Somewhere in the South Pelagic Ocean, a tsunami wipes out the population of a small island, except for Mau, who was paddling home in his canoe after a month alone preparing to become a man. The tidal wave also sweeps a sailing ship to the island, depositing Daphne, an English girl, in the rain forest where she is found by Mau. Over the following months, the two learn to communicate, while welcoming others to their community of survivors. Mau searches for the meaning of his people’s gods while Daphne applies her knowledge of science and history to the many discoveries she finds on the island. Mau and Daphne explore what it is people value and why.
In this Michael L. Printz Honor Book (an award for excellence in young adult literature), Terry Pratchett superbly mixes alternate history and fantasy, along with the somber and humorous.