""Patterson is an expert teller of tales..." "
Katherine Dunne is off on a sailing trip with her family for two months. This is a last ditch attempt to regain the family she feels alienated from, especially since her husband died suddenly four years ago. Her two sons and daughters are distant and have nothing to say to their mother. They argue constantly. Even the strong presence of their Uncle Jake doesn't seem to calm them. But for the sake of her family, Katherine has left her new husband, lawyer Peter Carlyle, the love of her life, at home so she can get to know her children once more.
Soon, the boat runs into problems. Has someone sabotaged them? Then there is a huge storm and things go from bad to worse. An explosion destroys the boat and a massive search begins using the co-ordinates from the boats tracking system. However, neither the family Dunne nor the remains of the boat can be found. Was something wrong with the equipment? Why can the boat not be found? When a message in a bottle is found, the search is back on with a vengeance. But there are certain other parties who are determined to find the family Dunne. Is it to rescue them or to cover their tracks? The race is on to find the family - dead or alive!