Daniel Kennedy has invited his longtime girlfriend, Nancy, on a surprise trip to the Galapagos Islands where he will propose to her. When their seaplane crashes into the sea miles from the islands, Daniel panics and pushes past Nancy to get out. They both survive but Nancy questions his love for her. Surely if you loved someone you would not abandon them during such a time.
While Daniel and Nancy try and put their world back together, Daniel and his father Phillip begin to learn more about their Great/Grandfather who seems to have gone missing during World War One. Letters suggest he may have abandoned his post and started another life in France. Daniel wonders if courage and cowardice are genetic.
A third story interwoven between the two above, is how one of Daniel's colleagues at the University where he teaches, pretends to be a very close friend of his but tries to sabotage Daniel's career. Wetherby claims to be envious of Daniel, but after every transgression he goes to confession and is absolved.
So what does forgiveness mean? Daniel apologizes to Nancy for his actions, but she is having a difficult time accepting them. An interesting novel of courage and cowardice and what phenomenally challenging times can do to a person.