Friday, April 17, 2009


By Alicia Doyle

A Western on the high seas that combines the intrigue, technology and politics of whaling is the crux of a debut novel co-written by a local freelance writer and an entertainment attorney in Beverly Hills who attended USC film school together.

Listed on Amazon’s Top 20 Hot New Releases in its genre, “Save the Whales Please” is about a firebrand first lady, a notorious whaling pirate and their unthinkable partnership that launches an epic high-tech, high-seas rescue: a whale drive from the Arctic to the Antarctic of the last 1,872 blues, according to author Konrad Karl Gatien and an Agoura writer who goes solely by the name Sreescanda.

“From the outset of our writing partnership, we committed ourselves to seek out settings and issues that are unique, unusual and rarely visited,” said Sreescanda, who has been writing with Gatien, a resident of the San Fernando Valley, since they graduated in 1992 from USC.

“Concerned with what appears to be the looming extinction of one of the last great peaceful creatures on the planet, we set out to expose the plight of whales and bring it to the public eye. In doing so, we also wanted to open the door to the world’s biggest, most exploited, yet least known resource — the oceans.”

Published by Kunati, the book garnered positive feedback in the April issue of Foreword, which called it “a movie between book covers” with “amazingly realistic politics and technology that will inspire both green fanatics and conspiracy theorists to take action.”

The story unfolds with a world-famous U.S. first lady — an “ecoterrorist” determined to stop the overhunting of whales.

She leads a daring plan to drive a stranded herd of blue whales from the Arctic all the way to the Antarctic, pursued the whole way by Japanese whalers.

Meanwhile, her husband, the president, has promised the whalers the blues in a backroom deal meant to win him a second term in office.

On board a hijacked whaling factory ship, the first lady defies her husband and, with the help of the ship’s captain — until recently a whaling pirate — she confronts the Japanese fleet and threatens to sink it.

“The plot is a case of fact following fiction because it envisages the exact scenario that recent headlines have been playing out: a looming threat of a return to commercial whaling by Japan,” said Sreescanda, further emphasizing that the book is not for the faint of heart. “Whaling is big business and a pressure point in global politics and finance. Fact intersects fiction for an eye-opening journey into a pitiless world of unnecessary savagery.”

The book is suddenly current and topical, Gatien said. “The novel is now a case of fiction following fact: Our plot line of a secret deal between the U.S. and Japan turned real with the Whalergate expose earlier this year,” he said. “This real-life backroom deal would allow Japan to kill more whales for reduced hunts in the Antarctic. The return to commercial whaling, envisaged in the novel, is now frighteningly close to becoming reality as early as this summer.”

From global warming to deforestation to saving endangered species, green issues are constantly marginalized, Sreescanda said. “We wanted to mainstream the message and educate readers of the politics, economics and other factors that continue to allow more whales to be killed today than ever before.”

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