This novel begins with Robert Englefield, a young Englishman, taking on a job with a vessel sailing for northern Africa. Once there, Englefield is placed in the position of running the store through which the captain sells and trades his goods. As Englefield spends more and more time at this outpost on the African coast, he hears stories a legendary mine in the interior of Africa where the priests capture unwary travelers and blind them to prevent escape. Purely out of curiosity, Englefield finally decides to go looking for this mine in spite of the obvious dangers presented to a white man traveling in the rural African interior. Once Englefield departs and inevitably runs into trouble, the story finally takes on some suspense and unpredictability.