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The Whiteness of the Whale

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  108 Ratings  ·  37 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
Aug 06, 2013 Chris Campion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 22, 2013 Stacy Bearse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
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.
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Oct 21, 2013 Zinta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another 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 hu
Eric Hatch
May 28, 2014 Eric Hatch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jul 27, 2013 S.E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
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
John Bastin
Jul 03, 2013 John Bastin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 08, 2013 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 30, 2013 Leanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jan 24, 2016 Cecilia rated it did not like it
This was on the "new fiction" shelf at the library and sounded interesting. It's not. It was filled with ultra-technical sailing and navy language and terminology that bored me beyond description. I scanned the last 100 pages to get to a predictable pointless conclusion. I would characterize it as a very lame "Moby Dick" wannabe!
David Rubin
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Doug McCoy
Apr 25, 2013 Doug McCoy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Peg Williams
Amazing read. You feel as if you are on the ship - feeling the freezing cold water and uncomfortable living situation - feeling the fear of the crew - it's as if you are immersed in the story. Great writing!
Jul 30, 2013 4estgrump rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 18, 2016 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, gripping storyline, but a bit much in the details on sailing and ships/boats. Found myself skimming over some of that, altho I do appreciate the details and how someone who's into sailing would like that.
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.
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...
May 15, 2015 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 06, 2014 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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..
Apr 16, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, THAT was interesting. The descriptions of sailing in these treacherous waters are fascinating...
May 23, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This. Book is what I would call the equivalent of a modern-day Mobie Dick. This story is full of action and adventure. The description is incredible.
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.
Lucy Woods
Apr 30, 2013 Lucy Woods rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficton
Excellant book, very interesting.
Daniel rated it really liked it
Sep 30, 2014
Sep 09, 2013 Pat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hard to believe, but exciting.
Nov 16, 2013 Nora rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps if I read Moby Dick I would have enjoyed this.
Kevin Burns
Kevin Burns rated it really liked it
Jul 23, 2013
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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...

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