Hugh Conway, a charming, brilliant man—tall, bronzed, with short brown hair and blue eyes—who is a veteran of ten years of unspectacular work in the British Consular Service. He is found by his friend Rutherford in a mission hospital suffering from fatigue. He relates how he was kidnapped and flown to Shangri-La, a peaceful lamasery in the high Himalayas, where the ancient and wise High Lama hoped to preserve a record of the culture of Western civilization against its total destruction by modern warfare. When the aged High Lama knew he was about to die, he asked Conway to succeed him as High Lama. Though tempted to accept, Conway decided it was his duty to accompany his kidnapped companions back to civilization when the opportunity to leave arose. Before Rutherford hears the rest of the story, Conway disappears from the hospital, apparently drawn back to the tranquillity of Shangri-La.
Rutherford, his friend and former schoolmate, who finds Conway suffering from fatigue and amnesia in a mission hospital in China.
Henry Barnard, a large, fleshy man with a hard-bitten face who is wanted for fraud and embezzlement in the United States. He is satisfied to stay in Shangri-La and enjoy the pleasant life there.
Miss Roberta Brinklow
Miss Roberta Brinklow, a missionary, neither young nor pretty, who plans to convert the...
(The entire section is 422 words.)