DRIFTWHISTLER: A Story of Daniel Au Fond by Tom Shachtman

DRIFTWHISTLER: A Story of Daniel Au Fond

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In the last of a trilogy, sea-lion Daniel au Fond achieves his heart's desires--gathering representatives of the 13 tribes of seagoing mammals, and finding Pacifica, where legend says his kind and humans once lived harmoniously together--only to discover that his quest has just begun. Constantly recalling his previous adventures (Beachmaster, 1988; Wavebender, 1990), Daniel evades oil slicks and other pollution; rescues some fellow sea mammals from captivity; and discovers, on the back of an ancient turtle, a map that leads him to a partly sunken island. In a vision, Daniel learns that his kind had once been captive even here, but freed themselves in a bloody long-ago rebellion; he then realizes that it's up to him to teach humans to respect all life. The author's indictment of our brutality to animals and of destructive environmental practices is on the mark, but the plot's a ritualistic mix of convenient turns and token conflict. The anthropomorphism of the various seals, sea otters, cetaceans, etc., further undercuts the immediacy of the message. Daniel's fans are likely to be disappointed by the vaguely articulated resolution. For a better-written, more compelling fantasy that considers the same themes, see Ruth Park's My Sister Sif (p. 675).

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
Page count: 146pp
Publisher: Henry Holt