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Janice Clark
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The Rathbones

Janice Clark.
Publisher Doubleday  
Format hardcover
ISBN 9780385536936
Pages/Publication Date 370/2013
Daedalus Item Code 39037
List Price: $26.95
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A gothic literary adventure set in 19th-century New England, this haunting debut resonates with echoes of Homer, Poe, and Melville as it chronicles a hundred years in a once prosperous whaling family, as told by its last surviving member. Mercy Rathbone, 15 years old, is the diminutive scion of the Rathbone clan. Her father, the last of the Rathbone boys, has been lost at sea for seven years, and as her memories of him grow dimmer, Mercy spends her days in the attic hideaway of her reclusive uncle Mordecai, who teaches her Greek history and nautical navigation through his collection of specimens and moldering books. But a violent stranger invades Mercy's lonely sanctuary, forcing her and her uncle to embark on an island-hopping odyssey to discover family secrets and the mysterious hunting grounds of the great sperm whales, and perhaps to find Mercy's father.

"Full of longing and desire, The Rathbones is a wonder. Janice Clark has written a new chapter of American myth and family legend, an epic tale of adventure—of men who go off to sea and the women who wait for them until they can wait no longer. Mercy Rathbone ... is a brilliant creation, who will haunt your memory long after you turn the final page."—Keith Donohue

"Mercy's travels alternate with flashbacks depicting her ancestors, beginning in 1761, with Moses, the first Rathbone, who had the gift of spotting a whale before any sign of it was visible. Clark creates evocative descriptions (a whale's carcass is a 'diminished hulk of patched black and rotted gray'), making her images and encounters between people especially vivid."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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