Animal Heart by Brenda Peterson
A Novel

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“Brenda Peterson weaves a haunting love story into a fast-moving plot. Animal Heart is based on facts that are terrifyingly true, and it captures the exquisite beauty of a world that we are devastating and destroying, piece by piece. Please read it.”
--Jane Goodall, author of Reason for Hope

When an eerie mass stranding of whales and dolphins takes place along the mist-shrouded Oregon coast, forensic wildlife pathologist Isabel Spinner covertly investigates this disaster as a crime against wildlife. When Isabel connects with Marshall McGreggor, an undersea photographer, the two find themselves making surprising decisions – that will forever change their lives.

In her new environmental thriller, Peterson offers a captivating love story of people whose compassion for animals compels them into extraordinary acts of heroism. Based on cutting-edge science, this powerful page-turner is a haunting, highly original story of the deep bonds between humans and animals – and of our inevitably linked fates.

“One can hardly imagine a more heartfelt work or a more unusual love story than this one. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.” ~ Library Journal

“This is a galvanizing and enlightening tale thanks to Peterson's expert portrayal of animals, compassionate view of radical activism, and illuminating insights into our profound bonds with other species.” ~ Booklist

“[A] gripping tale about love, xenotransplantation and the military-industrial complex’s flagrant disregard for environmental responsibility. . .Peterson’s passion shines through.”
~ Publisher’s Weekly

“Strangely gratifying narratives….Novelist and memoirist Peterson is most comfortable in the precincts of natural history, where the book draws its passion . . .She writes with force and concision about poachers and the hugely destructive recklessness of military testing. Provocative in the best sense: it gets the reader mad enough to care.”
~ Kirkus Reviews

“Animal Heart is more than simply an "eco-novel"— it is human drama based on the integrity of individuals who recognize "cellular knowledge," what we intrinsically share with other species, as the compassion necessary toward our next evolutionary step as human beings.”
--Terry Tempest Williams, author Refuge and Leap

From the award-winning author of I Want To Be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth, which The Christian Science Monitor named as a “Top Ten Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year.”

About Brenda Peterson

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Brenda Peterson has written fifteen books for adults. She is the founder of the grassroots organization Seal Sitters ( This is her first children’s book. She lives in Seattle.Robin Lindsey has been a commercial photographer for over thirty years. Her photographs of harbor seals and pups have been published in Wildlife Conservation magazine and several Scholastic magazines. She lives in Seattle.
Published September 7, 2011 by Sierra Club Books. 292 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Animal Heart

Kirkus Reviews

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Though she can wear her learning like a wooden yoke (“ ‘Snow can’t melt on wolf’s fur,’ Isabel commented”), she writes with force and concision about poachers and the hugely destructive recklessness of military testing.

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Publishers Weekly

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Lacking a healthy human heart, doctors implant the heart of a baboon, forcing Marshall to come to terms with his status as xenotransplantation guinea pig as well as his sudden and disturbing dreams of being a baboon on a savanna.

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