A research team and a blind old sailor slyly spar over the truth of a long-ago shipwreck, a mad island of dead gods and the mystery of a lost manuscript. Neither sailor nor interviewer is what they seem; and both must learn to work together to find what they seek. Seemingly, Clarence St. Elmo sits old and blind in the Sailor's Safe Harbor Home. A patient interviewer sifts his wandering memories for details of the wreck of the Unicorn, a cargo schooner lost long ago in the South Pacific. But Clarence St. Elmo is also a young man who finds himself on a cursed ship with a cargo of dead gods destined to be sunk in the Sea of Time. His love waits for his return, while mad voices in his head slyly pry for clues to a lost book.
And always beyond the words and the memories, the dreadful storm circles closer. A romance of memory, across the sea of time. From the book: Describe the dance in the moonlight. The girl stopped dancing at the first bird chirp of dawn. The ruined walls pooled the remainder of night like a hollow on a beach when the tide draws away. Exhausted, I stared up at a patch of coloring on a tree-top. My heart beat for a drum.
The girl looked at the sky, then regretfully towards the dark entrance to the crumbled house.
She wasn't a bit tired. But she intended to retire for the day, no doubt taking me and Cut-Throat with her. She could do it, too. In the faint light her face was hungry and pretty and determined as a tiger’s. If I bolted she would be on me before I made the archway. I crossed looks with Cut-Throat. He shook his head slightly, telling me the same. I tried not to look at the other fellow, who had no eyes to meet. He just stood there in rotting sea-man's clothes listening for the clap of her hands. But our Cut-Throat had taken the girl's measure. He’d noted what rhythm and time made her feet stamp, made her toss her ropes of hair. Now he began a slow sad dirge for the dying night. She turned to him, hands raised to clap an order. But I took her left hand and bowed and stepped forward my right foot and she had no choice in her perfection of movement but to step back and then half turn as I did and we stepped forwards together two steps, then turned together as I placed my left hand on the small of her back and we skipped left three steps as the fiddle slyly slipped from dirge to a laughing tune that ran faster and faster till we were whirling and turning over the cold stones.