The story of the Prodigal Son retold as a sea adventure.
In cozy Springwick Harbor, Wade’s desire is to follow in the footsteps of his adoptive father, Abner, and become the Lighthouse Keeper. But Abner has chosen his natural son Jeshurun as First Assistant and successor. Wade is so jealous of Jeshurun’s favor that he decides to do what no sailor in town is brave enough to do: sail away on the cursed vessel Vermillion Mourning to become the Keeper of the Hostel Sound Lighthouse. It’s a mythical, diabolical place—rumored to cast bent light. Wade knows he shouldn’t stray, but Dion tempts him with its lure. Dion, a landlubber, is more jealous than even Wade. He wants to destroy him, as well as every other sailor in Springwick Harbor, before they fulfill their dreams asea. As they embark, they are joined by Jeshurun, who will stop at nothing to ensure Wade’s survival—even at the risk of his own life. Along with a loopy captain named Captain June, the three deckhands must brave severe winds and waves, leaky holds, heat exhaustion and starvation as they round Cape Horn on a sail that will determine not only Wade’s identity, but also the fate of an entire generation of Springwick Harbor sailors.