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The Whiteness of the Whale

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  90 ratings  ·  30 reviews
An antiwhaling expedition to the freezing Antarctic takes a violent turn in this powerful novel from bestselling author and sailor David Poyer.

After a tragic accident maims her laboratory assistant, Dr. Sara Pollard’s career as a primate behaviorist lies in ruins. With nothing left to lose, Pollard – descendant of a Nantucket captain whose ship was sunk by a rogue whale
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by St. Martin's Press
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Chris Campion
An interestingly modern retelling of Melville's Moby Dick. The setting is an antiwhaling expedition (think Whale Wars) in which the crew fights a Japanese whaling fleet. However, the odds are eventually not in their favor, and tragedy strikes hard. On top of everything, there's a gigantic white sperm whale that begins to pursue their boat. The rest is up to you ... But I highly recommend this book. In fact, I highly recommend all his books.

Poyer's writing is second-to-none. He's able to endlessl
Stacy Bearse
A terrific nautical saga about an 80-ft. sailboat navigating the trecherous waters of the Antarctic. The crew is a blend of salt and scientist. Their mission: to shut down Japanese whaling operations. The parallel with television's Whale Wars is obvious; indeed, WW's Sea Shepherds are referenced in the book. The story is told through the eyes of a female scientist which, I regret to say, introduces a Peyton Place storyline (who's lusting for/sleeping with whom). However, the shipboard shenanigan ...more
Eric Hatch
A rich and horrifying tale of human folly and divine indifference

I happen to be a life-long sailor (though with limited blue water experience) with an ancient doctorate in American and English fiction from U.Va … I’ve published a bit on Conrad, and am in general an afficionado of tales of the sea. I’ve read all of Patrick O’brian (most twice), and I’ve read the available literature on the Essex and the horrid consequences THAT entailed. I've read (and conversed) with the late Tristan Jones (auth
MyACPL Athens County Public Libraries
from James:

It's probably not fair of me to review this book since I only made it to page 2. Precisely, I made it to this passage: "His grip closed on hers strong as any human grip she'd ever felt. Rough as old leather, hard as rusted iron. She shivered at the memory it evoked of another hand, even more powerful."

So, which was it? As strong as any she'd ever felt or weaker than the one she remembers? I hate this kind of writing.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

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 hu
I selected this book initially because it fit the criteria for the winter reading program in our county, once I got into it I couldn't put it down! The writing is so full of imagery that I sometimes felt the wet chill and had empathy for the characters - including the whales, of course...
John Bastin
This is an engrossing tale about a group of environmentalists who take on the task of contesting and obstructing Japanese whalers who were (are) illegally killing whales by the hundreds in the Southern Ocean, near Antarctica. There are detailed descriptions of the actual difficulties, many and hazardous, of just sailing a small boat in that part of the world, let alone fighting with whaling vessels many times the size and strength of your vessel.

The characters in this story literally risk their
This novel comes across like a Moby Dick for our times. What! Compare a contemporary novelist to the literary god Melville. All I know is that when I read him I cared and feared for the agendas of everyone on the ship, tasted the salt in the tears and in the air, and didn't want the pages to end. Same here in this masterful tale of an ANTI-whaling vessel heading to Antarctica. For Dr. Pollard its a last effort to resurrect her career and in some strange way avenge the death of a Nantucket sea ca ...more
This was my first David Poyer novel, but I'd definitely be interested in reading more of his work. It reminded me in some ways of early Michael Crichton, the way in which he weaves science and the details of running a specialized sailing vessel with all of the traditional elements of a thriller. Although the book alludes frequently to Moby Dick, and some of the plot developments parallel that story, it's not necessary to be aware of Melville to enjoy the story. The setting and subject matter fel ...more
I could not put this book down after about the first half, first half ok, but second half very intense...kept me up at night..
A great armchair adventure. Hard to put down.
Cindy Christiansen
This book moved along very slowly for me. The plot focused on a group of people on a boat headed for the Antarctic to stop the Japanese from killing whales. All of the characters had slightly different motivations for being on board. This caused the plot to waver around a bit, and the author spent lots of time describing the horrific conditions on board the boat. Those were the two primary reasons for my rating of this book.
I've read David Poyer on and off for years for his adventure and Navy stories. This was completely different. A story of a small ship and its crew trying to stop the whaling practices of the Japanese. The characters were interesting but not fully developed. The plot was full of action. The book surprised me with its darkness and the ending completely took me by surprise. Not a neat and tidy ending.
David Rubin
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Doug McCoy
Crichton, Stephen King, Moby Dick, and Titanic all wrapped up in a tidy 320 page package. I served with the author on a USNR cruise once and he has no modern day equal in Naval fiction. His attention to detail really shows through here...great stuff!
Mike Pedersen
3 stars may be a little generous. i loved the descriptions of the voyage, the ocean, the cold and wind, and the immensity of it all. that being said, the characters were caricatures - too far removed from reality to be really believable.
If you're looking for an action-filled literary read, this is for you. Poyer's descriptions are poetic and beautiful. I loved that just when I thought I was at the climax of the book, something else happened.
I have yet to read anything my David Poyer that has disappointed me. The characters are imperfect, yet interesting. I will admit that this is a 'dark' story. Definitely not going to be turned into a Disney movie.
Maggie Reynolds hart
A modern version of Moby Dick based on a group of behavioral/neuroscientists on a mission to stop the Japanese slaughtering of humpback whales. Good book.
Well, THAT was interesting. The descriptions of sailing in these treacherous waters are fascinating...
descriptive writing. felt like I was in the storm.
One several of my favorite authors
I liked it in some ways and didn't in others. I can see it as a plane read.
Unlike any book I have read since Moby Dick....loved the adventure..
Perhaps if I read Moby Dick I would have enjoyed this.
Hard to believe, but exciting.
Lucy Woods
Excellant book, very interesting.
One of the best books I have ever read.
Interesting but too depressing for me
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Aka D.C. Poyer.

DAVID CHARLES POYER was born in DuBois, PA in 1949. He grew up in Brockway, Emlenton, and Bradford, in western Pennsylvania, and graduated from Bradford Area High School in 1967. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1971, and later received a master's degree from George Washington University.

Poyer's active and reserve naval service included sea duty in the Atlan
More about David Poyer...
The Med (Dan Lenson, #1) The Circle (Dan Lenson, #3) The Gulf (Dan Lenson, #2) Tomahawk (Dan Lenson, #5) The Passage (Dan Lenson, #4)

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