March 8, 2012
Digging up Wageningen's soil secret
What? Blauw Goud (Blue Gold), a thriller by Wageningen alumnus Almar Otten
Why? In the bookshops from today
Tip from Johan Leenaars, soil scientist at ISRIC-World Soil Information
‘A son, Matt, inherits an unusual book after his mother's death: a mediaeval book full of striking blue illustrations. And this intense colour blue is at the heart of the story. Gradually Matt finds more and more evidence that his father - missing and presumed dead - must have known something about the secret of this unique shade of blue. The quest to track down his father, a Wageningen soil scientist, creates an interesting trail. Matt is assisted in his search by Lineke, a specialist in old manuscripts. And Matt is not the only person with an interest in his father, who seems to have known an awful lot about priceless minerals and where to find them. Whether the father is still alive remains a mystery for much of the book, and that maintains the tension. It ebbs away fast after that though. Blauw Goud is partly set in Wageningen. Almar Otten studied here and knows his stuff about soil science. The setting produces some familiar features: street names, titles of soil science readers, the new campus, the Vlaamsche Reus pub and its publican Karel. That is fun. A nice, well-written story. Keeps the reader on edge for a long time.'