After the carnage of World War I is finally over, Jacques Morlac, a decorated war hero, is arrested and held in an abandoned barracks in a small town in France, while just outside, his battered and scarred dog barks day and night for its master. Over the course of four days, Hughes Lantier, the officer in charge of Morlac’s investigation, encourages the reluctant prisoner to tell the story of how he made it through the war only to come home to end up under arrest. But Lantier suspects there is more to Morlac’s story and sets out to discover what the prisoner is hiding and why.
Written by award-winning author Jean-Christophe Rufin, one of the founders of Doctors Without Borders, The Red Collar is a slim novel that tells a deceptively simple story about a man and his dog. Inspired by a true story, the book is, at its heart, a painful and moving tale of the horrors of war, mistaken pride, and unbounded loyalty. There are three main human characters, but the thread that ties them together is Wilhelm, the dog whose dedication to his master, even in the face of indifference, is inspiring and heartbreaking. The Red Collar is ultimately his story, and I recommend the book to dog lovers everywhere.