Sharks in the Time of Saviors
A groundbreaking debut novel that folds the legends of Hawai’ian gods into an engrossing family saga; a story of exile and the pursuit of salvation.
In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears the worst. But Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story the stuff of legends.
Kawai Strong Washburn’s debut, Sharks in the Time of Saviors, follows Noa’s family as they struggle amid the collapsing sugarcane industry. They hail his rescue as a sign of the favor of ancient Hawaiian gods—a belief that appears reinforced by Noa’s puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor drives the family apart: Noa, now working as a paramedic in gritty Oregon neighborhoods, attempts to fathom his expanding abilities; farther north, in Washington, his older brother Dean, becoming obsessed with wealth and fame, hurtles into the world of elite college athletics; while in California, risk-addicted younger sister Kaui navigates unforgiving academic and wilderness landscapes to forge her independence from the family’s legacy.
When supernatural events revisit the Flores household in Hawai‘i—this time with tragic consequences—everyone must reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.