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Gift of the Seas

Terry Sheils

Dec. 1999  -- not currently available

Adam Carlysle has had a bad year. First his wife, Erin, leaves him for his business partner, Cynthia, taking with him their life savings and their half of their business which imports primitive Pacific artworks.

Then he discovers that he has an inoperable form of cancer, the TV blows its picture tube and his laptop packs it in. But does he roll over and play dead? Not on his life. He sells his last remaining asset, his house, buys a sailboat, stocks it with cognac and sails into the Pacific...where his bad luck only seems to continue, for he is shipwrecked in a storm.

However, then, his fortunes change. He meets a beautiful Eurasian called La'iki with whom he falls in love, finds a race of mythical dwarf people known in legend as the menehunes and discovers that there is a supreme race of Gods who possess all knowledge but only parcel it out to humanity as and when they feel humanity can handle it. These gods miraculously cure him of his cancer and La'iki's love restores the self-esteem he lost with his wife's treachery. Oh, yes, and he also gets to watch his treacherous wife and her girlfriend, who have followed him hoping to get their hands on menehune relics, get blown up by sailing too close to where lava from an active volcano flows into the sea. All this within the space of a few months, or weeks, or...

Well, it's somewhat difficult to tell exactly. For the coast guard insists there is no way he could have survived the original storm. 


What people are saying about GIFT OF THE SEAS...

Adam Carlysle's wife, Erin, has left him for his business partner Cynthia. They've taken his money and his artifact importing business. Then he learns he has an inoperable tumor. So he sells his house, buys a sailboat and sails into the great unknown, equipped with some liquor and a Traci Lords video.

He meets and saves La'iki, a beautiful island girl, who shows her gratitude by becoming his wife. She wears an unusual artifact, and Adam realizes she could lead him to a treasure trove of such objects, if he plays his cards right...

Sheils takes a number of disparate plot elements and combines them by the close of the book, although the ending(s) is a bit fuzzy. The use of Hawaiian and Polynesian influences creates an interesting setting for a fantasy novel.  The plot moves along swiftly. And the Traci Lords video serves, more than once, as a pivotal plot device in this (mostly) soft-core narrative.

Audrey Snowden for Inscriptions Magazine