Eleven years ago Professor Dr. Hayden Parrish vanished without a trace during a cruise near the Caribbean island of St. Christopher. Did he somehow fall off the ship? Was he pushed? Did he commit suicide? Or might rumors be true that he faked his disappearance in order to start a new life?
And what about the loved ones the professor left behind, forced to live in a state of limbo, constantly wondering? One of these is Parrish’s now-twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Mallory, who travels to the island to seek answers and finds that each question she asks provokes more questions: Did her father conceal secrets about his youth? Who is Joanna Horne, the fellow cruise passenger who claimed to have had more than a passing acquaintance with Dr. Parrish? And why does the woman conjure up feelings of darkness in Mallory?
Mallory, while facing hostile encounters and unexpected dangers, discovers strength she never knew she had. Thrust into an exotic locale for the first time, she looks at herself and her past beliefs with new eyes. Does anyone ever really know another person, she wonders?
Cassien Le Clerq, a native islander who also lost a father to the sea, turns up one of the first clues to Hayden’s possible whereabouts. "I turn over many rocks," he tells Mallory. He also insists the island holds many secrets, though most lie beneath the haunting blue waters.
“I will tell you, Mallory Parrish,” he said after a moment, “something of my life that makes me like you. When I was a child my father...he went away. He was a fisherman. He sails off into a yellow sunrise. My brother and I watch him go. It feels like any other morning. He does not look back, not even to wave. His name,” Cassien pauses, “is Elijah.
"In the evening Elijah does not return. And the next and the next. This is strange. Strangest thing that has ever happened. We go down to the dock and wait, my mother and my brothers and sisters. Night comes and we see no boats, only darkness.
‘Where is he?’ I ask Mama. ‘Where is our father?’
"My mother...she does not answer. She gives a big shrug, raises her shoulders high. I see all in the way she does this. I see the answer in her eyes. In her sad eyes. She knows in her heart we are never to see him again.
"They search. The other fishermen. The friends of the village. But find no trace, no boat, no body. There is no death. But my father, Elijah, is gone.
"And after this...our life...it is changed. We spend our time chasing Elijah. It is the way of things. We, you and I, so many people, must spend whole lives searching.”
“And once in a while the searching pays off. I mean somebody finds something,” I said in a determined voice.
Cassien sighed before answering. “Once in a while. But I will tell you this, Mallory Parrish--this island, it keep many secrets, never to let them go. And most of these lie beneath the water the tourists say is so beautiful.”
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