The Ages of Oosig

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At birth, wondrous deeds are predicted for Oosig by his proud father, as they are for most boys growing up on the islands of the Pacific. Progressing through the six traditional ages from childhood to adult, Oosig faces an ongoing series of exciting and life-threatening adventures, all of which combine to create a legend despite his own efforts to live a quiet and normal life.

His status as a potential warrior is established early. Entrusted with his father’s favorite fishing bird on his first solo trip, Oosig must battle a huge shark for ownership of the bird and fish. When his father and the other men of the island reach him, they find a tearful, apologetic child, a mutilated cormorant –and a dead shark.

Later a dive for a rare golden cowry shell almost leads Oosig to his death in the jaws of a deadly moray eel. He is rescued only through the courage and resourcefulness of his childhood comrade, Kito, who paid better attention than Oosig had to the “Eel Lady,” Lona, months before.

At school on the Round Island, Oosig is astonished to find that the crazy old man covered with tattoos and dripping betlenut juice down his chin is a relative. Before the warrior dies, Oosig learns the stories of his bravery and a legacy that the youth must endeavor to uphold.

Entering his Third Age as a teenager, Oosig’s youthful selfishness gives way in the form of a lovestick inserted into the wall matting of his hut. It belongs to Iua, daughter of Uetin, Traveling Chief of the Cloud Island, who is determined that his princess will wed only a worthy warrior of his own choosing, and certainly not a brash young man from one of the lesser islands.

Although still determined to have Iua for his own, Oosig faces other challenges as he becomes a young man. Pomai, his cousin who has the mind of a child, often talks of a huge wind carrying him away.   The boy’s ramblings approach reality as a devastating typhoon hits while he is attempting to prove his worth by catching a large fish near the Five Islands. Only Oosig cares enough to attempt a rescue. Fighting the storm and Pomai’s panic, he must tie the two of them to a palm tree and trust their lives to a power greater than the Peace Corps whom Pomai idolizes.

Oosig later fails to remember the lesson that his best friend, Kito, taught him, that friendship is more important than material things. Attempting to carve the perfect piece of stone money with which to buy favor with Iua’s father, he labors for months high on a narrow ledge of a perilous cliff to carve his stone. His mettle is tested by having his first effort fall and break, taking with it the life of one of the islanders who has tried to help him. Even once he has the perfect stone, his journey to the Cloud Island with his valuable offering aboard a homemade raft proves too difficult and his stone returns to the ocean where it began as sand.

Undaunted, Oosig brashly takes Iua from her father and the Cloud Island. Iua is the love of his life and he is determined to protect their relationship at all risk from dangers and from anyone threatening to separate them. After years of peaceful life as a couple on the Great Island where they keep to themselves as much as possible, they hear from an exhausted messenger the words they dread, “Chief Uetin is on the island.” In the end, Oosig and Iua must make a decision, whether to live the rest of their lives apart or spend eternity together.

This novel is suitable for all audiences: Middle Grade/ Young Adult/ Adult


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