Kemp, Christopher.

Journalist and biologist Christopher Kemp discovers a hidden world of money, intrigue and amazing wealth. Ambergris is a by-product of sperm whales, used for centuries as a perfume, medicine and aphrodisiac. It appears on beaches all over the world and depending on what state it’s in, can be mistaken for all manner of things. For those in the know, it’s an amazing source of wealth — ambergris trades for US$20 a gram, nearly the price of gold. Christopher Kemp travels from the shores of NZ, to the Smithsonian and New Nedford Whaling museum; he meets amateurs, professional hunters, scientists, elusive vendors who traffic ambergris, people who won’t confess to have found any, and strangers denying what they are looking for. As he discovers more about ambergris’ origins, its uses present day and historic, the outrageous lengths people have gone to find it and the intriguing efforts people go to in order to keep what they know about ambergris a secret, the more his infectious obsession grows.

SKU: 13446 Categories: , ,


Harper Collins, June 2012.  320 pages, paperback, colour and black and white photographs.

Additional information

Weight 330 g