THE NAUTICAL CHART, by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Manuel Coy is paying for being in the wrong place at the wrong time - on the bridge of a cargo ship in the Indian Ocean when it hit an unrecorded rock  - with two years exile from the place he loves most: the sea. Shoreside with its clamor and complications is, for a quiet, inarticulate man, a disaster. He meets a woman - young, pretty, freckled - at an auction, later sees her threatened by another auction-goer, a large bully of a man. Coy steps between them, and in those moments his life changes. A sunken ship, a historical mystery, an Argentine dwarf once known for his methods of torture, a dog names Zas, a love story...Perez-Reverte delicately unfolds the details, doling them out like M&Ms until the final few stunning, calamtious pages. Read this. This is good; better, even, than M&Ms. A 5 and then some. Translated from Spanish.