Kinau's life is shaped by the stories and feral energy of her mother (a woman of many husbands) and by the always hovering and jealous presence of the gods. Revenge for a boy's accidental death calls for a bounty on sharks and results in a fishing frenzy. Tidal waves have wreaked havoc, and will again. A volcano carries its own portentous message. And finally, there is Hawaii itself, source of loss, risk, and possibly salvation.