Fifteen-year-old Carter Ellen Key has lived her entire life on the waves, traveling across oceans on the merchant ship known as the Adventurer, a ship that she calls home. Orphaned at age seven, she held tight to the memories of her father and stories of her mother, turning to them for advice even after their deaths. The Adventurer's crew became Carter's family, and Captain Rosten made it his personal duty to keep her safe. This protection kept Carter from ever exploring the land, or even sinking her feet into the sand that surrounded the ports. The discoveries and mysteries that awaited her there remained in her daydreams. As her position aboard the Adventurer climbed and her relationships with the crew began to strengthen, her dream of discovering life on the land came within her grasp.
But this dream comes at a great cost. It may even cost Carter her life, or worse, the lives of the ones she loves. The fantasies in her books were just that, fantasies. The real world beyond her small merchant ship is crueler than anything she could imagine. Carter will need to adapt and learn to provide for her own safety. She must decide if she will trust in her father's words-that is, if dying for a dream is the most courageous act of all.