U.S. Exploring Expedition linguist Wiki Coffin sails with the famous convoy of ships toward Brazil, with no idea the amazing encounter the fates and the winds have set in motion. As the great flagship Vincennes leads the convoy under the dubious command of eccentric captain Charles Wilkes toward a dramatic entrance in the port of Rio, careless manoeuvring leads one of the vessels to run afoul of a Boston trading ship. As it turns out, the trader is owned and commanded by the famous and larger-than-life Captain William Coffin, father to Wiki and sailor of all seven seas. The encounter sets in motion a series of confounding events that reunite William with his illegitimate half-Maori son and that, before they are through, will see two men dead, William on trial for murder, and Wiki working feverishly to unmask the real killers before the Expedition sails on-leaving his father at the mercy of an unforgiving Brazilian court.
Joan Druett is an internationally renowned maritime historian.