Snook Pascoe is as unprepossessing as his name and, what's worse, the butt of his father's frustration when his tuna boat, Blue Fin, has a run of bad luck. Then Snook goes along on an Easter weekend fishing trip to help out his shorthanded father, and when Blue Fin is hit by a tornado, seriously wounding his father and killing the rest of the crew, Snook proves his worth by keeping the boat afloat and repairing the motor to bring them back to port. The pattern is a familiar one, but seldom this well executed, and Snook's emotions are carefully calibrated and taut -- as he forces himself to do the backbreaking work of pumping out the hold, feels helpless fear in the face of his father's deteriorating condition, and grows more and more confident as the boat nears home. Thiele's view of the relationship between the sea and its disabled victims -- ""Light swaddled in darkness. Life rocked by death"" -- is unabashedly poetic but never maudlin. And just as Snook is giving in to the elation of having brought Blue Fin safely home -- the boat is struck by another disaster and crashes onto the rocks, destroying itself and the valuable tuna catch that would have given the family a new start. A grim but thoroughly believable ending, and a full-bodied sea adventure for all hands.