Zia is a fictional character but spiritual heir to the factually based Karana who returns from the Island of Blue Dolphins only to die without ever being able to adjust to the restrictions of mission life. Zia, who is Karana's niece, believes from the beginning that Karana will join her; twice she and a younger brother set out to row to the island but are pulled back--first, literally, by a giant marlin and later when they are kidnapped by Yankee whalers. And when Karana is finally rescued Zia is in prison for refusing to cooperate with the authorities after a mass defection of mission laborers. Zia's resistance takes the form of dignified passivity until Karana's death frees her from the only human tie she feels and she sets out, alone and expectant, for the home in the mountains she remembers from childhood. Though Zia is a survivor of a vanished tribe, her isolation and detachment in the midst of society carry disturbing implications that were left implicit in Karana's archetypal sojourn. However, her escape softens the tragedy of Karana's death among people who can't communicate with her and who regard her as crazy. And Zia's narrative continues the laconic precision and sober beauty we remember from Island of Blue Dolphins.