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The Dolphins of Oceanus - Book Review

Updated on February 26, 2016
Photo Taken by Arnaud 25
Photo Taken by Arnaud 25

By John Hoopes

I suppose if this novel gets widely read (and I suspect it will), its popularity will probably be explained by its being a good mystery, with interesting and memorable characters, taking place in a nearby world we thought we knew, but which we find we didn’t know at all. So it’s mysterious and exotic and surprising, enough reason to explain a popular novel. But all of these things will overlook the main point I have to make about the appeal and the importance of this unusual novel, The Dolphins of Oceanus by John Hoopes.

That probably half the reason most people are interested in and involve themselves with dolphins is because of the playful and intelligent beauty of these beings that is apparent to all who take the time to look. The other half of the reason is probably because we are aware of their danger from man, and we have a strong wish to protect them. However, our means are limited, the opposition obstinate, and we protectors must resort to old style protesting; must write angry or informative letters to people who might help; join organizations who are trying to help; stand up on a street corner and yell; make posters; try to inform a skeptical public that dolphins are worth special consideration.

I applaud all those efforts; regret only that they do not make a greater impact. By which I mean the kind of impact that artist’s can make when their art reveals to us something unexpected, something that will suddenly, radically change the picture in the mind of this skeptical public. Which brings me back to this new novel.


As I read The Dolphins of Oceanus and I went deeper and deeper into the story of this boy’s amazing transformation to a dolphin, of his adapting to life in his dolphin body and life in the colony—in no time I had become an undersea creature myself. I lived in the ocean. Even more, the drama of their lives became real to me as I swam among them. Lirias’ torment in the grip of his madness, his desperation; Nania’s struggle to remain visionary but still be true to the colony; the sudden fear in everyone when Talella approaches.

When I finished reading this book, after having spent so many hours in their company, I realized that I would never see dolphins and whales again in the same way. And probably anyone who reads this book will feel the same way. It was so real. I was there. Unforgettable. It’s a great story, lots of suspense and surprises, all of it underwater; and it not only draws you instantly in, it gives you a new picture of that world…and it changes your mind about that world. There are friends down there you never knew you had. And you, navigating all the way, right along beside them. Wonder of wonders.

Ultimately, not only have you been swimming among dolphins all the hours it took you to read this book, and you have lived their lives, have seen inside them—but most of all, another transformation has occurred: along the way you became a dolphin.

Good artists can do that to you.

So now I’m back to the point of all this, which is, satisfying our urge to protect our fellow-traveler friends and darlings of the sea. And in my own humble opinion, this vivid, fascinating dramatization that is The Dolphins of Oceanus is a very powerful tool that will convince people, the artist’s way, will make them see this whole thing in a new way; and that will change their minds.

This throughout history has been what artists do, they change public opinion; and sometimes faster and more dramatically than most of the other conventional ways people use to change public opinion. This novel, if widely circulated, will do that.

Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. Tell a friend. Pass it on. And on. Available now at Or visit the author’s web site at , where you can also read several chapters free.



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  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for pointing out such afantastic and fascinating story.