Michael is just 11 years old when his ordinary life suddenly becomes extraordinary. When both his parents lose their jobs at the local brickworks, his father scrapes together all his savings and, with a blind leap of faith, decides to buy a large yacht so they can sail round the world. All goes well until Stella, their pet sheepdog, bored with the sea and the restrictions of the boat, decides to chase Michael’s football around the deck. He tries to coax her away from the bow, but she will not come. The boat lurches violently in a strong gust of wind and they are tossed into the towering waves. After a terrifying ordeal in the dark and freezing sea, Michael and Stella find themselves washed up on a deserted island. The island has a haunting, desolate beauty, but there is no water and no food, and thousands of eyes seem to be peering to Michael through the trees. They are not alone. This is Kensuke’s kingdom and he hates intruders. He banishes Michael to the other end of the island and forbids him to make a fire to aid his rescue. What follows is a remarkable tale of sorrow, survival and forgiveness in which the solace of friendship becomes as important as the love of lost families.