Axel Heyst, a dreamer and a restless drifter, believes he can avoid suffering by cutting himself off from others
But his life alters when he rescues a young English girl, Lena, from Zangiacomos Ladies Orchestra and the evil innkeeper Schomberg, taking her to his island retreat
The affair between Heyst and Lena begins with her release, but the relationship shifts as Lena struggles to save Heyst from the detachment and isolation that have inhibited and influenced his life
Then he becomes involved in the operation of a coal company on a remote island in the Malay Archipelago, and when it fails he turns his back on humanity once more
Victory is both a tale of rescue and adventure and a perceptive study of a complex relationship and of the power of love.