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Nops Trials
Donald McCaig
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Nops Trials

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  495 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Here is the story of a family and two remarkable individuals -- Lewis Burkholder, a farmer in Virginia, and his young Border Collie, Nop. When the dog is stolen, Nop embarks on an ordeal of peril and hardship that he survives only through courage and love. The same qualities in Lewis enable him to search relentlessly for his sheep dog -- a search that takes him far from ho ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published March 7th 1984 by Random House Value Publishing (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 29, 2007 Smokinjbc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Required Reading for Border Collie Owners and pet lovers
I originally read this book soon after acquiring my first border collie. The book is about a young, tremendously talented sheepdog named Nop and his gruff owner, Lewis. When Nop isn't making a big impression on the trial field, he is Lewis' right hand dog when it comes to his sheep. On Christmas morning, Nop disappears and the book is about Lewis's quest to find his dog.

The book is fast moving and gut-wrenching, with beautiful descriptions of the work of these sheepdogs. Even the uninitated she
The Haunted Reading Room 2017 - Year of Lovecraft

A warm, endearing, close-to-life story of the lives of a Shenandoah Valley farmer, his wife, adult daughter, and especially hardworking Border Collies, Nop and Stink Dog. The latter once came too close to the livestock and was "stove-up," rendering it unfit for running and herding. But the two dogs unite in relating their interjected portions of this tale, against the author's narrative backdrop.

It's easy to understand how this book became an immediate classic, for its endearing story and valua
May 18, 2008 Candy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved Nop! You'll love him, too!
Mary Jane
This is a neat dog story. Nop is a border collie who is a working sheep dog and trial champion. He gets separated from his home/farm and the book tells of his adventures and his owner's search for him. The characters are interesting - both human and canine. Though it's not a gripping read, the pages keep turning. The last few chapters it gets to be "I HAVE to find out what happens!".

The writing wasn't amazing, but not terrible, either. I'd recommend the book to anyone who likes dogs.
Sandra Platt
Mar 14, 2009 Sandra Platt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly, I didn't like this book. I know it's about a dog, but there's terribe violence and I couldn't get very far. I get enough of that in my work.
Jan 04, 2008 Rochelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, animals
A must-read for any dog lover. And the best part is, there is a sequel!
Nov 24, 2016 Whistlinvaderr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second time reading this book, in print. I usually do Audio Books these dats. I didn't remember it all and thought I would. It was a page turner right from the start. I just love Nop and had to know what was happening with him. I have a red and white BC named Jack. He is an I tense companion, almost to the point of not being very companionable.
Christine Hilbrand
A very good book.
Lis Carey
Aug 29, 2014 Lis Carey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dogs, fiction
Nop is a young border collie, happily living the border collie life on a Virginia farm with livestock farmer Lewis Burkholder. On Christmas Day, Nop and a neighbor's dog are let out to play, and don't come back. They've been stolen, and Nop's life has undergone an alarming and disorienting change.

In alternating sections, we follow Nop's struggles to survive in a life much harsher than he has known till now, and Lewis Burkholder's search for his missing dog.

There's dog drama here, and the dogs ar
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May 01, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dogs, fiction, animals
Essentially, this story is to dogs what Black Beauty is to horses. The over-riding theme is that animal suffer much at the hands of humans. It would be unfair to say that it is JUST a Black Beauty copy but it's difficult to not see the parallel.

I did have two issues--one of the characters could best be described as "chaotic evil." Some of his actions make no sense. I get that people often do things against their own self-interest but this man's actions are downright random and you're expected t
Apr 02, 2014 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My aunt gave me this book many years ago when I was in middle school. I don't think she actually read it since (in my opinion) this book is highly inappropriate for children. It is full of foul language, animal abuse, and there are 3 sexual encounters (2 human and one between dogs- none are very graphic but still mature).

I'm honestly not sure why this book is such a treasure to so many people. I almost never stop reading a book once I've started, but this one was painful to finish. The story did
Mar 18, 2016 Mimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are lovely but hard to read (your heart will go out to the dog and your disgust will go out to the dognappers). I have always wanted to have a border collie but these books convinced me that these fabulous incredibly smart dogs (Trust me, smarter than you!) are not for folks who don't have things for them to do every day. If not, you'll see as I did, 10 little children rounded up at the local park and "guarded" by 2 border collies. Who could blame the dogs? The children had wandered from t ...more
Christie Bane
Sep 11, 2015 Christie Bane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's rare to find any person who has a great understanding of people and a great understanding of dogs. It is even more rare for that person to also be a great writer. But Donald McCaig can do it all -- "get" people and dogs, and tell a damn good story, so good I wanted to immediately go out and read everything he's ever written. This book is about Nop, a young border collie who belongs to Lewis Burkeholder. Lewis is a humble Virginia farmer, soft-spoken, man-of-few-words, guy who does the right ...more
Nov 10, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, dogs
This a beautiful book that will appeal not only to dog lovers but to general readers. While always well written, the plot of the novel sometimes falls into the standard lost-hero-dog narrative, as Nop endures one hardship and brutality after the other while waiting to be reunited with his owner. But the chapters that describe the work that men and dogs do together on a farm, and during a sheepdog trial, are simply remarkable. McCaig's descriptions of family and married life are also spot on. A g ...more
Nov 09, 2007 Brittany rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I really gave this book a shot. James Herriot liked it, so how bad could it be? Pretty bad, in my opinion. I have trouble with any book where the author attributes verbal speech to animals (and let's not even mention the sin of allowing hunting dogs to giggle). It has to be done with just the right touch (for example Watership Down). To be fair, I only was able to stick with this book for two chapters, before I got sick of the dogs talking to each other, and using "thou" rather than "you." It c ...more
Ms Sun
Jan 05, 2011 Ms Sun rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
is a good read, though starts out real s-l-o-w ... one has to really persevere if expects to complete the tale. author got many facts totally incorrect, which, to me, detracts a lot from the tale/ storyline ... at completion, one gathers that he wrote it when obviously dint know about how folks treat one another when living in the sticks nor much about dogs. (the edition that i perused, did not have the dogs talking to each other using "thou" ... so, don't know how folks got that impression) ... ...more
Sep 09, 2011 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: swapped-in
I'm a dog person so it was no surprise to me that I loved this book. I've always had a particular fondness of border collies as well, though I've never owned one. This story is about Nop and his owner, Lewis. The story centers around Nop's life after one fateful Christmas morning when he is stolen and Lewis' quest to get his dog and friend back. It's a touching story that reflects on the cruelty of humans, and the loyalty of dogs too well.
AE Michels
This is actually a fantasy novel, unless classic literature has suddenly started including dog POVs. :)

However, it's clever and a good read, if sickening from time to time--very painful for any animal lover. The doggie culture depicted is well thought out and reasonably logical, and the aspect of border collie herding as work and competition is wonderful to read, especially if one has seen either done.
Doug Graham
This book is pretty much strictly for dog lovers. The writing style seems choppy at times and the transitions from plot point to plot point seem like someone had their finger on the fast forward button on the dvr. There are several very, very disturbing parts of the book involving animal cruelty that might give you nightmares, so be forewarned But in spite of all that, I cried at the end. Happy tears. Silly me.
Oct 27, 2012 S.J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the best I've read as far as getting into the mind of a dog and keeping it real. As someone who can spend hours watching sheepdog trials, I loved this book for the insight it gave on training and the relationship between the dogs and their handlers. Lewis' and Nop's mutual friendship embodied the best of the contract we have with the dogs that chose to share our lives, and suspense kept me tense until the end.
Jun 26, 2011 Scottie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this long ago and totally enjoyed it. It led me to another book by McCaig; Nop's Hope which was also enjoyable. Then I sort of forgot about McCaig until a friend recommended Rhett Butler's People. What a surprise that the same author penned these three and many more books! I may go for his "Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men: Searching through Scotland for a Border Collie" in the future.
Sep 13, 2014 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animal-stories
Wow, this is exciting, a canine Perils of Pauline. If you like dog stories you don't set this one down until it's finished. I think I lent my copy to someone who never gave it back, 'cause otherwise I would have read it for a third time at some point in the last couple of years. Instead, I forgot all about it. Rem to self: make a new shelf for animal stories
Leslie Lamb
Nov 08, 2013 Leslie Lamb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't consider myself a dog lover, but this story is about a dog named Nop. Poor Nop was kidnapped from his farm home, and had a hard life to follow. Fights with other dogs, abuse from humans, lack of food. His bones were sticking out toward the end of the story. If anyone deserves a happy ending it's Nop. He's loyal and true. Will he ever find his original owner named Lewis?
May 15, 2013 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dogs
Heart breaking and heart warming, this story covers many, many emotions. This author LOVES dogs!
(I read this many years ago and shared it with my father, who at the time was in his late 70s. I had seen my dad read many, many newspapers and magazines but I think this was the first time I witnessed him reading a book he could not put down!)
Sep 08, 2008 Jodi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would rate the story at least three stars, but the style of writing bothered me. It was almost uneducated, probably done on purpose, and thoughts of the characters switched back and forth from one paragraph to the next so it was hard to know who's thoughts were who's!
If you love dogs you will probably enjoy it.
Jul 27, 2014 Ruthie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very well-written and shows a true understanding of how Border Collies function. But the happy ending could not make up for the traumatic experience which constituted the rest of the book. Shudder. Cannot in good conscience recommend.
Apr 08, 2013 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was not what I expected, so I was repeatedly shocked and read most of it in one evening. Bad things happen to Nop and other dogs. I needed a few tissues, but it's well written, a good read about a very good dog.
Frances Scott
Jun 09, 2012 Frances Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
An imaginative and enchanting tribute to the unflagging loyalty of the dog and the strength of the bond between the canine and the human who loves him. Wrenchingly sad in places, but ultimately triumphant. Everyone who has ever loved a dog (or wanted one) should read this book. Superb writing.
Christina Kionka
Great adventure book for dog lovers. It is a story of a border collie, his work with his human and, of course, the sheep. But, then, I am a sucker for any half-decent dog story. Much suspense and development of the characters, including the dog, Nop.
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Do you thinik that lewis searched for nops as good as he could have 1 1 Feb 15, 2012 11:05AM  
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Donald McCaig is the award-winning author of Jacob’s Ladder designated “the best civil war novel ever written” by The Virginia Quarterly. People magazine raved “Think Gone With the Wind, think Cold Mountain.” It won the Michael Sharra Award for Civil War Fiction and the Library of Virginia Award for Fiction.
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