The title voyage of Philip Caputo's sweeping new novel commences under exceedingly strange circumstances: in June 1900, Cyrus Braithwaite, a gruff Yankee granite magnate, orders his three teenage sons to board the family's beloved schooner, sail away from their imposing Maine summer home, and stay away until September. His sole explanation for this sudden expulsion: "It's a new century, boys." Puzzled, abashed, but also intrigued by the adventure forced upon them, Nathaniel, Eliot, and Andrew leave behind their privileged WASP childhood and head out to sea--bound, they decide more or less on a whim, for the Florida keys.
Adventures are slow to shape themselves at first, but once the Braithwaite boys enlist the help of blond, worldly wise Yale dropout Will Terhune, the pace quickens considerably. Nat, who serves as skipper, and is also the most naive and most ambitious of the brothers, nearly dies in a bar fight in lower Manhattan. Fourteen-year-old Drew, the seasick-prone family rationalist, discovers a penchant for cold-blooded violence. Caught in a blow off the Carolinas, the boys limp the damaged schooner into Beaufort, South Carolina, their mother's birthplace, where an ancient aunt invites them to dinner and hints darkly at family secrets. Then, about two-thirds of the way in, what has seemed a leisurely coming-of-age story explodes into an elemental drama as a hurricane swallows the boat and spits it out on the desolate coast of Cuba. This, as it turns out, is but the first in a series of terrible reversals.
Join us for a lively book discussion and brown bag lunch in the Monrovia Community Center meeting room next door to the Monrovia Library. For more information contact Cindy Hewitt at 256-489-3392 or firstname.lastname@example.org.