This romantic adventure set among tropical islands in the Coral Sea features Scots spinster India McKnight, intrepid travel authoress, and solitary Australian Jack Ryder. She hires the unkempt and arrogant fellow to sail her to Takaku, a savagely beautiful island populated by cannibals. While India is inspecting and sketching rock formations that may prove her pet theory about the origins of Polynesian peoples, she is captured by the inhabitants and borne away. Jack succeeds in rescuing her, but they both must flee the British Naval officers who have been hunting Jack for a decade and assume he has taken India hostage.
The couple’s testy relationship deepens while evading hungry natives, violent sea squalls, and the military officers who hold Jack responsible for deliberately grounding a vessel and losing its crew. The action is intense and dramatic and the emotion of the tale believable. Its lead characters are obtrusively modern in outlook and speech for a Victorian spinster and a Colonial maverick, but they are vital, endearing, and almost as compelling as the secondary characters, islanders and British alike. Proctor should be congratulated on her choice of an unusual setting and her skill for writing scenes of action and drama.