This is the story of a sixteen-year-old boy who finds his way to the beginning of manhood during a great and memorable adventure in the world of nature. Geordie Sutton was more interested in the wildlife of the prairie slough and along the Iowa River than he was in following his father's footsteps into the practice of law. His world stretched comfortably from quiet, tree-lined streets with well-spaced houses to clandestine adventures on the river. But the turn of the century was still not far behind, and not even the impact of Darwin could persuade Geordie's father than a career in natural science was anything more than an excuse to loaf in the outdoors. Questioning his own right to choose a life of which his father disapproved, Geordie joined an expedition to Laysan Island, an atoll in the Pacific, where five species of oceanic birds unique to that island were threatened with extinction.
There, among colonies of albatross, miller birds, shearwaters, honey eaters and teal, finch and little flightless rails, as well as seals, huge turtles, and most surprisingly of all, rabbits which the expedition had come to kill, Geordie learned that life is full of cruelty as well as beauty, and that no man can stand aside from involvement with both these forces. A Certain Island is Robert Murphy's fourth novel, a story of a classic adolescent conflict set against a background of true natural adventure.