An island in a bleak harbour; an isolated quarantine station where a group of nurses works tirelessly to care for sailors and immigrants recovering from the effects of the long sea voyage to the new land. Kahu swims ashore, searching for a woman. Young nurse Liesel, caught in a passionate triangle, is faced with choices both harrowing and intoxicating. Martha, who oversees the hospital and guides the community, is making a kind of experiment with life. Some on the island are too sick to live. Others flame with life. The island is cradle and crucible. Penelope Todd's first novel for adults is full of brilliantly drawn characters and a narrative which sweeps the reader along with its power. This is literary fiction of the highest quality, and an intensely romantic page-turner.