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The Whiteness of the Whale: A Novel Hardcover – April 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First American Edition edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250020565
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250020567
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,132,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In Poyer’s latest ocean-going adventure, a handful of activists intends to follow a Japanese whaling fleet into Antarctic waters to expose the whalers’ illegal activities. But as they pursue their prey, the activists aboard the Black Anemone face their own life-and-death challenges, including, as hinted by the title, a sperm whale that seems fixated on the Black Anemone. Poyer has created half-a-dozen unique and memorable characters, including a disgraced primate researcher; a self-important Hollywood star, who imagines herself an antiwhaling activist; a woman who was nearly killed by an orca; and a double-amputee Afghanistan War veteran. It’s the crew members who propel the story, the author exploring their hidden pasts, their personal agendas, and the relationships that spring up among them. Some readers might feel Poyer goes a bit far—the book takes a very dark turn about two-thirds of the way through that might stretch credibility a little—but the story is undeniably powerful. --David Pitt

Review

"Poyer's novel is an edge-of-your-seat drama that doesn't disappoint. The author paints his eco-thriller with lyrical and metaphorical prose, creating a beautiful portrait of life at high seas. The result is a fast-paced voyage with fully-realized characters, and a plot that offers twists and turns within each pulsing chapter. The author's fine attention to detail draws in the reader to vicariously feel 'the freezing mist' of the Antarctic....Icebergs in the blackness of night, combined with the threat of the hostile whaling fleet and life-or-death scenarios aboard the Black Anemone, make for a thrilling backdrop to Poyer's latest epic adventure." —The Detroit Examiner

"A riveting modern-day tale of high-seas Antarctic adventure...Poyer's intense, fast-paced prose creates palpable suspense." —Publishers Weekly
 
"Poyer's thriller takes fans on a frightening ride that will have them reaching for their Dramamine." —Kirkus Reviews
 
"The story is undeniably powerful." —Booklist
 
"Best read in one sitting." —Christianity Today

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Customer Reviews

A great story, lots of action and suspense and very well written.
James Hall
If you want to know what it's like to experience such a voyage without the danger and suffering of actually being there, read The Whiteness of the Whale.
Kathlena C
The style is a rare combination of dramatic action and often lyric literacy.
C. H. Gilliland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By michael alexander on April 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
First, the good: This is a great sea-faring tale, the dialogue is top-notch, realistic.
Now, the not-so-good: After about ten pages, you begin to realize the author is a show-off.
He wants to dazzle you with his knowledge of arcane words and ability to create poetic
images that do little to advance the story. After twenty pages, it gets annoying and starts to distract.
After thirty pages, it defeats the purpose, which is to make you forget you're reading a book and
enter the author's reality.
Now, I'm a pretty intelligent guy with a graduate degree. And if you know what these words
are, you can ignore what I'm saying: "reeved, cenobitic, spume, brachiopod." There are
many more. Also, if you don't mind reading with a dictionary next to you, to figure out what phrases
such as "festooning it in drooping catenaries" mean. The author never met a noun that didn't need an adjective or two
("olivine seas," "chilblained feet", etc etc)
But wait. There' more. Apparently he thinks his descriptions are still inadequate, so then he fills the pages with metaphors, way too many
that are needed. I don't need to know what it's like, you just told me.
OK, we get it. You can write really well. Now can you stop impressing everyone
and cut out half of the unnecessary fancy footwork?
If you don't mind that kind of distraction (or even find it somehow cool) the this is a five-star.
As for me, I really enjoyed the book - anyway.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. S. Brodsky on July 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, I am a huge follower of David Poyer, but mostly his modern Navy series. I thought this looked interesting but it just dragged on and on. It seems he emulated Melville and I never could finish Moby Dick. At times I just found myself saying "Enough of the prose David, just get on with it". He is a great storyteller so I do not know why this book was so tedious. In the end, I cannot recommend it; I just wanted the whale to kill them and end the book. Almost happened that way...
Larry
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zinta Aistars on October 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Yet again, I watched another news story on the evening news that matched almost exactly the story David Poyer tells in The Whiteness of the Whale. This may be a novel, but it is based on factual scenarios, happening all too often on the oceans. As in real life, the novel tells a story of activists in pursuit of a Japanese whaling fleet they've observed killing whales and processing the whales for meat. That has long been illegal for all but scientific research purposes, yet the Japanese still hunt and kill whale in the Antarctic waters, hiding behind the banner of "research."

The activists in pursuit are a motley crew. A primate behaviorist, a Hollywood movie star, a double-amputee Afghanistan war veteran, and others, each adding their own storyline and colorful personality as they sail together on the Black Anemone.

They are not the only ones in pursuit. After an altercation with the Japanese whaling fleet, described with unnerving detail that makes the suffering of the whales uncomfortably memorable, the Black Anemone picks up a castaway. More, they pick up a tail. At this point, the story takes on echoes of Moby Dick, as a whale turns on the boat and goes out of its way to destroy the ship and the crew.

Poyer writes from a base of experience. He has a 30-year sea career on which to base his many sea novels. That kind of first-hand knowledge adds all kinds of subtle layers of nuance that bring scene after scene alive, some terrifyingly so. There are sections of the book that, when read, leave what feels like an uncanny splash of seawater on the reader's face.

The activists don't always come off as heroes. They appear human. Characters show their weaknesses as well as their heroic moments.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An adventure with storms so vividly described that you can feel being on the boat and straining with all you have to survive Arctic cold, ice, and just missing being capsized. Character development that puts you standing close to each of the shipmates and ready to reply to their words and actions. A story with the twists of fate you expect from Poyer; you just can't predict the next events and certainly not the ending. As always, Poyer does his meticulous research. Latest scientific research on the cause of an animal or human going rogue, the nature of the enviroment threatening a sea going research vessel, the methods of the whale hunters, and of course the emotional relationships possible with a small crew. A good yarn!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. H. Gilliland on April 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Poyer takes his reader to the cold and dangerous seas of Antarctica in an inverse Moby-Dick. You don't have to
have read Melville's classic to get caught up in the action of this salt-water thriller, though if you have
you'll enjoy the differences. It's not a knock-off, it's a very original tale with ideas and images you won't forget.
The style is a rare combination of dramatic action and often lyric literacy. The setting is almost entirely at sea
in the sailboat crewed by Poyer's odd assortment of save-the-whale characters confronting harsh weather. I don't
think I've ever read a book with so many ways of describing rough sea conditions.
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