YemanjÃ¡, mythical sea siren, is the real heroine of this salty novel of sailors and waterfront passions in the Brazilian port of Bahia. Guma is a skilled seaman at the age of eleven, with nautical knowledge bred in his bones; he matures early, passing his brief hours ashore with a series of women, a little prostitute, who dies for him, a mistress-mother, his wife, who is strangled. Time after time, Guma returns safely from dangerous voyages, but there is a final hurricane and Yemanja claims him. Family relations are casual, love is transient, the sea is the only permanent element. Always there is ""the conflict between sea and man, awaiting their chance to leave bitter life for an adventuresome death"". A strong book, this tale of a Portuguese Sinbad, tough and convincing.