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It is 1996. Manu, a 19-year-old cowherd living on the slopes of Congo’s fiercest volcano, must flee from a complex war. Taken to Uganda by a hard-drinking Texan, he is offered a chance to join an anarchic group of mercenary pilots or ‘freight dogs’. Soon Manu is seeing his vast country from above and falling in love with flying – but trouble follows closely behind, no matter how fast he flies.
When the past erupts back into this life, Manu is forced to leave behind the African sky for the chilly embrace of northern Europe. Will Manu be able to reinvent himself again? Can he set down the freight which has weighed on his life for so long? And is Belgian volcanologist Anke Desseaux the answer to his problems or simply another one of them?


An amazing and profound work, rich in memorable detail.
Jay Parini
Audacious, shrewd and spirited
Every new novel by Giles Foden is something to celebrate - my hand leaps to the shelf.
Paul Theroux
Freight Dogs is an ambitious and intricate novel. Foden's understanding of the nature of war, and of this war in particular, is exemplary... Freight Dogs is also a fast-paced adventure yarn featuring battles, exploding volcanoes, buried secrets, a deathbed revelation, daredevil flying and an elusive love interest. In this Foden has cleverly reworked the grand African adventure novel epitomised by Rider Haggard and Wilbur Smith, or later, John le Carré's The Constant Gardener or Michael Crichton's Congo... This book is a testament to all those civilians, in Congo, Afghanistan, Syria, Colombia and elsewhere, whose lives have not so much been touched by violence as tossed round like flotsam on the waves of history and conflict.
Aminatta Forna, GUARDIAN
Sharp and fast-paced... Foden does a fine job of locating the reader in the maelstrom of this brutal period in Congo's past... he takes us deep into the heart of a complex conflict, showing how even the innocent can get caught up in acts of horrifying violence.
Alex Preston, OBSERVER
Underpinning and directing everything are ever-restless time and history, the biggest characters of all. At one point Manu "senses the rub of history, of past events [. . .] jointly seeking form, seeking a stable meaning". That's a pretty good description of what a novelist seeks too, and in Freight Dogs Foden makes a damned good job of it.
John Self, THE TIMES
Full-throttle adventure
Anthony Cummins, THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
A perceptive, compassionate history of an enormously complex conflict... compelling, vivid and surprising.
Kevin Power, IRISH TIMES
Foden is a brilliant voice and African observer.