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Beautiful young Roxana Barclay cannot bear to see her wealthy widowed mother, Lady Barclay, marry a raffish fortune-seeker five years her junior.
And so she flees to join her Dutch aunt and uncle, who are Missionaries, on their voyage to Bali in the East Indies.
Matters are complicated further when Roxana discovers en route that her aunt is with child.
Tragically her aunt dies of a fever after the difficult birth of her son, Karel, and then her grief-stricken uncle is found dead too, struck down Roxana is convinced by a Black Magic curse.
Terrified of the colonial Dutch authorities, who would force Karel into an orphanage if they discovered his existence, Roxana entrusts him for safekeeping to a Balinese family.
To her horror the repellent overweight Dutch Governor takes a predatory interest in her, making it clear that if she refuses to become his mistress he will have her imprisoned or she will be thrown of the Island of Bali. Which she become so attached to.
Worse still the Governor introduces her to a dashing new arrival, Count Viktor van Haan, who also takes a keen interest in her and her beautiful wood carvings, which express so much of her and her attitude to life.
But soon Roxana is surprised to find herself confiding in this handsome stranger and the Count is equally surprised to find that he has fallen in love!