And the Ocean Was Our Sky

By Patrick Ness

Illustrated by Rovina Cai

From the multi-award-winning author of A Monster Calls comes a haunting tale of power and obsession that turns the story of Moby Dick upside down.

"Mind-bendingly brilliant and fearlessly strange." – Frances Hardinge "A haunting, lyrical fable." – The Bookseller "Awe-inspiring." – The Times, Children's Book of the Week The whales of Bathsheba's pod live for the hunt. Led by the formidable Captain Alexandra, they fight a never-ending war against men. Then the whales attack a man ship, and instead of easy prey they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself... With their relentless Captain leading the chase, they embark on the final hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of whales and men.

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 10+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781406385861
  • Published: 05 Sep 2019
  • Price: £9.99
  • Size: 245 x 170 mm
  • Pages: 160

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Customer reviews


'Ness explores war, power and obsession in a haunting, lyrical fable that reimagines the story of Moby Dick from the perspective of the whales.' The Bookseller

'“a haunting reimagining […] Exquisite art from Cai.”' The Bookseller, Children’s Previews

'Ness’s imagination is often awe-inspiring; he goes to places no whale has gone before and is never short of a deep thought. This is not just a story about hunting whales, it’s a comment on the futility of war, and the myths that we create and use as excuses for our actions.' The Times, Children's Book of the Week

'“With gorgeous, eerie illustrations threaded through the narrative and enhancing the haunting lyricism and prose, this is a beautiful and deeply strange book that tips your perspective upside-down and pitches you head-first into the cold heights of the oceans.”' The Scotsman

'“Beautiful illustrations make this hardback a special gift and would suit teens who are after something thought-provoking and a little bit different.”' Country Life

'“Rovina Cai's darkly powerful and shadowy illustrations shot through with blood-red (her sharks are particularly terrifying), do help you get a grip on the whales’ underwater civilisation.”' Women’s Way

'“Patrick Ness's story echoes many of the recurring themes of his previous novels, such as death, loss, and difficult choices, which help to propel the fast-paced story. Highly recommended.”' Church Times

'“It’s hauntingly illustrated by Rovina Cai, whose dark, shadowy images convey both the murkiness of the deep and the bulk of these monumental creatures.”' Glasgow Herald

'“His compelling fable of fear, power and obsession pulls you along like a Nantucket sleigh ride. Clever, clever stuff.”' The Irish Independent

'“Quite literally beautiful, with the stunning illustrations which enfold and illuminate the strangest story you will read this year … I found myself unable to stop thinking about this novel for many days. Not to be missed.”' The School Librarian

'“Rovina Cai’s illustrations beautifully capture Bathsheba's underwater world with its grey hues and stack red of blood flowing through the water. Her illustrations brilliantly challenge our conventional assumption of ships sailing on top of the water, particularly when Bathsheba travels to the margins of ocean’s surface and we have to literally flip our human perspective. And The Ocean Was Our Sky is a literary and artistic masterpiece.”' Armadillo

'“This is a fast paced and interesting book which compliments Melville's source material but presents something wholly original and interesting. More like A Monster Calls than any of Ness's more recent work, but still its own beast.”' Teaching English

'“[…] readers will be enthralled by this fearless and strange story.”' Young Post

'A tale of oceanic strangeness, deep enough for any imagination.' Shaun Tan

'Featured in the East Anglian Daily Times’ ‘Top 10 books to last the summer holidays’.' East Anglian Daily Times

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