The Return of Moby Dick

Original title: Le retour de Moby Dick

Publication Date:

September 2017



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

China (Hachette Phoenix)
Spanish (World) (offer received)


Animals & Nature

The Return of Moby Dick

Original title: Le retour de Moby Dick


(Mondes Sauvages)

What toothed whales have to teach us about oceans and humankind

For the first time in the world, a team of scientists and filmmakers set out on a five year observation project of a toothed whale pod off the coast of Ile Maurice. The divers managed to form a bond with the pod and understand their group relations. They observed the development of the young to adolescence and watched their personalities develop.

This book does not wallow in specialist waters but is accessible for all. It is the tale of adventure and journey into the world of the toothed whale. Its style is lively; the prose is full of fascinating anecdotes, providing essential keys to understanding the  ocean’s greatest carnivore and highlighting its incredible physiological and cognitive capacities. The author reveals the secrets of a matriarchal society and a culture much more sophisticated than Herman Melville portrayed. The altruism, language abilities, culture, capacity for reflection of the whale is on a par with primates and questions the relationship between man and animal.

The book shares sound recordings and videos via QR codes in the text available on the Internet site of the Longitude 181 association enabling readers to follow the current state of research in real time.

François Sarano is a doctor in oceanography, a professional diver, the expedition leader of le Calypso project, research director of the Deep Ocean Odyssey research program and cofounder of the Longitude 181 association. He was scientific consultant for Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud’s movie, Oceans. He has written a number of books about whales and the ocean, including Réflexions sur 40 ans d’observations sous-marines (Gap edition, 2011), Cherche et trouve Océans (Seuil jeunesse, avril 2007), Océans. Un film de Jacques Perrin et Jacques Cluzaud (Le Seuil, 2009).

Marketing Information

  • Winner of the Prix Jacques Lacroix de l’Académie française

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