Alone with her new husband on a tiny Pacific atoll, a young woman, combing the beach, finds an odd aluminum container washed up out of the lagoon, and beside it on the sand something glitters: a gold tooth in a scorched human skull. The investigation that follows uncovers an extraordinarily complex and puzzling true crime story. Who has been killed, and who has committed murder?
Seven years before, a hardy and self-reliant San Diego yachtsman had convinced his wife to embark on the dream of a lifetime. They would sail their boat, the Sea Wind, to deserted Palmyra Island, 1,000 miles due south of Hawaii, in order to pursue a Robinson Crusoe adventure, away from the noise, dirt, and crime of civilization. At the same time, an embittered ex-con persuades his passionately loving and trusting girlfriend to sail to Palmyra and try to set their lives straight. The lines between these couples are soon drawn. Arrogance, envy, sexual obsession, and a grim struggle against nature are the volatile elements that erupt into a murder of almost incredible savagery.
For the first time, Vincent Bugliosi, who recounted his successful prosecution of mass-murderer Charles Manson in Helter Skelter, is seen in an unfamiliar role: the nation’s most celebrated prosecutor defends someone charged with murder, and is challenged as much by his client’s enigmatic personality as by the overwhelming damning evidence in the murder trial. Undaunted by scores of government witnesses, expert testimony, and a hostile judge, he responds with a defense that is a classic of tenacious spadework and courtroom brilliance. Step by nerve-racking step, Bugliosi reconstructs the crime for the jury. Only his ability to draw hidden inferences from the evidence can produce the stunning surprises of his final summation.
A brutal crime on an eerily beautiful Pacific island; an incomparable legal mind grappling with the nuances of the law and the fatal quirks of human nature; a courtroom drama whose outcome is in doubt down to the last rap of the gavel: And the Sea Will Tell weaves these threads into the most powerful and unforgettable true crime story of our time.