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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Treasure of the Blue Whale is a literary fiction novel written by Steven Mayfield. The odds were just about incalculable that the effluent spat out by a whale as it sought to escape the harpoons of Japanese whalers and honed down into its purest form, ambergris, should somehow become embedded in a toxic shipboard melange of sewage, oil and lard cast off by the officers of a ship known as the Blue Whale, but that seemed to be exactly what had happened. The officers had hoped their canvas-wrapped fetid mass would politely sink beneath the waves, but, of course, it stubbornly chose to float instead. The ambergris, which had attained the shape and hardness of a white dinosaur egg, was embedded in the stinky mass, which then floated towards the coastal town of Tesoro, California. Lighthouse keeper Angus MacCallum and young Connor O’Halloran raced madly to see who would reach the oddly shaped floating treasure that edged ever closer to shore.
Steven Mayfield’s Treasure of the Blue Whale reads like a tall tale set in the not-so-distant past and is ably narrated by Connor, who is now in his 90s. At the time of the great ambergris discovery, Connor was ten, and the impact of his discovery, and his decision what to with the wealth from his find, provides the perfect backdrop for a coming of age tale. Mayfield’s plot is original and compelling, and his characters loom larger than life while still retaining full authenticity and scope. I especially loved the Northern California coastal setting the author selected for his story; the shore and coastal climate resonate beautifully throughout this marvelous and unique story. Treasure of the Blue Whale is most highly recommended.