I Am Rebel


I Am Rebel is an exciting and heart-warming story about the bond between Tom and his dog Rebel.  Set in an unspecified time in history, the tale is told by naive but faithful Rebel.  Their idyllic existence on a farm with Tom’s parents is about to come crashing down.  The King has become more and more oppressive, imposing crippling taxes on the people.  He orders his guardsmen to collect the taxes with brute force and intimidation.

Tom feels drawn towards the growing rebellion against the King’s regime and after meeting one of its charismatic leaders, Rider, he sets off the join the uprising.  He instructs Rebel to remain on the farm, but Rebel feels lost without Tom and eventually sets off on an uncertain journey to find him.  Along the way, Rebel encounters a number of animals, in particular wild dog Jaxon.  Jaxon shows him the ways of the wild, how to hunt and he implores Rebel not to trust humans, because ‘they will always let you down’. Nevertheless, Rebel continues his search, although doubts begin to set in about why Tom would leave him.  His journey is dangerous, including battles with wolves and with the Kings guardsmen and traitors.

As Rebel’s mission to be reunited with Tom comes ever nearer its end, the risks become greater.  The climax is exciting and hugely moving.  I Am Rebel is hugely satisfying and highly recommended.

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I Am Rebel

Ross Montgomery

(Walker Books)

Tom and his faithful companion dog Rebel are at the heart of this remarkable middle grade novel.  I Am Rebel tells the story of the bond between the two, unusually narrated by the dog.  It’s a thrilling rollercoaster of a journey, with heart-wrenching highs and lows.
The tale begins in bucolic contentment.  Tom and his parents, and of course Rebel (as well as a sarcastic cat) live and work on a farm.  However, against this seemingly idyllic backdrop lies a brooding threat.  An oppressive King is imposing swingeing taxations.  This has led to a growing rebellion amongst the downtrodden citizens.  The King is backed by a brutal army of guardsmen, who collect the taxes with great brutality.  Tom meets the charismatic Rider, one of the leaders of the rebellion.  He is inspired to join the rebels, leaving home, family and his dog behind. Tom implores him to stay behind and protect his parents, but Rebel sets off to try and find his beloved Tom and bring him home to safety.
In the course of his journey, he meets other animals and he learns their stories.  He begins to understand that there is another perspective on the relationship between dogs and humans.  In particular, he is befriended by wild dog Jaxon, who helps him survive in an hostile terrain.  Throughout, he continues to focus on finding Tom, but doubt creeps in as he wonders why Tom really left the family home.
There are both vivid and highly believable animal and human characters in this emotional and exciting story.  Ross Montgomery’s storytelling skills keep the reader totally invested in their survival while learning much about resilience, bravery and the power of love and loyalty.



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