Mudjin Harbor, Middle Caicos

Mudjin Harbor, Middle Caicos

As alert readers are well aware, there is no nation called the Conchs & Lucayans. Everything about it is purely imaginary.

The idea for the story that became Bokur was inspired largely by the author’s magazine assignments in the real-world nation of Turks & Caicos Islands, a self-governing British Overseas Territory that shares the Lucayan archipelago with the Bahamas.

Though the setting for the novel borrows freely from the author’s experiences in Turks & Caicos, the imaginary Conchs & Lucayans should not be viewed as some narrow reconstruction of the TCI or its people. Most of the places featured in the story have absolutely no analog in the actual Turks & Caicos, and there is not a character in the book who is even loosely based on anyone living or dead.

Yes, the author has ridden a bicycle across the remote islands of North and Middle Caicos — an unforgettably gorgeous setting, and one of the best places on the planet to enjoy a stress-free, full-day bicycle ride with friends. But don’t expect to find the ruins of French plantations, or anything resembling Harve du Foyond or Donge. If you go, be sure to stop for lunch at Daniel’s Cafe (order the fish), take some pictures at Mudjin Harbor and get in a pre-ferry drink at the Barracuda Beach Bar beside the Pelican Beach hotel.

So while it’s important to separate the fantasy from the reality, the author encourages you to visit the TCI. It’s populated by friendly people, features some of the finest beaches and coral reefs in the Western Hemisphere, and depends almost entirely on your tourism dollars to support its economy. The author recommends Da Conch Shack, and suggests a daily regime of rum punch.

Author Dan Conover (right) with former professional bike racer Chris Pic at Daniel's Cafe in December 2011.

Author Dan Conover (right) with former professional bike racer Chris Pic at Daniel’s Cafe in December 2011.