You might worry that an adventure tale of dolphins, featuring their intelligence and resourcefulness in overcoming the adversities of natural survival and ecological disaster, would feel anthropomorphically sentimental. Not so. The scientific research that Paull employs in her story raises it far above any such niceness, with a powerful moral message around environmental crisis.
The huge male surged up out of the water in front of Ea and fell so heavily that his splash drove everyone back. Ea reacted instantly to the terrifying attack, standing up on tail and instinctively clapping her little jaws in defence. Silence fell on the pod. Threatening the lord Ku meant the death penalty. And then: his harsh clacking laughter. Everyone followed.
Ea fell back down, her body aching from the stress of the pose she had never taken before, one that her body instinctively made as she thought she was about to die. All around her the sound of derision and anger pummelled her brain. As she turned around for a way of escape, she saw a group of females nearby - one of them so much bigger than the others at first Ea thought she was a male. This one was not laughing, but stared with hard intent. Wisely, Ea did not clap her jaws at that danger, though she felt it as distinctly as a tail slap.