Previously inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Named Santiago, it remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered the island and renamed it Jamaica. Under British rule, Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy highly dependent on slaves imported from Africa, followed later by Chinese and Indian indentured labour. All slaves were fully emancipated in 1838, with independence from the United Kingdom achieved on 6 August 1962.
A group of 6 Australian friends - white, middle-aged males - combine to compete in a marathon relay swim in treacherous waters off Jamaica. But even before the race begins fractures appear in the relationships, with drug-taking, hidden secrets and personal crises coming to dominate.
Dedication: The Jamaica portrayed in these pages, and all those who exist there, are works of fiction. This book is dedicated to the facts who got out of the way of a good story.
Patrick Ness in The Guardian found that "Alongside Tim Winton's Breath, this is the second excellent novel in as many months to examine masculinity and male friendship in Australian sport, a subject that might seem of limited intrinsic interest. But it's not the song, it's how it's sung, and if Winton is an aria, Knox is early Rolling Stone.."