Moses, the revered patriarch of the Rathbone family, possessed an otherworldly instinct for spotting the whale. But years of bad decisions by the heirs to his fortune have whittled his formerly robust family down to just one surviving member: a young girl, left to live in the broken-down ancestral mansion that at one time had glowed golden with the spoils of the hunt.
Mercy, fifteen years old, is the diminutive scion of the Rathbone clan. Her father, the last in the dynasty of New England whalers, has been lost at sea for seven years-ever since the last sperm whale was seen off the coast of Naiwayonk, Connecticut. Mercy’s memories of her father and of the time before he left grow dimmer each day, and she spends most of her time in the attic hideaway of her reclusive Uncle Mordecai, who teaches her the secrets of Greek history and navigation through his collection of moldering books. But when a strange, violent visitor turns up one night on the widow’s walk, Mercy and Mordecai are forced to flee the house and set sail on a journey that will bring them deep into the haunted history of the Rathbone family.
Inspired by The Odyssey and infused with beautifully detailed descriptions of the realities of coastal and ship life reminiscent of Moby Dick, Janice Clark’s magnificent debut is a spellbinding literary adventure
This is a hauntingly gothic story about family, loss and finding one’s self. The book reminded me of the movie “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.” I could just see each chapter changing like sets on a stage.
Mercy is such a strong female lead that is well developed as a character. Likewise, each character is odd and creative. The mystery of the Rathbone family was definite page turner that got deeper and deeper.
The only issue I had with the book was the disturbing treatment of women in some parts. (and this is coming from an Outlander fan). After I read the book to try to find some historical basis however, my search couldn’t find any. For example, I couldn’t find anything about women being shanghai’d.