In Rooster: A Field Trial Fable by Edward Pontacoloni, Tom Quinn has his heart set on studying the life of a 'field trialer' and his sights are on learning from the best. On arriving in the Wild West, he devotes his early days to training, under the guidance of Duke Arness, a champion handler and breeder of English pointers, before returning to his home in Massachusetts. When Tom rescues a pup from the cull to become his own trial dog to train, he lays his destiny before him - to participate in the American Nationals.
Unfortunately, when an unexpected accident puts an end to him competing personally, he focuses on breeding trial dogs under the name of Quinn Kennels. This is how Tom has a great fortune in meeting Mike and his dog, Rooster. Although not a pointer or a setter like Tom’s kennel dogs, Rooster displays a flair and a desire to become a trial dog and Tom can’t resist developing his education with his dogs and simultaneously teaching Mike the ways of a handler. Will Rooster succeed and gain a place in the trials? Does he have what it takes to stand against one of the most ruthless dogs? Or will they refuse him entry, due to his lack of breeding? Read the book to discover more!
I initially wanted to read this book because I was drawn to the cover; as a huge dog lover, my heart leapt! On perusing the description, I became further intrigued. All I needed was to read the wonderfully penned introduction, and I was hooked. Drawn not only to the beautifully descriptive writing style but also as my family have a rescued pointer (albeit a French pointer), I can relate to the physical aspects of the dogs when they 'come to point'. As soon as I discovered Rooster in the story, I sensed a tangible undercurrent that sent tingles through me for what was to come - would he or wouldn’t he succeed?
Edward Pontacoloni has created a wonderful piece of fiction that makes your heart overflow. It’s such a feel-good read. Rooster is one of those books that remains with you when you have finished the read with a contented sigh. It is more than a book featuring dog trials, it’s a sense of rooting for the underdog (literally). In between the pages, the reader explores a snippet of fantasy, a sense of the unknown, and the hope that magic exists in this world to move things along the rightful path.
My favourite part of the book is difficult to choose, but I particularly liked the added touch at the end of certain chapters. It comes in the form of a discussion between the narrator and the reader as if the story is being narrated to you, only you, seated in front of a fire with a warm drink. I also appreciated the images included that evoke realism in the tale. There are no negative aspects to address.
Edward Pontacoloni has a keen sense for a plot, characterization and storytelling. With a story that actively engages the reader, including the narration of the animals, it builds up to a satisfying answer to the primary questions. The book is well written, with just a few grammatical errors. It seems professionally edited.
A satisfying short story, I gladly rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
I recommend this book for animal lovers and readers who enjoy a touch of the fantastic.