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When a giant wave destroys his village, Mau is the only one left. Daphne—a traveler from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Separated by language and customs, the two are united by catastrophe. Slowly, they are joined by other refugees. And as they struggle to protect the small band, Mau and Daphne defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down.
throw things at them if you’ve already got them down from the tree,” Mau pointed out, leaning on the toolbox. “I know. The trousermen take coconuts back to their own country and stand them on sticks and throw things at them.” “Why?” “For fun, I think. It’s called a coconut shy.” The plank came up with a long-drawn-out scream of nails. It was a horrible noise. Mau felt that he was killing something. All canoes had a soul. “Shy? What does that mean?” he said. It was better to talk about
couldn’t often find anyone prepared to do the chewing for him. He sat down and watched the old man in silence. “You’ve come to laugh at me in my infirmity, demon boy?” said Ataba, looking up at him. “No.” “Then you might at least have the decency to take over the hammering.” Mau did so. It was hard work. The blows just bounced off it. You could make a shield out of the stuff. “Something on your mind, demon boy?” said the priest after a while. “You haven’t insulted the gods for at least ten
of every word before letting it go: “If anyone touches the stones, they answer to me.” “That one was made by a demon!” shouted Ataba. He looked at the crowd for some support here but didn’t find any. The people weren’t on anyone’s side, as far as Daphne could tell. They just didn’t like shouting. Things were bad enough as they were. “Demon,” rumbled Milo. “You like that word? Demon boy, you call him. But he saved you from the shark, right? And you said we made the god anchors. You did! I heard
“Speak, Mr. Tom-ali,” he said. “I would like to ask the gods why my wife and son died and I did not.” There was some murmuring from the crowd. Mau already knew him. He knew all the newcomers. They walked the same way, slowly. Some just sat and watched the sea. And there was a grayness about them all. Why am I here? their faces said. Why me? Was I a bad person? Tom-ali was repairing the canoes now, with the boy helping him, while the girl helped out in the Place. Some of the children were
away they ended up back home! And they had seen farther than any other people! They had seen the four sons of Air race across the sky! They had seen the Papervine Woman lash her vines around the Fire god! They had built wondrous devices, back in the long ago, when the world was otherwise! But now bad men were coming! They were very bad men indeed! So Imo himself had sent them the Sweet Judy, the first ship ever built, which had come back on the great wave, carrying everything they would need in