David Charleston, once a world renowned journalist, now lives alone maintaining the Thunder Rock lighthouse in Lake Michigan. He doesn't cash is paychecks and has no contact other than the monthly inspector's visit. When alone, he imagines conversations with those who died when a 19th century packet ship with some 60 passengers sank. He imagines their lives, their problems their fears and their hopes. In one of these conversations he recalls his own efforts in the 1930s when he tried desperately to convince first his editors and later the public of the dangers of fascism and the inevitability of war. Few would listen. One of the passengers, a spinster, tells her story of seeking independence from a world dominated by men. There's also the case of a doctor who is banished for using unacceptable methods. David has given up on life but the imaginary passengers give him hope for the future
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