Eliza Grayling, born in Sydney when the colony itself was still an infant, has lived there all her thirty-two years. Too tall, too stern-too old, now-for marriage, she lives by herself, looking in on her reclusive father in case he has injured himself while drunk. There is a shadow in his past, she knows. Something obsessive. Something to do with a man who bested him thirty-three years ago. Then Srinivas, another figure from that dark past, offers Joshua Grayling the chance for a reckoning with his nemesis.Eliza is horrified. The plan entails a sea voyage far to the south and an uncertain, possibly violent, outcome. Out of the question for an elderly man-insanity for a helpless drunkard who also happens to be blind. Unable to dissuade her father from his mad quest, Eliza begins to understand she may be forced to go with him. Then she sees the ship they will be sailing on. And in that instant, the voyage of the Moonbird becomes Eliza's mission too.