In 1775 a Spanish schooner sailed up the Pacific Coast to Alaska in order to map the shoreline and ward off Russian expansion; as described by the fictionalized cabin boy, the expedition was mostly wearisome: the ship was often becalmed, the crew repeatedly sick. Lazaro yearns for home, for any land, and you can't blame him. Or believe his change of heart. The people are putty and even the seamanship is suspect. A drag.