Wednesday 21 December 2011

Book review : Dolphin Way : Rise of the Guardians - Mark Caney

If Sir David Attenborough ever turned his hand to writing a novel  this is exactly the sort of book he would come up with. Author Mark Caney, Vice-President of PADI’s Technical Diving Division and President of the European Underwater Federation, is first and foremost a diver and his intimate knowledge and understanding of the marine world is evident in his writing. He depicts, in intricate detail, the atmosphere and lifeforms beneath the waves so that you feel as though you have taken a crash course in deep-sea diving without ever leaving the comfort of your favourite armchair !

I wasn't instantly taken with the style of writing. If you imagine Watership Down with dolphins instead of rabbits, you'll get a vague idea of the concept. But as I turned the pages, I couldn't help but be won over by the tales of these highly intelligent, humanised dolphins and their different clans.

The book has all the makings of a great thriller - violence, gangs, terrorist factions, murder, deceit, an undercurrent of romance and an apocalyptic threat looming on the horizon - and I couldn't help but think that Mark Caney has a great career ahead of him as a crime writer, if he ever gets bored of the dolphins ! But it would be a shame to put aside the strong ecological message of the book. The unfathomable Walkers (that's us humans, although we sound a bit more sinister and alien-like from the dolphins' viewpoint) are creating all kinds of problems for the marine mammals and there is plenty of food for thought for the eco-conscious readers amongst us.

I could see this being watered down, sugar-coated and turned into a Disney Pixar movie but that would be a real shame as the strength lies in the powerful undercurrents of evil, mortality and ultimate scrifice that would never make it into a kid-friendly film. Whether or not you are a dolphin-lover, you will be fascinated by this glimpse into their world, even if it is at times hard to distinguish between the characters and remember which is which. I'll certainly be looking out for the second book, Captured, to see what happens next.

Forget Flipper - Mark Caney shows us a fascinating and sometimes surprising glimpse into the real world of dolphins and it's a lot more complex and at times chilling that you would imagine.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £12.99

Paperback: 260 pages

Publisher: AquaPress (4 July 2011)
Language English
ISBN-10: 1905492235
ISBN-13: 978-1905492237

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