This far-ranging adventure story is set in the '70s and '80s. It begins with the O'Hara family aboard their cruising yacht in the Indian Ocean. They are struck by a savage storm that devastates their yacht and drives them far off course, but in surviving the unexpected event they encounter an uncharted tropical island and seek respite in its tranquil lagoon.
The island, however, has already been discovered by a secretive group of settlers and the family are forced to remain when the inhabitants maroon them. Their reluctant acceptance of this situation, with its disarmingly idyllic lifestyle, begins to unravel as they become involved in the islanders' more bizarre societal rules.
While the O'Haras brood over their fate, deep in the heart of Africa a group of Congolese villagers begin their journey from their war-ravaged land in search of refuge in Australia. Following the detailed plans of their People Smuggler, they begin their dangerous journey into the unknown.
The O'Haras meanwhile find a possible means of escape from the island and at great risk, make a break. This, however, has them converging at sea with a disparate and now very desperate group - the Congolese.
The encounter forces the O'Haras to make a decision which irrevocably sets their lives on another trajectory and initiates many more adventures before culminating in their arrest and incarceration in one of Australia's northern Refugee Detention Centres.
There, the politics of the day come into play and they are forced to call upon the services of their intrepid family lawyer. Here the tale takes another twist as he sets out to alter the scales of justice by utilising his considerable wiles and the substantial resources of the O'Haras' Inheritance.
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