cover image The Whiteness of the Whale

The Whiteness of the Whale

David Poyer. St. Martin’s Press, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-2500-2056-7

With an obvious nod to Herman Melville and Moby Dick, Poyer, whose many previous nautically themed novels include The Weapon, tells a riveting modern-day tale of high-seas Antarctic adventure. Fleeing professional disgrace, Dr. Sara Pollard joins the antiwhaling activists aboard the Black Anemone, a high-tech yacht owned by rich philanthropist Jules-Louis Vergeigne and sponsored by the Greenpeace-like Cetacean Protection League. The members of the crew, which includes hard-bitten Captain Dru Perrault and movie star Tehiyah Doree, come from different backgrounds and have varied motives, while Sara feels uncomfortable with their mission of harassing a Japanese whaling fleet in the vast Southern Ocean. The crew battles snow, ice, frigid temperatures, storms, and each other before encountering the whalers in the midst of slaughtering hundreds of whales. The appearance of a mysterious rogue whale, however, introduces an even more deadly hazard than the crew’s human enemies. Poyer’s intense, fast-paced prose creates palpable suspense as he vividly describes the miserable close quarters, the terrifying sea and weather conditions, and the gruesome, wasteful destruction of the sea’s largest mammals. (Apr.)