The Secret of Escape Book Trilogy

      Actual book cover shots
Featuring The Secret of Escape

and two sequels; The Journey of Escape

And  The Destiny of Escape

Written by author;
Joyce Jackson Pfleger

Upcoming Book Signings:

 Next book signing:

  • February 18, 2006 11 AM to 5 PM. 
    San Jose Del Cabo
    It will be at The Galeria De Ida Victoria in Centro San Jose Del Cabo located near the Cathedral.  The event will feature at least ten Published Authors who live in Baja; who will be giving readings/presentations and signings of their works.

    The last book signing was held at .....
  • April 19, 2005 - 2pm Ciao Molino's Restaurant, La Paz, BCS Mexico.  Across from Marina De La Paz.
  • Sept. 13-18, 2003  Vancouver, Washington Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Portland Power Squadron & Vancouver, Wa. So Many Books


The Secret of Escape Trilogy Series are now available:

(easy ways to order - please choose one)


1. Order online from:

2. Find other online retailers from

3. Buy in person at bookstores:

  • Vintage Books, 6613 E. Mill Plain Blvd.,
     Vancouver, WA   98661  (360) 694-9519



The Secret of Escape (cover)     The Journey of Escape (cover)

Are you in the United Kingdom?  If so, you can order this book through:


About the Secret of Escape Trilogy -
3 exciting novels that take you away on adventure.

1. The Secret of Escape - The novel that started the Escape Trilogy: Order Here Now!

The Secret of Escape focuses on a beautiful young woman, who at the age of twenty-eight, sets sail with a friend on his thirty-eight foot sailboat Escape. One thousand miles off shore from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in route to French Polynesia, the Captain falls overboard during a storm, leaving Emerald alone. The harrowing three month journey aboard Escape is so vivid, the reader is drawn in emotionally as if he is living Emerald’s frightening experiences and is praying for his own survival. Emerald’s adventures include several obstacles, such as: dealing with French officials accusing her of murder, gaining legal possession of Escape, being robbed, and watching while her lover is attacked by a shark. Readers are rewarded with meeting friendly Polynesians and touring many unspoiled South Pacific tropical paradises. Many of the experiences are based on the author’s ten years of sailing in the South Pacific on her thirty eight foot sailboat.

The end of this adventure novel reveals the answers to numerous mysteries accumulated along the way but, leaves the opening for the next sequel as The Journey of Escape continues.  The Destiny of Escape completes the Trilogy.

Free Preview of The Secret of Escape:
Chapter 1

On the thirty eight foot sailboat Escape, Emerald was sleeping fitfully in her bunk. She had signed on for crew two weeks ago in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and was on the way to French Polynesia. Suddenly, Escape lurched violently, throwing her over the lee cloth and onto the floor. She struggled to stand up, reaching for the hand grip, but had no success, as the cabin sole was wet and slippery. Emerald was very frightened as she crawled along the floor toward the open hatch, hoping to find the captain and see what was causing the dangerous rolling of the boat. Salt spray was being blown in, and she became acutely aware of the terrifying howl of the wind in the rigging, each testing its own strength against the other in a fierce tug of war.

Emerald clung to the companionway steps as she pulled herself up to the cockpit. She was alone. This can't be happening, she thought, as her heart pounded loudly in response to the surge of adrenaline from the mounting fear. "This has to be a nightmare, I must be asleep. Wake up, Emerald," she yelled, barely hearing herself over the raging storm.

A crashing wave of frigid water caught her by surprise, drenching her entire body. She was instantly jolted back to reality. The captain was gone. She tried to think logically; Ron must have gone forward to change the sail, or he might be in the head. She turned to peer through the cockpit dodger, searching for his large frame out on deck, while calling "Ron, where are you?" at the top of her lungs. Sadly, she saw no one there. The boat seemed to be sailing herself, with only a solitary storm jib catching the wind like a kite struggling for freedom from its owner. The knot meter registered a hull speed of well over eight knots. Luckily, the wind-vane was steering Escape on a course that kept her running with the wind.

"He must be in the head," Emerald mumbled.

She crawled back down the steps and along the cabin sole to the head and peered in. He wasn't there either. "Oh my God, I'm alone," she wailed. "Please, help me! I don't know how to sail by myself." She started to sob and lost control for several minutes. She felt as if she were destined to die at the mercy of Mother Nature’s violence.

After a while, she began to accept what was happening and returned to her senses. She was thinking clearly and speaking loudly, as if she had someone with her who was brave and in control. The voice told her; "Okay, get a plan. You do want to live, don't you? What should you do first? Think girl. Survive! You can do it . You’re a good sailor. You've sailed on many boats and have been in bad weather before."

Emerald forced her way to the chart table and found the Pacific Ocean chart neatly folded in its waterproof baggie. She noted the last fix was taken three hours ago. With confidence, she noted that she knew where she was. She would continue to take a fix every four hours. Luckily Escape was fully equipped with radar, GPS, single side band radio, EPIRB, and, as a last resort, a life raft. She decided the very last thing she would do was abandon ship; the thought of trying to survive in a life raft was uncomfortable and unappealing at best.

After assessing the situation, Emerald concluded she wasn't doing so badly. The boat was on course, all the electronics were functioning properly, and Escape was very seaworthy. She felt better about the situation at the present, but began to worry about the next two weeks before landfall. Staying awake that long to watch for ships could prove to be her greatest challenge. With so many things to face, it could be the most difficult time in her life. She donned her life jacket and safety harness, and went outside to try to determine what happened to the captain.

When Emerald stepped into the cockpit she could see where the safety jack line had broken and trailed along in the water beside Escape. As she looked behind, searching the foamy water that was threatening to swamp the stern, she knew he had fallen overboard. In these conditions, she would never be able to find him. Besides, to try to turn the boat around and pound into tempestuous seas would put both her and Escape in danger. She glanced at the wind meter and noted the wind was gusting to fifty knots. With the ground speed at almost nine knots, she guessed the true wind to be close to sixty knots. The seas were about twenty feet high, very steep, and breaking under the stern.


It seemed like hours since she discovered the fact that she was alone. Being just a little over one thousand miles from Puerto Vallarta made it tempting to turn back. It would be closer, but because of the condition of the sea, her only hope of survival was to continue on. As she calculated the distance remaining to Nuka Hiva as just under eighteen hundred miles, she felt defeated by her fate.

Her stomach growled loudly, and she realized it had been over eight hours since breakfast. "No time for food now Emerald," she heard an angry voice order. It was her own voice, but it was as if she had become two people, one in control, the other one extremely afraid.

Bracing herself against the chart table, she looked around the cabin, hoping to see something that might help her. Focusing on the single side band radio, it dawned on her that she may be able to contact someone to report the missing captain and tell of her dilemma. Prior to departing Puerto Vallarta, Ron had given her a quick lesson on how to operate the radio and showed her where the list of frequencies was kept. Quickly, Emerald opened the chart table lid and found the list on top. She scanned the page, recognizing the high-lighted numbers that Ron had pointed out to her to try in case of an emergency.

While taking a slow deep breath and trying to relax, she turned the radio on. At first, she heard nothing, and her heart sunk as she played with the dials. Next came the static, then a crackling sound, followed by very faint voices, totally unreadable to her. The captain must have been using the radio on this frequency the last time he talked to friends in Mexico, she thought. Desperately, Emerald keyed the mike and shouted into it "Help me, help me, this is the sailing vessel ESCAPE!" She anxiously awaited a reply. Hearing nothing, she realized her best chance was to try to call the Coast Guard. Turning the dial to the frequency Ron had highlighted, she heard herself praying out loud, "Dear God, please let someone hear me."

2. The Journey of Escape - The second novel of the Escape Trilogy. Order Here Now!

The Journey Of Escape is the second novel in the series of continuing adventures aboard the sailboat Escape. It focuses on the experiences Emerald and her friends encounter while sailing through the balmy South Pacific Islands. Although it is a work of fiction, the Ports of Call and many of the events are based on the author’s own travels while she and her husband lived on their thirty eight-foot sailboat, TOR II.

The journey takes the reader through many frightening experiences, dealing with dangerous characters, vivid rescues and heart warming relationships. It is both rewarding and exciting to be on board with such realistic characters, as they make each passage from one tropical paradise to another.

The descriptions of the islands are completely accurate, and for those of you that have been there, you find your memories are clear and delightful.  For those who have not had the privilege of being there, it kindles the desire.  The Secret Of Escape, Joyce’s first novel, set the stage for the continuation of The Escape Trilogy.

Finally completing the Escape Trilogy, The Destiny of Escape is now complete and available.

Free Preview of The Journey of Escape:

It seemed like an eternity during the next few minutes while he was under the water, trying to hold his breath and struggling to break through the bubbling foam. Finally the life jacket Ron was wearing floated him to the surface and freed him from his watery grave.

He gasped in large gulps of precious air and at the same time choked on the persistent waves of salt water washing over his head. Several times he screamed and then remembered the whistle that was attached to his life vest. He blew it repeatedly as he watched in horror while his life long dream sailed away from him. All the while the relentless sea continued to threaten his life by tossing him around as a cat does a mouse. Fatigue impaired him while he struggled to keep his head above water. He felt like he was a tiny bottle slowly filling with water, threatening to sink at any moment and be lost forever. The pungent seawater caused him to choke painfully with each breath. It burned his throat making it raw. Ron had never been a religious man, but after a while he stopped struggling, laid back and began to pray.


As she looked out into the cockpit, Emerald heard the terrifying howling of the wind in the rigging. It sounded like the shrill eerie scream of a wild animal caught in a trap. Salt spray was blowing over the stern of Escape as the roaring breakers crashed behind her and washed underneath, lifting the sailboat up and down as if she were simply a tiny cork.

“Ron, Ron, where are you?” Emerald yelled loudly. Her voice was muted by the sounds of the storm. A sense of doom began enveloping her like a sheet of utter darkness as she discovered her friend was not to be found on the deck. A huge wave crashed over the railing, catching her by surprise. She turned her head wiping the salty water from her face on her sleeve. Clinging to the handholds on the steps she descended to the cabin below.

Once below she steadied herself against the table and screamed again. “Ron, Ron, are you down here?” She worked her way along the main salon careful to hang onto the hand grips placed strategically along the way, to the head, thinking he may be in there. She found she was alone. She started to sob as the stark reality of the situation began to surface. “Oh God, he must have fallen overboard.”


Ron’s first night of floating alone in the ocean was so miserable he wished he could die and get it over with. Once the sun went down he was shivering from the cold air. Pulling his legs up to his chest he began to drift in and out of consciousness. He began to imagine things. Something touched his leg and made him scream out in fear. He tried to think of other things, happier times and anything but sharks.

The night passed ever so slowly, laced with re-occurring nightmares. In his sane moments he thought of beautiful Emerald and hoped she would know how to call for help and be able to sail Escape safely alone. Ron struggled to see above the ocean swells for a light of any kind on the horizon. He desperately prayed to be rescued.  His mind teetered back and forth between hope and despair.

The bright orange sunrise was extremely painful to his already burning eyes. Watching the sunrise each morning was something he used to enjoy. It was his favorite time of day, before most people are awake and the world is still quiet. He loved the tranquility of the ocean and living on a sailboat. Now it seemed as if he would die trying to pursue his dream. His hands and feet were cold and getting numb and he was very sleepy. The last thing he remembered thinking before drifting off again was I hope Emerald enjoys the fortune she will inherit.


3. The Destiny of Escape - The third and final novel in the Escape Trilogy. Order Here Now!

The Destiny of Escape is the third and final book in the Escape Trilogy.  The Destiny of Escape weaves a nautical web of Emerald’s final journey through the exotic South Pacific. You will be sailing with her from the Fiji Islands to New Zealand, diving on intriguing shipwrecks, and exploring Australia’s immense beauty.

The journey is intertwined with adventure and romance with interesting characters. Some will win your hearts and others will haunt you. The story flows easily from one situation to the next as Emerald and her friends overcome unexpected obstacles presented to them along the way. The reader connects with the travelers in a way that makes you feel you are part of the crew.

Finally, you not only learn of the destiny of her sailboat Escape, but also the destiny of Emerald Conner.

Free Preview of The Destiny of Escape:

Slowly, over the next two hours, a knot at a time, the wind was building. Daniel had not noticed the change. He was lacking the honed instincts Emerald had acquired from the many months of being at sea. The smallest indications, such as the change of the way the boat moved, the slight increase of speed, the swell heightening gradually. He was busy writing notes on his tablet that he wanted to send along with his manuscript. Suddenly a much larger swell rolled under the side of Escape causing her to jerk sharply. The violent action woke Emerald with a start, making her heart beat rapidly as if she had been running. She found herself standing beside the settee before she was fully awake. Daniel, in turn, was about to go wake her to help make the necessary sail changes.

“What’s happening, “ she shouted from the darkness of the cabin below. She made her way up the steps cautiously.

“Looks like the seas are building,” he replied, startled at her unexpected appearance.  “The wind has picked up a little also. Guess it’s time to put a reef in the main.” He stowed his tablet under the dodger, so it would not blow away and started preparing to shorten sail.

The sudden rush of adrenaline allowed her to think clearly and she was able to access the situation quickly. The wind was now blowing twenty knots. She peered into the darkness and saw the moon hanging low on the horizon. It was partially hidden by wind swept clouds making it too dark to judge how high the waves were. However, she guessed they had increased considerably by the confused action of the sailboat.

“I think we can still let the auto helm steer while we reef the main,” she told him.

“I’ll go forward and drop the sail down some if you want to handle it from back here.” He clipped the safety line he was wearing onto the jack line that ran the full length of the deck. Ten minutes later the changes were made and he joined Emerald back in the cockpit.

“I’m sorry you got woke up so abruptly. That bigger swell to hit the boat at a weird angle. Made quite a noise didn’t it?” He apologized thoughtfully.

“I thought I’d been shot at again. Strange, I remember the dream I’ve been having now.” A vivid picture of being chased by a faceless man who was shooting at her filled her mind and she shivered from the terror she had felt in her sleep.

“Want to tell me about it?” he asked, concerned.

“No. It’s only a dream. Doesn’t mean anything. I dream all the time. I wish I didn’t,” she answered flatly.

“Do you want to go back to bed now?” he offered.

“No, I’m wide awake. How about you?”

“To tell you the truth, I am pretty sleepy. Guess I’ve had enough excitement for tonight.”

“I think you should get some rest, especially if the wind continues to pick up. If it does, we may both have to be up here to put another reef in the main. I’m really glad we changed the head sail to the smaller one before we left Fiji.”

“Yes, me too. The way the roller furling is set up on this boat, it would be impossible to change it in a very strong wind. Good thinking Captain.”

“Go to bed,” she teasingly ordered.

“Aye, Aye.” He saluted her and went below.

Thin clouds parted allowing a luminous orange moon to draw Emerald’s full attention. It’s narrow beacon radiated across the water toward Escape like a giant spotlight. The beam of light cast an eerie elongated shadow of her sails on the other side. Suddenly, as if someone turned off the light switch, it disappeared into the ocean. Emerald settled herself in a corner of the cockpit under the dodger, where she had an unobstructed view of the radar screen. She turned off the tiny hand held reading light Daniel had been using. The darkness surrounding her became absolute, making her feel like a tiny dot in space. In a few minutes her eyes adjusted to the change and she was able to see a short distance across the threatening water that surrounded her boat. It appeared the swell was continuing to build. The recent sail change had placed Escape on a comfortable point, so she rode out the perpetual motion of the sea with the effortless rhythm of a pendulum. The sky above was scattered with dark ominous hulks that floated across it as if fat witches were riding their magical brooms, followed by jagged milky white streaks. She imagined the streaks were playful ghosts trailing along to join in the nightly fun.

Emerald’s foul mood, she awoke with, was disturbing to her. For some reason she felt completely alone while she stood her watch. She glanced at Daniel’s shape sleeping peacefully in the dark cabin below. A sense of uneasiness hung over her as if she were being warned by some unknown entity of terrible things about to happen. She told herself she was just tired and anxious about the last twenty four hours of this passage. The closer they were to New Zealand, the more unsettled the weather typically could become. She had to search for her inner voice; the one often called on for courage, to tell her to snap out of it.

Daniel was asleep almost the minute his head hit the pillow.  It was always that way for him. He and Emerald were very different in many ways. He seemed to be able to let the world drift by him like lazy clouds in a summer sky. Emerald was serious about everything and spent countless hours worrying about things she could do nothing about, when she should have been getting her precious sleep. In the daytime while traveling, she busied herself with various projects, while he was content to read or fill his laptop with endless words.

An hour passed, and Emerald went below to grab a snack. While there she sensed the motion of the boat was slowly changing. She thought to herself, it is definitely getting rougher out there.  When she went back to the cockpit, she clipped the harness she was wearing to the safety hook and changed the heading on the auto-helm a few degrees, making the ride a little smoother. She adjusted the sheets on the sails slightly in order to achieve the best speed with the new course change. Afterwards, Emerald stood for a few minutes, while holding onto the dodger, and scanned the water for signs of ship’s lights that might be lurking in the darkness. She thought about Ron, and the terror he must have felt when he fell overboard and watched his boat as it left him to fight for survival alone in the churning water.

Reader Reviews:

"Joyce Pfleger's The Secret of Escape  arrived in the mail late yesterday. At about 9:30 PM, I decided to read a chapter or two before turning off the light and going to sleep.  I couldn't put the book down and finished it by 1:00AM.  It's a sure fire winner! It's GREAT!   Thanks for sending it.  When will Joyce finish The Journey of Escape?
(it's done)   Can't wait to get my hands on it."
~Ed B.,
New York, NY

"It usually takes me over a week to finish a book because it's difficult to keep my interest and desire to see what happens next.  I finished this book in 3 readings & had to force myself off the couch to put it down!  Joyce keeps you wondering what will happen next throughout.  The book has something for everyone:  suspense, drama, romance, mystery, action & more.  If you have ever sailed or been boating - this book is a must-have!  It sprinkles actual experience from sailing the South Pacific - along with some technical info now and then to show the author's knowledge of the people and places where the events take place.  Even if you aren't a sailor - you'll gain a sampling of experience from Joyce's book.  I am anxious to see where Emerald and the "gang" go in her next book.  Great job."
~Sam P.,
Vancouver, WA

About the author, Joyce Jackson Pfleger:

Joyce Jackson-Pfleger was born in a small Midwestern town in NW Missouri. When Joyce was nine years old she saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. It was love at first sight. Everything about it captured her heart. From that day forward she dreamed of sailing freely into the sunset. As an adult she and her husband lived in Battleground, Washington, became PADI scuba instructors and bought their first sailboat.


After completing careers and raising their children, they sold everything they owned and sailed down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. Ten years later they had explored many areas of Mexico and the South Pacific on their Downeast sailboat, TOR II.   Joyce kept several personal journals and finally, after settling in Baja, Mexico, she began writing sailing mysteries based on their adventures.


Her first novel was The Secret Of Escape. The Journey Of Escape and The Destiny Of Escape complete The Escape trilogy. Although, some of the characters and events are fictional, most of the sailing escapades and Ports of Call are legitimate.

For over ten years, Joyce and her husband, Herb, lived and sailed on their sailboat TOR II.

During that time they covered more than ten thousand nautical miles on the oceans, experiencing many exciting adventures along the way.

Though some of the events and people mentioned in The Secret of Escape are fictional, the sailing experiences and locations are taken from personal experiences during their travels in the South Pacific. All of the ports of call listed in The Secret of Escape are taken from TOR II’s ship log.

The Pflegers are currently living in LaPaz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. They are avid scuba divers, sailors and have recently taken up mountain biking.  At this time, Joyce is promoting her sequel The Journey of Escape and the final book in the Trilogy The Destiny of EscapeThe author is also currently working on her newest project, a children’s series about Mescla, the Mexican Dog. This lovable little outcast, who adopted the Pflegers one-day, has plenty of delightful stories to tell.



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