Poyer’s thriller takes fans on a frightening ride that will have them reaching for their Dramamine.
Primate behaviorist Dr. Sara Pollard joins a small crew on the sailboat Black Anemone that plans to disrupt Japanese whaling in the Antarctic seas. Vessels called kill ships fire harpoons with exploding heads that leave their targets little chance of escape or survival. The hunters will not stop until there are no more whales to hunt, so Black Anemone sails from the tip of Argentina to points south with the promise: “We’re gonna do some good out there.” As they search for whales, they encounter turbulent waves, wind and icebergs—along with seemingly infinite solitude and unending sunlight. The stage is meticulously set before the first encounter with their adversary. Poyer describes sea and ice in gorgeous detail. Everything seems hostile and deadly, with one exciting scene after another, as when a Japanese crewman jumps (falls? is thrown?) overboard into the frigid water and will die without immediate help, or when a woman tries to help a harpooned sperm whale. That whale keeps trailing them, apparently bent on vengeance against humans. Through every threat, Pollard and crew must worry about their fuel supply and their ability to stay afloat. Can Black Anemone make landfall in Australia, 4,000 miles away?
Poyer spent a great deal of his life on the ocean, and it shows. This is a fine thriller.