To Follow Elephants


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On his 18th birthday, young American Owen Dorner travels to Africa to meet his father for the first time. Plunged into the corrupt underworld of Colonel Mubego, a conniving prison warden and former revolutionary fighter, Owen seeks friendship amongst unlikely allies and finds meaning in the world of elephants.

Biologist Wanjeri Mubego, the colonel’s niece who is happier among the wildlife in her native Kenya than with people, helps Owen discover the truth about his father, Karl. A U.S. Army captain, Karl Dorner has lived in a dusty African prison cell since Owen was a small boy. Could Karl, accused of helping a local rebellion, be a hero, and not a traitor?

Karl isn’t telling.

But when Karl escapes from prison, Wanjeri helps Owen find the truth about his father—and unveils her own family’s secrets—as a young elephant learns the ways of the world from his herd’s matriarch. In a moving portrayal of elephant civilization, parallel tales of intrigue and survival unfold, masterfully enriching our understanding of what it means to be human.

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Book Reviews

To Follow Elephants is a remarkable and stirring tale full of strong characters, both human and animal. The thread of the story explores a young man growing up and facing his fears, his family relationships, and the lessons he learns from his mother, father, and the elephants. It could not be more heart warming or better told. The setting in east Africa is well described with good biology. The elephants, especially First Grandmother and the young one, are central to the parable and anticipate the lessons learned by the humans. The author, Rick Hodges, obviously loves elephants and weaves a strong story about the similarities of human and animal truths.’—Joslin, Amazon Reader

From the very first pages I loved First Grandmother imparting her wisdom to the young elephants. It was incredible to see this virtual fable become a vital and integral part of the story … Along the way you are treated to the sights, sounds and people of Kenya, so masterfully described you can see, hear and smell them. This is a tale of heroes, both animal and human, and of their struggle to understand and survive the tragic events in their lives.’—Gloria Loudermilk, Amazon Reader

This was a book club selection. With the demands of my job, I am less than successful on finishing our books. Not this one! I read it cover to cover in one day.’—Diane, Amazon Reader

As I sat on my couch and read, my senses came alive as I traveled, alongside each character, between the diverse worlds of America, Africa, London and the sacred lands of the elephant’s ancestors. … I found myself moved to tears as I stepped into the role of mother and grandmother; became protective as I watched the young adults navigate the complex world around them; and angry—yet strangely hopeful—experiencing the politics and social manipulation that provided the “backdrop” in the story.’—Patrick Jarosz, Amazon Reader

Wow! This novel drops your right into the elephant world in Africa – from the first page, where the elephant matriarch is teaching a young one about the elephant’ “religion” and then straight to the human characters who seek their guidance in their own quests. It welds a thriller with political intrigue to a deeply touching animal story.’—Rebecca, Amazon Reader

This tightly woven tale transports you to the sights and sounds of Africa. You actually feel like you are there, experiencing what the characters are seeing and doing. A very enjoyable read!’—Margaret Masters, Amazon Reader



To Follow Elephant‘s Rick Hodges wins Silver in the coveted 2019 Nautilus Awards Small Publisher Category. The Nautilus Awards celebrate and honour books that support conscious living & green values, high-level wellness, positive social change & social justice, and spiritual growth.


Rick Hodges is a writer and author whose written works are as diverse as his life experiences. Rick has enjoyed a 30-year professional writing career that includes his novel, numerous non-fiction magazine features, short stories, speeches, fundraising copy, a stage play and a non-fiction educational book.

Book Details

Author: Rick Hodges
Release date: March 1, 2019
RRP: AU$29.99 (pbk), 9.99 (ebk)
Territory: English language market
Format: Paperback and eBook
Size: 203 x 128 mm
Pages: 356
ISBNs: 978-1-925856-13-2 (pbk), 978-1-925856-14-9 (ebk)