Axel Heyst, a dreamer and a restless drifter, believes he can avoid suffering by cutting himself off from others. Then he becomes involved in the operation of a coal company on a remote island in the Malay Archipelago, and when it fails he turns his back on humanity once more. But his life alters when he rescues a young English girl, Lena, from Zangiacomo's Ladies' Orchestra and the evil innkeeper Schomberg, taking her to his island retreat. The affair between Heyst and Lena begins with her release, but the relationship shifts as Lena struggles to save Heyst from the detachment and isolation that have inhibited and influenced his life.
Marked by a violent and tragic conclusion, Victory is both a tale of rescue and adventure and a perceptive study of a complex relationship and of the power of love.
About the Author
Joseph Conrad was born Jozef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski, on December 3, 1857, in Russian-occupied Poland. His father, who was fighting for Polish independence, wrote a poem asking his son to remain "without land or love" as long as Poland was enslaved. Conrad went to sea at sixteen and and served fifteen years aboard English ships. He became the captain of his own ships, sailing to Asia and Africa. He took up writing at the age of 32. It did not come easy: English was his fourth language after Polish, Russian and French, but he wrote with depth and beauty seldom matched. He was offered knighthood, but declined. He died August 3, 1924.
H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) is also the author of "Allan Quartermain" and "She,"
Giles Foden is the author of "The Last King of Scotland," which won the Whitbread First Novel Award and was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film in 2006.
Robert Hampson is a professor of modern literature at Royal Holloway, University of London.