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Aidan Sharpe is a lawyer whose small mistake costs him his career. He goes to Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to try to regain some sense of self, and meets and rescues a young woman named Molly, and forms a friendship with a priest, Marcus, who struggles with addiction. Marcus discovers a boat, named Cygnet, and the boat's appearance leads him to believe that it may be a legendary ship called the Prodigal. His interest in the ship also attracts the attention of colleagues in the Vatican, who believe the ship may hold a sacred relic. Hurley's novel weaves in many elements of law, sailing, and Roman Catholicism, and ties them together well. While the allegories are a bit heavy-handed and characters are simplistic at times , the author's attention to detail and the pleasures of his well-crafted prose compensate.