The Gaze of Dogs Readers’ Comments

Leon Saunders and Valentine Press value readers’ comments. Please tell us what you think about The Gaze of Dogs, on the form below.

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29 thoughts on “The Gaze of Dogs Readers’ Comments

  1. I found it to be a bit slow for the first 20 pages, but then I started getting into the characters and what comes next.
    Especially as I come from a country background I really identified with the characters and Leon has depicted them true to type.
    Once I got into it I could not put it down and read it in two days.
    I was planning on giving it away to some other richly deserve and reader, however now I think I will keep it and read it again.
    Best part is it is only $9.95 on Amazon
    I highly recommend this book as being one of my top 10 of the year and probably in the upper echelon of that..

  2. Great read. Relatable and compelling characters. Well written with authentic dialogue. Funny, endearing, captivating. Loved it.

  3. ‘The Gaze of Dogs’ is a riveting read—an iconic Australian story about a young man searching for his past among a community of battlers on the gem fields of outback Queensland. Haunted by flashbacks from his early childhood, Ned Sheridan is driven to search for the one man who he can solve the mystery of his tortured past—a stranger who left young Ned at the gates of an orphanage. On the gem fields, Ned is accepted by a community of gritty sapphire miners—outback-hardened characters with callused hands and dreams of striking it rich in subterranean caverns that range in size from cupboards to cathedrals. Like a clam, Jack, the key to his past, refuses to open up but Ned sticks around, sets up home in a shack nearby, digs up precious stone (including a hunk of apricot sapphire of rare size and clarity), falls in love with a gentle beauty and rallies his mob of miners when their livelihoods are threatened. The prose is compelling (and so often quietly beautiful) and the valiant cast of characters drawn with such empathy only the granite-hearted will fail to be moved by their trials and tribulations. It’s Leon Saunders first novel and I’m confident many of his readers sincerely hope it won’t be his last.

  4. A must read. Best book I’ve read in ages. Wonderfully well fleshed out characters on a remarkable yet highly believable adventure. An instant Australian classic

  5. A great read. Characters scratching a living on a gem field, a lead who hasn’t quite found his voice and so lets other characters move him along, as a rich world shifts and turns him around. Of course Ned’s a warm hearted man with a touch of steel. The writer celebrates his circus of characters in a larrikin humour, I miss. And, he likes sharp dialogue. Thanks Leon.

  6. It’s not very often that a story comes along that has “effrythingk”. Mystery, drama, romance, adventure and humour. I thoroughly enjoyed this cleverly constructed journey of someone searching for their identity accompanied by a bevy of colourful, believable characters. What a fantastic read!

  7. I loved this book. I laughed all the way through. The humour is so dry, there were occasions I could almost feel the writer winking at me. And it’s a great rollicking adventure with plots and twists and payoffs right through to the end. But most importantly for me, it took me back to a time in my life where the world was two things; an absolutely open ended adventure with limitless possibility while at the same time something utterly bewildering to me. The Gaze of Dogs made me remember the heartache and joy of my early 20’s, that transition period in your life where you discover you’ve become someone, not because you’ve made choices, but because the habits of your teens have coalesced into character… The Gaze of Dogs dramatises the inner determination required to become someone you choose to be, while recognising that chance, surprise and the love and kindness of friends are critical to finding peace and joy. The lead character Ned Sheridan is a beautiful modern hero shaped by the shenanigans on the sapphire fields of QLD in the 1970’s.

  8. Congratulations Leon! A really worthwhile book which well and truly evokes the spirit of the Australian bush and its people. Non stop adventure, misadventure and laconic Aussie humour make it hard to put down. TFB may have had a long gestation but truly worth it in the end. When’s the next one?

    • Terrific feedback, thanks Bryan. TNFB is bubbling away, but I’ll have to do this one a bit faster. Watch this space,

  9. This is a beautiful book by any standards. My hope is that it will get the attention it justly deserves.

  10. This search for identity by a man who is flawed and almost broken by adversity, yet through perseverance, luck and intuition manages to find a place in life. He befriends a diverse range of people in this mining area outside Emerald and witnesses courage, self-belief and loyalty among the closest of his friends. Throughout his journey there is tragedy, stoicism and humour; the latter must reflect an intrinsic facet of our Australian character. I would highly recommend it as it portrays a slice of tough Australian country life and does not resile from including both Aboriginal and White cultural differences. A must read.

  11. I loved “The Gaze of Dogs”,( aka TFB). Leon Saunders has written a beautifully crafted, meaningful novel. The characters, and the internal and external worlds they inhabit are described so realistically and compassionately, that this story stayed with me long after I had finished reading it. A great read !

  12. I bought this book as a friend recommended it to me. I bought the ePub version and put it onto my Kobo reader. I really pleased I did.

    I’ve visited a few (opal) mining towns and found the descriptions of the country and characters so accurate that I was taken back to those places.

    I found the characters quite believable and enjoyed spending time with them. I enjoyed the mystery of the book that made me read it quickly – had trouble putting it down.

    As an Australian I also found the addition of the indigenous story interesting and thought provoking as this wasn’t something I saw in the places I visited although I’m sure it existed there.

    Like one of the other reviewers it made me want to head out to the gem fields to see if I could find a beautiful stone myself and meet some of these interesting people.

    • That’s a lovely review Anne, thank you. I’ve never been to an opal mining field, but I imagine the atmosphere there is pretty much the same as the Anakie gem fields. I’ve tried to convey it as accurately as I could, and feedback like yours makes me feel it was worth the effort. Thank you,
      PS Tell all your friends!!

  13. What a good read.
    The jail stuff was really gripping well researched Leon ,I couldn’t put the book down at the climax loved the dynamite chapters .
    Well done

  14. Beautifully evocative. Every dirt track, rotting floorboard and rusty nail is brought to life through the skill of the author. The characters are both fresh and familiar and the setting a revelation. The protagonist’s quest for identity and the mystery of his childhood make The Gaze of Dogs unputdownable. But make no mistake, the journey is as satisfying as the destination. I loved it.

  15. I lived the book.
    The story ,characters real and entertaining, terrific dialogue.
    I meant to write ” I loved the book” but reading back I saw ” I lived it” and that is how it was.

  16. There’s a beautiful freshness and authenticity to this eloquent story – a saga of the search for identity, struggle for existence, of lost love, and of friendship and deceit. The engrossing and diverse characters, the poignantly described environment and the life of an industry – little known to us- the gem fields of Australia, will stay with long after you turn the last page. A page you must get to once you start this impressive journey.

  17. I greatly enjoyed the book, was intrigued with life in the sapphire fields, found the characters there fascinating, and certainly got engrossed in the story

    Looking forward to the sequel, but I hope it does not take as long to write as this one or, for that matter, Far Tortuga!

  18. I loved it – so evocative I could smell the bush & the dirt. And what a motley group of characters in a totally intriguing environment. They were so alive and the dialogue was a treat!
    Well done Leon!

  19. The characters leap off the page and I quickly became immersed in their lives. It’s the kind of book you don’t put down for long. Can’t wait to read the sequel!

  20. Ahh Leon , for a non fiction reader I learnt a hell of a lot I never knew,from something raw and meaty (to me).
    A glossary would help the international reader
    What I really enjoyed was the life experiences leading me to wonder what is going to happen next
    Very easy to get absorbed into the book as the hours slip by
    I couldn’t imagine anything remotely like the “Gaze” , huge job! Where is TFNB ?

  21. I loved every moment of The Gaze of Dogs . Conjuring up beautiful imagery of places and characters that I would only dare visit immersed in this lovely book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  22. Just finished G.O D.
    Wow what a ride! ! I just wanted to be in the gemfields/ pub with them all.
    Next break I have I’m off fossicking!
    Beautifully written and a real page turner.
    Recommend it highly… 5 stars.

  23. I recommend it.
    Immensely enjoyable – great characters, wonderful dialogue. I can’t understand why it wasn’t published years ago.
    Will make a great telemovie.

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