine companions in the next novel in the series? Don't ask me, I'm just the author, but I wouldn't be at all surprised.

P.S. Don't forget you can get a FREE copy of Discord's Apprentice until 1st March by using the code number at