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Full Name: Alison Shaw & John Clay
Nationality: American
Organization: None
Occupation Other - Marine Biologist

Creator: Michael C. Grumley
Time Span: 2013 - 2021


Alison Shaw is a marine biologist.

John Clay is a Commander in the U.S. Navy.

When these two individuals finally get thrown together they will go on to have a series of exciting adventures together, escapades which will have major impact to the world around them.

I should probably mention here Dirk and Sally. They have no last name that I am aware of and probably don't care since 'Dirk and Sally' are just what the humans call this pair of bottle-nosed dolphins; what they call themselves is also not known. They are mentioned here because the adventures mentioned above will involve them along with the humans Shaw and Clay.

We first meet Shaw at a marine research facility in Costa Rica. She is 25 years old at the time and about to get a whole lot older (well, madder anyways). Shaw's specialty deals with what she calls IMIS, or Inter Mammal Interpretive System; "IMIS works by recording all of the recognizable sounds from our dolphins; all of their clicks, whistles, even postures. Once all of those have been captured in multiple scenarios, [the researchers] then start the translation process using an advanced artificial intelligence program". As we meet her and the team she works with, they are on the cusp of a major breakthrough in communicating with the dolphins.

Our first meeting with Clay is as he is meeting with an Admiral in the hallway of the Pentagon's D ring, discussing an anomaly in sensor readings recently discovered. Clay lead a small group known as Electronics and Signaling (E&S), a sub-set of the Dept. of Naval Intelligence, a "specialty that very few understood, let along were interested in". Interestingly (for us if not for the brass) the main purpose for this group was learning "why a technology was not working, where the failure occurred and why". Clay is likely in his mid-40's based on his 22 years of service in the Navy after graduating college, a good deal of those years being part of the elite SEALs before his transition to E&S.

The investigation of the anomaly will take Clay to the facility where Shaw works. Their working relationship will be strained at the beginning, improved after working briefly together, and then get a whole lot worse when Shaw learns that someone took it all, "the servers, IMIS, and the dolphins". Who and why will become a major endeavor for the pair, the first of several increasingly interesting and vital adventures.


Number of Books:6
First Appearance:2013
Last Appearance:2021

1 Breakthrough Breakthrough
Written by Michael C. Grumley
Copyright: 2013

"Deep in the Caribbean Sea, a small group of marine biologists are quietly on the verge of making history. Alison Shaw and her team are preparing to translate the first two-way conversation with the planet's second smartest species. But the team discovers much more from their dolphins than they ever expected when a secret object is revealed on the ocean floor – one that was never supposed to be found. Alison must quickly piece together a dangerous puzzle, and the most frightening piece is located in the depths of Antarctica. Now time is running out... and our understanding of the world is about to change forever."
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2 Leap Leap
Written by Michael C. Grumley
Copyright: 2014

"Just one year ago Alison Shaw and her team of marine biologists stunned the world with an incredible breakthrough. And now, they're about to do it again.
But an ocean away, something strange is unfolding. Along a lonely coast in South America, an experimental Russian submarine, long thought to have been dismantled, has suddenly resurfaced. And the U.S. Navy has taken notice, sending officers John Clay and Steve Caesare to investigate. The sub has been studying a group of unmarked soldiers, disappearing into the jungle each night beneath the cover of darkness. Something has been discovered... something big. And it's about to fall into the wrong hands. Unless Alison Shaw and her team can find something that no one else can."
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3 Catalyst Catalyst
Written by Michael C. Grumley
Copyright: 2015

"In 1984 a doomsday vault was constructed on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean to preserve Earth's genetic history in the event of a global catastrophe.
Now, decades later, a second vault has been uncovered. This one resting where no one ever expected. And the problem is... it's not ours. Even more curious is the seeds inside the vault. Millions of seeds, each with a genetic embryo untouched and perfectly preserved. Waiting. No one knows who built it. Or when. Now a small group of marine biologists and navy investigators have been assigned to find out. Before anyone else does. But Alison Shaw and John Clay are not prepared for what they are about to uncover. Beginning with the truth behind our own evolution."
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4 Ripple Ripple
Written by Michael C. Grumley
Copyright: 2016

"Hundreds of thousands of years ago in Ethiopia, a handful of genetic mutations split the primates from man and humanity was born. Now, eons later, further splits from the apes are being unearthed. And with them, a disturbing realization. Our split was only one of many. And yet we survived because humans had something the others did not – a unique ingredient that has only now been rediscovered. First in the mountains of South America, where it was promptly destroyed by the Chinese. And now a second source in Africa. The epicenter of mankind's very inception. A place that John Clay and Alison Shaw must find quickly. Because the Russians already know what we are searching for. And the Chinese want back what is rightfully theirs. The mother of all secrets awaits the world, in Africa. One that will not only explain who we are, but will decipher the very code within our own DNA."
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5 Mosaic Mosaic
Written by Michael C. Grumley
Copyright: 2019

"The world is losing hope. Political and social infighting threaten to destroy the world. Rancor and hatred only grow stronger, engulfing entire nations. And each day moral and economic strife brings embroiled countries ever closer to war. But hope is not dead. Everywhere, pockets of honor and compassion continue to persevere. Where human lives are cherished and valor endures. And one small, extraordinary group fights to save us all. A team in possession of the mother of all secrets. The one secret – the one discovery – that could bring the world back from the brink."
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6 Echo Echo
Written by Michael C. Grumley
Copyright: 2021

"It began with a breakthrough. In interspecies communication. Leading both John Clay and Alison Shaw through a series of startling discoveries and life-altering revelations. Divulging who we really are as a species. Why we are here...and who is here with us. And the greatest lesson of all, that our brains are not as rare and unique as humans had assumed. But rather just one of three brains between three extraordinary species. All influenced by a fluke of evolution and something that should never have existed on Earth in the first place. Something we are now finally on the verge of understanding. It will take more than just one brain to do it. More than just one species. And courage from all three. Courage in the face of those still trying to stop Clay and Alison before their stranglehold on the world is lost. But Clay and his team already know the truth. That there is no courage without fear, and no victory without sacrifice."
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Being former Navy and very much into computers, I was interested in this series from the very beginning. Throw in a great love of dolphins and I was sure to find these adventures to my liking, which I did.

As I started to read the first book, I was initially thinking along the lines of the George C. Scott movie Day of the Dolphin. Great movie! This series is not like that movie but it is still damn good!

I really like both the main characters, Alison Shaw and John Clay. I knew when I finished the first book and wanted to know 'so what happens next' which caused me to start the next book immediately. That is always a good sign!

I must point out, if it is not obvious from the premise, that this series is far more sci-fi than spy-fi but there is far and away enough of the latter to qualify for membership in this compendium.


My Grade: A-


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