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In the last days of World War II, an American bomber sinks a German submarine in the West Indies. The crew manages to board life rafts but a squall approaches and the weather turns deadly. Weeks later, off the Florida coast, a fishing boat recovers a life raft with two dead men aboard. One of the men is the submarine's captain, Oberleutnant von Weizsacker.

The fishing boat captain finds a diary in a waterproof pouch sewn into von Weizsacker's jacket. He scans a few pages but is unable to read German. The captain tosses the diary and other personal effects into a shoe box. He turns the corpses and their identification tags over to the coast guard but neglects to mention he retrieved some personal effects. Twenty-eight years later, the diary turns up at a Florida flea market.

On weekends the Webster Flea Market attracted buyers and sellers from all over Florida. One buyer was fourteen year old Jimmy Nolan who bought von Weizsacker's diary for six dollars. Jimmy nagged his mother, who was German, until she read the diary. One of the final entries described a box that was buried on the uninhabited island of Tintimar. Through the years Jimmy dreams about recovering the box. After he graduates from college, Jimmy attempts to pursue his dream but is temporarily sidetracked by a wealthy, older woman who is infatuated with him.

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