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In a harbour in the Cayman Islands, the schooner Lillias Eden prepares to set sail for the turtling grounds of the western Caribbean. Her captain is Raib Avers, a bitter man with a violent temper, one of the last of a dying breed of turtle-fishers. Her crew consists of a mixed bag of both experienced and inexperienced sailors, those few who are prepared to accept Avers' tyrannical style of captaincy. They include his teenage son, a few of Avers' fellow veterans from the once-thriving turtle fishing industry, a one-eyed psychic, a black Honduran from the Bay Islands and a troublesome would-be singer who feels himself destined for greater things than a life at sea. Following the fortunes of the old Caribbean schooner and her crew, Peter Matthiessen's outstanding novel is both a powerful story of the sea and a resonantly symbolic account of the relations between man and nature.
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