Review: The Delphinus Chronicles

The Delphinus Chronicles The Delphinus Chronicles by Richard G. Roane
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is of both the book and the audiobook. What happens when a computer becomes more powerful than it’s makers imagined? How does one deal with the fact that humans might not be the only highly intelligent being on Earth? What do you believe when startling evidence challenges everything you thought you knew about the history of humankind? The Delphinus Chronicles tackles these issues and more in this unabridged fictional book by R. G. Roane.

Ross Ericson, a professor, and his gang of graduate students receive a super-computer that has mastered language comprehension and has become an identity unto itself. “Simon” as it is named, quickly learns to communicate with both humans and dolphins. And by doing so, it opens up communication between the two intelligent species. Ross and the students soon discover that they are not alone and few things are what they appear to be. From here, the story progresses into learning about Earth’s true origins, Atlantis, cover-ups, sunken ships of gold, murder, mayhem, and visions of a new world.

The Delphinus Chronicles has a pulp-fiction quality to it. While it’s not high-end literature, it does provide one with about eight hours of suspenseful entertainment. But at times, it was a hard listen. With few memorable characters, weak dialogue, and poor villains, the book did not seem complete.

The story was narrated by Helen Brindle Lisanti and sound effects were added in addition to musical preludes to each chapter. The sound effects were not really consistent or rather; they were consistent with a few sounds such as a phone ringing, dolphins squeaking, or a dot matrix printing chewing away at paper. However, the listener is thrown off guard by the sporadic sound effects instead of being further propelled into the story. The sounds felt forced and unnatural. At times, the narrator even paused for a sound to be heard. At one point, a word was not even used. The book simply stated, “the printer made a [zzzzttt] noise” and in place of the word, they paused for a second and played the sound of a printer.

Helen Lisanti made a decent narrator for this book—except when it came to doing voices. Her reading of the text was smooth and easy to fall into step with but the voice changes for the characters proved to be troublesome. Her accents were fairly accurate, but most of her voices had faults or lacked quality as well as distinction. Determining the sex of the speaker also became a difficult task. Occasionally, a character’s voice (such as Juniper) sounded similar to a cassette voice half-eaten by tape deck rather than a deliberate older male with a gravelly voice, which is what I am assuming they were trying for. A dry read of the voices might have made the conversation easier to follow.

Available on cassette, CD, and even MP3-CD, makes this book very convenient to get ahold of—no matter your preference. Each chapter is preceded by a 20 to 40 second clip of music to further dramatize the book. On an interesting side note, the music was composed by an award winning eighteen year old. After the music played, the recording played silence for a five to ten second pause, which was long enough for one to wonder if the CD was still playing.

The storyline is a blend of “The Matrix” meets Michael Crichton meets Clive Cussler. And although it does not meet the quality of such works, The Delphinus Chronicles does keep you fairly entertained. While the quality fluctuates within the book, one must keep in mind that it is the first audiobook produced by Cherry Hill Publishing. Consider their first audiobook a diamond in the rough, and hope their next production will be a bit more polished.

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