Wide as the Wind

Edward Stanton

Wide as the Wind has been nominated for a 2017 IPPY Award. Winners will be announced in early April.

The lyrical tale of a boy, a girl, their island, and how they saved it.

Wide as the Wind is the first novel to deal with the stunning, tragic history of Easter Island (Vaitéa). It could be described as quest fiction for all ages in the line of Tolkien’s The Hobbit, but it is set in the real world, not Middle-earth. Wide as the Wind portrays Polynesian voyages across the Pacific Ocean in canoes with no metal parts or instruments: the greatest adventure in human prehistory, as bold as modern space voyages (National Geographic).

When Vaitéa is ravaged by war, hunger and destruction, it falls upon Miru, the fifteen-year-old son of a tribal warrior, to sail to a distant island to find the seeds and shoots of trees that could reforest their homeland. If he decides to undertake the voyage, he must leave behind Kenetéa, a young woman from an enemy tribe with whom he has fallen deeply in love. And if Miru and his crew survive the storms, sharks and marauding ships that await them on a journey over uncharted ocean, an even greater mission would lie ahead. They must show their people that devotion to the earth and sea can be as strong as war and hatred. Wide as the Wind is both a stirring novel of adventure and a prophetic tale for our times.

Watch the book trailer for Wide as the Wind on Youtube (it's especially beautiful in HD!):

Advance Praise

"Protagonist Miru is a valiant hero, sailing into the sunset and bringing back trees and plants that are essential to the viability of his close-knit community. Miru is well-developed, and he’s featured in an engaging subplot of a chaste romance, sustained even through a long separation during his seafaring years. Miru’s extended family is large, and many additional interactions between him and members of the community showcase his coming-of-age. For readers who appreciate intricately detailed storytelling, the payoff is a strong sense of Polynesian culture in a novel whose style is reminiscent of James Michener’s. Stanton spent many years as an English literature professor, and his craftsmanship reflects this background. VERDICT: Recommended for ambitious middle and high school readers who appreciate a depiction of a little-discussed but significant historical period and culture; for large historical fiction collections."

—Amy Thurow, School Library Journal, November 2016

"Wide as the Wind transports us to an island world both outside time and urgently relevant to us in the 21st century. At the center of the story stands fifteen-year-old Miru, an extraordinary young man who is called upon to forsake passion, family, and security in a quest to restore his island so it might sustain his people again. This novel reminds us of what is important and what we might be called upon to set aside in order to make a world where we and our descendants can live and thrive."

—Leatha Kendrick, author, Almanac of the Invisible

"Years of tribal wars between the Tuus and the Raas have savaged the tiny Polynesian island of Vaitea. Those tribespeople who survive the massacres are slowly starving to death. The high priestess Marama believes 15-year old Miru is the chosen one and tasks him with saving the island and its people from total destruction. . . . During their long treacherous journey, Miru finds within himself not only strength and determination but the true answer to saving Vaitea—peace. Miru understands that in order to save the environment he must first save his people from themselves. . . . Stanton paints the ravages of Vaitea's war and the splendor of Ragi's paradise in vivid detail and poetic prose. Stanton has sculpted a modern parable that shows how mankind's hatred and violence sow the seeds of environmental devastation. . . . Wide as the Wind is an inspiring adventure about the bravery and courage of three young earth warriors who save the future."

—Peggy Tibbetts, Reviewer, Midwest Book Review, December 2016

"In the midst of a forbidden love, young Miru sails across dangerous Polynesian seas to find new seeds and trees for his island that has been ravaged by war. Wide as the Wind is a lyrically crafted novel of love and adventure as well as a cautionary tale for the survival of the earth and our human species. It now forms part of what has been called 'the environmental imagination.'"

—Juan Carlos Galeano, poet and environmentalist

"Wide as the Wind speaks to a fundamental truth: our need to protect the planet’s environment."

—John Flenley and Paul Bahn, authors of The Enigmas of Easter Island

"Wide as the Wind takes place many years ago, yet it can speak to readers of all ages and backgrounds in a timeless way about the result of neglecting Earth’s natural environment. . . . Wide as the Wind is vividly tragic and dramatically rich. It’s a historical tale without feeling historical. Featuring themes of adventure, war, and a comparable Romeo and Juliet type romance, this novel is perfect for readers weary of history and anthropology but zealous for adventure and drama."

Gwendolyn, LitPick Reviews

About the Author

Edward Stanton, author


Read Edward Stanton's review of Disney's Moana, which shares striking similarities to (and differences from) Wide as the Wind. Published in Bright Lights Film Journal

Read Edward Stanton's environmental op-ed, "Cherry blossom elegy redux" in the Louisville Courier-Journal (March 21, 2017)


Edward Stanton's Wide as the Wind is based on ten years of travel and research on Easter Island, whose name he has changed in his novel in order to extend its imaginative reach to all of Polynesia. Born in Colorado and raised in California, he resides in Kentucky after having lived in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Spain. Stanton is the author of eleven books, some of which have been translated and published in Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. Road of Stars to Santiago, the story of his 500-mile walk on the ancient pilgrimage route to Compostela, was called one of the two best books on the subject by The New York Times. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer James Michener said, "Edward Stanton recounts his adventures with stylish conviction." Stanton has also published fiction, poems, translations and essays in magazines, journals and newspapers in countries throughout the world. He has been a professor of literature at universities in the U.S., Europe and South America. The Fulbright Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities have awarded him grants for travel, research and writing. His students and colleagues recently published a volume of essays in his honor. At present he is completing a travel memoir titled VIDA: A Life.