cover image Daughters of Captain Cook

Daughters of Captain Cook

Linda Spalding. L. & O. Dennys, $0 (217pp) ISBN 978-0-88619-171-9

The haunting tone and exotic ambience of this first novel draw the reader through the subtle, mysterious story to a shockingly swift denouement. Kansas-born Jesse Quill, trailing her own emotional emptiness, and her husband, Paul, are living on the site of his ancestral homestead in Hawaii, where they are desultorily engaged in raising their young daughter. The island's ancient culture, with its pantheistic galaxies, invades their lives in the person of a 14-year-old child-woman, the sensuously abandoned Maya, who is the cause of Paul's infidelity, the knowledge of which brutally raises Jesse from her complacency. As Jesse unravels the murky history of Paul's parents, she discovers that Maya's mother is not only Paul's sister but had also engaged in a similar scenario with his father. Against the age-old belief that sexual union within the first degree of consanguinity is not only licit but also an extraordinary empowerment from the gods, Jesse's struggle to retain Paul is doomed. The lush island flora against which theculture clash unfolds is stunninglyevoked in a mesmerizing, chilling tale. (Sept.)