Samburan (sahm-BEWR-ahn). Also known as Round Island, one of the thousands of small islands in the Malaysian archipelago, on which Baron Axel Heyst establishes the center of his Tropical Belt Coal Company. At its height, his company has offices in London and Amsterdam. After the death of Heyst’s partner, the only person remaining in Heyst’s house is his Chinese servant, Wang. On the side of the island opposite the house is a native village.
Although Heyst finds island life fascinating, he is generally disenchanted with it, even though he rarely feels lonely. He often sits in the main room of his house, under a picture of his father—a misanthrope and famous writer—and reflects.
Into this deserted wilderness Heyst brings Alma (whom he renames Lena), a women he has rescued from an obsessive-compulsive hotel owner at the nearest civilized island, three days journey by boat. In his sitting room, Heyst assures Lena that nothing can break in on them there.
Schomberg’s Hotel. Hotel in Sourabaya owned by Wilhelm Schomberg, who is obsessed with controlling Lena, one of the eighteen women in his hotel concert hall. Desperate to escape the hotel, Lena persuades Heyst to take her with him after a concert.
Other residents of the hotel include two very suspicious characters, Mr. Jones and Martin Ricardo, who gamble in the hotel’s shabby gaming room. These...
(The entire section is 490 words.)