Brazilian writer Jorge Amado's The Violent Land (a translation from the Portuguese Terra do Seem Fin, which translates literally to "land of no end") describes the power struggle between and among local landowners and foreign entrepreneurs in the cultivation of cacao. The novel (first published in 1943 in Brazil and in the US in 1945) is set in the Bahia region of Brazil and is divided into six parts, each consisting of of several chapters. Chapters 1-3 of Part I, "The Boat," introduce Captain João Magalhães as he is boarding a boat leaving Bahia. The town itself is described as beautiful in an old-fashioned sort of way, full of churches and old stone-paved roads. The time is twilight, and, as the boat is about to depart, João watches another man, Roberio, take leave of his wife, who appears to be ill. Roberio tells her that he will return in a month, though she claims that she will not see him again.
Chapter two (pages 5–6) is very short, describing the passengers aboard the ship settling into their cabins as well as the families on shore (particularly the one woman waving goodbye to her husband) departing from the port. This woman is led away by an older man as she weeps. The ship is traveling from Bahia to Ilhéos and is a paddle boat. The conversations of those on board include such topics as "land, money, cacao, and death" (6).
Chapter 3 (pages 6–9) provides some context to João's character. The stranger he sees taking leave of his wife remarks to João that she is consumptive and not expected to live much longer. João himself wears the ring of an engineer, but he is not in fact an engineer. João remembers gambling alongside a woman named Violeta at an establishment where one Rodolfo routinely invited him to play. They kept up a ruse that João was a retired captain in exchange for a commission on João's winnings. João took the ring he now wears from the engineer who lost to him in a game of poker.