After 30 rough years of adventure on the seas, Jake Thomas makes landfall in a new and quiet life in Oregon - only to discover that the past dies hard. The secrets he's kept, even from himself, won't stay buried. Forty years earlier, a beautiful, young woman was murdered during Jake's first voyage as a deck cadet on an American freighter. Her children, now grown, want answers only Jake can give. What really happened that terrible night? Did the wrong man go to jail?
Driven from his rural home for insulting the village priest, young Jake Thomas boards a freighter in New Orleans, entering the exotic world of a ship and the sea. As the vessel sails into the sultry Southern Hemisphere, Jake encounters bizarre characters and courageously faces danger but falters when the voyage turns into a spiritual and emotional odyssey.