Arthur Grimble was sent to the Gilbert and Ellice islands as a colonial administrator in the twilight of the Edwardian era. He lived there for the next twenty-five years and developed a rare passion for the language, life and landscape of the place. Fortunately his island neighbours, a fascinating cast of fishermen, sorcerers, poets and fighters, began to trust this charming, happy and energetic young man, and shared with him their treasury of stories from the days when warfare was endemic and magic an essential part of everyday life. A Pattern of Islands is a rich and complex cultural history of the dances and legends, rituals, spells and way of life of the islands. It is also a riproaring adventure story. Grimble learns to spear hungry sharks, to negotiate fearsome reefs and, on one terrifying day, is used as human bait to catch a giant squid.