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Caturday Reads - Sirius takes Hollywood and Germany by Storm

Sirius: The Little Dog Who Almost Changed History

Jonathan Crown


Literary Fiction, Animals, Historical Fiction

Pub Date 16 October 2016


Sirius is an extremely moving novel. It takes a great historical tragedy, one of the low points in human history, and presents it from a dog’s point of view. But the novel also does far more than that. It shows a family’s perseverance through adversity, hope for the future, and ultimately the triumph of the human (and canine) spirit. Some may complain that many of Sirius’s actions are absurd like communicating secrets to the resistance by playing the piano. The reality is that these points are uplifting, enabling the reader to smile and laugh despite tears. It is part of the essential transformative nature of film. Sirius reads like a film from the Golden Age of Hollywood -a grand adventure with a perfect ending.

Sirius starts out as an ordinary dog, part of a loving Jewish family. With the coming of Hitler, the Liliencrons are forced to flee Germany and make a new life for themselves in Hollywood. Sirius surprises everyone by becoming a star, his intelligence and empathy making him a beloved film icon. A startling series of events lands Sirius back in Germany fated to play an important role in the struggling resistance movement. So much depends on the pluck, courage, and creativity of one little dog - one little dog with a magnificent spirit. Amidst the inhumanity of Hitler’s regime, Sirius shows readers what it truly means to be human.

Sirius is a magnificent novel with an unforgettable hero. The Hollywood history and gossip add humor and light. ( I had to smile at the assertion that but for Sirius’s other commitments, he would have played a central role in Casablanca. ) Yes, much of his adventures are hard to believe - but that is ok. Readers like film viewers are invited to relax and suspend their disbelief, to let the book/film take them on a magical journey. I highly recommend Sirius to anyone who loves animals, is interested in the Golden Age of Hollywood, or enjoys historical fiction.


I received a copy of Sirius from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



A highly original, tragicomic novel as seen through Sirius, an extraordinary dog who helps his Jewish family escape from Germany to California, becomes a Hollywood star, and ultimately contributes to Hitler’s downfall.

Levi, a fox terrier, lives with his family in a grand townhouse in Berlin. Each day he enjoys a walk through the neighborhood, where people greet him by name. But the year is 1938, and Berlin is no longer safe for Levi or the Liliencrons, his Jewish owners. They rename him Sirius, after the constellation, to protect him.

One night, Nazi troops storm the city and begin to search houses. Sirius alerts the family, and they manage to flee to California. In his new home, Carl Liliencron becomes a chauffeur and Sirius befriends everyone from Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant to Rita Hayworth and Jack Warner. He is renamed Hercules and becomes a canine movie star. Little does Sirius know that he’ll soon have to perform his most difficult acting role yet, when through a series of exceptional events as World War II unfolds, he winds up at the right hand of Hitler himself. Can Sirius help the German resistance, derail the Führer, and reunite with his family? Or is the cost of peace too high?

With charisma, heart, and delightfully spry prose, Sirius is an enchanting fairy tale about love and humanity and a roving exploration of a momentous historical moment. Like My Dog Skip and The Artist, this feel-good novel will make you stand up and cheer.

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