The Oyster Thief, Sonia Faruqi

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (October 16, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1681777916
  • ISBN-13: 978-1681777917


Two worlds collide when a mermaid and human man meet, plunging readers into a vast underwater realm brimming with adventure and intrigue.

The mermaid’s scales were bronze, and they shimmered like hundreds of pennies arranged close together. Her immense blue-green eyes gave a look of fragility to her face, yet he found her eyes unsettling. She was leaning against a thirty-foot-long shark, which emerged from behind her and opened its mouth to reveal a great big cavern lined with hundreds of teeth―a black tunnel ready to swallow him.
Coralline is a mermaid who is engaged to the merman of her dreams. But when an oil spill wreaks havoc on her idyllic village life, her little brother falls gravely ill. Desperate to save him, she embarks on a quest to find a legendary elixir made of starlight.
Izar, a human man, is on the cusp of an invention that will enable him to mine the depths of the ocean. His discovery will soon make him the richest man on earth―while threatening merpeople with extinction. But then, suddenly, Izar finds himself transformed into a merman and caught in a web of betrayal and intrigue. Meeting Coralline in the ocean, he decides to join her on her quest for the elixir, hoping it will turn him human again.

The quest pushes Coralline and Izar together, even though their worlds are at odds. Their pasts threaten to tear them apart, while a growing attraction adds to the danger. Ultimately, each of them faces an impossible choice. Should Coralline leave her fiancé for a man who might betray her? And Izar has a dark secret of his own―one that could cause him to lose Coralline forever.

Magnificent and moving, set against a breathtaking ocean landscape, The Oyster Thief is a richly imagined odyssey destined to become a classic.

My Thoughts

As the story unfolds, Coralline is an apprentice apothecary. She returns home late from work and is about to nap when her mother rushes into her bedroom and reminds her that Ecklon is due to arrive. She's informed she must dress for supper in a new corset that matches her bronze scales.

Thereafter, we travel back in time to where Coralline recalls first meeting the handsome, merman, Ecklon. She does remember him reaching across the counter to brush back a strand of her hair. And, now 6 months later, he wishes to marry her.

Coralline does agree to marriage and shortly thereafter a tremor from a passing ship, Ocean Dominion, causes her parents home to vibrate and Coralline to nearly faint.

It is then that we learn that Izar, Vice President of Operations for Ocean Dominion, is obsessed with mining the depths of the ocean. This has caused many hardships, but even he couldn’t have conceived of his merman transformation.

While Izar focus is on transforming back to a human, Coralline is on a quest for the elixir to save her brother who is ill from the Black Poison. In the process, she plunges headfirst into a relationship with both mermen - but which will she choose?

In closing, Faruqi’s beautifully written story is a charming invite into marine biodiversity. The parallel between ecology and the environmental threats occurring is well-detailed. We see all habitats are confronted with challenges, which makes the character interaction, without doubt,  engaging.

I received a copy of this book from Deputy Publisher Jessica Case at Pegasus Books and via  Marketing Manager, Abeeda Poorna.

About the Author

Sonia Faruqi pushes the boundaries of imagination in her debut novel  The Oyster Thief, an underwater odyssey. She is also the author of critically acclaimed Project Animal Farm, about the world’s food system. A skilled storyteller and speaker, she lives in Toronto, Canada

See an article Faruqi wrote an article about ocean science and conservation in The Ecologist, a world-leading environmental affairs platform based in the UK. Take a look here.

If you’re in the mood for listening more than reading, you can have a listen to these two podcasts in which she chatted about the ocean, The Oyster Thief, and Rachel Carson: GSMC Book Review and Book Riot. 

The Oyster Thief is the first novel to feature an underwater civilization and themes of ocean conservation. The Globe and Mail chose The Oyster Thief as a top 100 book of 2018.

If you want a cardigan that will keep you warm this winter you might want to check out this one.

Sonia provided an update recently she and her publisher Pegasus Books are excited to offer a holiday giveaway of The Oyster Thief to subscribers of her newsletter and followers on Instagram. To enter, answer this question: What would you like most about being a mermaid or merman? You can enter the giveaway contest by tagging her on Instagram with your answer @Sonia_Faruqi or by emailing One winner will be chosen from among the entrants. The giveaway ends at midnight on Thurs, Dec 20 and is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Sonia states you can plunge into the world of merpeople by watching the video here