When Robert and Mark's mother tells the twins they're going on a two week trip to the island of Contwoyto, they immediately picture themselves on surfboards in Hawaii. Only it turns out that Contwoyto is Inuktituk for King William Island, a tiny speck of land in the Arctic Ocean. Robert and Mark, still trying to come to terms with the death of their father, are to accompany their biologist-mother on an observation trip to study musk-ox. Worse, their mother's boss and new "friend" Lyle, whom the boys have dubbed "Lyle, Lyle Crocodile," is coming with them. But as soon as they arrive on the remote island, strange occurrences capture the boys' attention. There is the question of the human bone, etched with deep cuts, found by the boys after an arctic fox seemingly leads them to it. And the strange old Inuit man who keeps appearing out of nowhere and who tells the boys some eerie Inuit folk legends. Now the boys find themselves suddenly speaking Inuktituk words, seeing nightmarish visions, and in terrible debt for a favor they're not sure they can ever repay.
Visions is at once a thrilling ghost tale, a fascinating history lesson and a subtle environmental and cultural look into the lives of Canada's founding native people. It is also a sensitive exploration of two pre-teens trying, each in their own way, to come to terms with their grief after their father's death. Eric Walters knows his audience and it shows in the well-crafted, surprise-studded plotting, realistic characterization and dialogue that sounds like kids think and talk. "Visions" is another top-notch read for its pre-teen audience.