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Every fall, the men of Loyalty Island sail from the Olympic Peninsula up to the Bering Sea, to spend the winter catching king crab. To Cal, Alaska remains as mythical and mysterious as Treasure Island. But while Cal is too young to accompany his father, he is old enough to know that everything depends on the fate of those boats thousands of miles north. He is also old enough to wonder about his mother's relationship with John Gaunt, owner of the fleet. Then Gaunt dies suddenly, leaving the business in the hands of his son. Soon Cal stumbles on evidence that his father may have taken measures to salvage their way of life. As winter comes on, he is forced to make a terrible choice.