Nineteenth-century Hawaii. Thirteen-year-old Pia's life is forever changed by leprosy. Pia has never known his real father. But Kamaka, a family friend, has taught him how to work, explore, and take on physical challenges. Pia believes Kamaka is fearless. He never suspects that a time will come when Kamaka could actually be afraid of him. Neither does he expect his own body to betray him, or his government to tear him from his family and send him into exile. When Pia finds himself abandoned on Moloka'i, in Hawai'i's leprosy settlement, he turns to the skills he learned from Kamaka to help him survive. But the conditions are harsh. Pia discovers that he must choose between lawlessness and aloha, revenge and forgiveness, his own willfulness and the example of someone worthy of being like a father. This fictional account was inspired by the experiences of the many Hawaiians who were sent to Moloka'i's isolated Kalaupapa peninsula starting in 1866 and by the life of Father Damien deVeuster, who chose to live and work there in the late 1800s. The author conducted extensive research, working with experts and visiting the leprosy settlement.