The Pirates of Turtle Rock

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9780618987931: The Pirates of Turtle Rock

Turtle Rock is where sixteen-year-old Jenny Snow goes to sit and listen to her iPod and think about the tedium that is her life. Although she is by nature a steady, responsible sort of person, Jenny longs for adventure, even danger. Little does she know, danger and adventure lie right under her nose—quite literally. Having spotted her sunning on Turtle Rock, a young seventh-generation pirate named Coop DeVille has swum all the way from his ship to make her acquaintance. Of course, she is too consumed by her own boredom to notice him clinging to the rock below, but a pirate is not easily deterred, which is only one of the many things Jenny soon discovers. Like the ancient map Coop DeVille keeps taped to his stomach, the adventure of Jenny’s life finally begins to unfold—and as it does, even the rock she sits on nearly becomes her undoing in this rollicking tale of piracy, peril, lost treasure, and newfound love—as only Richard Jennings could imagine it.

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About the Author:

Richard W. Jennings has published more than fifty essays, articles, and short stories, including The Tragic Tale of the Dog Who Killed Himself, published by Bantam Books in 1980 to widespread critical acclaim, in addition to his recent titles published with Houghton Mifflin -- Orwell's Luck, The Great Whale of Kansas, My Life of Crime, and Scribble. He is cofounder of a popular Kansas City-area bookstore and former editor of KANSAS CITY MAGAZINE. He has five children, four grandchildren, a dog, a cat, and a parrot and lives in Kansas.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

PROLOGUE

The God of the Ugiri-Tom

In the warm waters of the Caribbean lies a tiny island — little more than an atoll, really — that for centuries remained undiscovered and untouched by all but a small group of natives who lived on larger islands nearby.
Calling themselves the Ugiri-Tom, these gentle people worshiped the sea and the myriad forms of life within. Among the Ugiri-Tom, no creature was more revered than the great loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) which the Ugiri-Tom called ageri gop aquera — “winged god of the sea.” Believing the uninhabited spit of coral, salt, scrub palmetto, and sand to be the sea turtle’s place of origin, the Ugiri-Tom considered this to be the most sacred spot in the universe. Each night before sunset, a band of men and women made up of the Ugiri-Tom’s most worthy members set out in outrigger canoes to protect their sea-god’s hallowed birthplace from being swallowed up by the ocean like the sun. Over the course of many years, these holy night watchmen erected a temple to their god, in front of which they placed a totem that soared to a height three times that of the average Ugiri-Tom — nearly seventeen feet.
Not having the gold or silver or precious stones possessed by other civilizations of their era, the Ugiri-Tom meticulously crafted their great Loggerhead turtle likeness from the abundant natural pearl that lined the shells of the rich array of indigenous bivalves.
How it glistened in the bright Caribbean sun!
For generations, the Ugiri-Tom lived in harmony with nature and at peace among themselves, practicing the teachings of their sea — god by day and protecting its fragile home after darkness, until one terrifying night in 1795, when, under a full moon, summoned by the shimmering, pearlescent, turtle-shaped beacon, pirates arrived.
During the futile defense that ensued, two brave Ugiri-Tom brothers, identical twins named Tak-Me and Tak-Ma, hurriedly lashed their outriggers together, then secured the sacred statue across the canoes and set out for parts unknown.
Deprived of treasure, the pirates punished the Ugiri-Tom in the only way that pirates know, and thus, the history of these quiet, isolated people sadly ended.
But what of the two brothers? What became of them? And what, we wonder, even today, of their magnificent totem?

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