One of Joseph Conrad's lesser-known long stories that concerns a young ship's captain who has sailed to a Pacific Island to pick up a cargo of sugar. He has a letter from his ship's owners telling him to meet a man named Jacobus. It turns out there are two Mr. Jacobus on the island: The one he breakfasts with turns out to be the scandalized island pariah, not the business man indicated by the letter. A masterly tale of misplaced loyalty, family feuds, and illicit bargaining.
Embarking in the Tropics, the ship's Captain makes the instant acquaintance of the seemingly genial Mr Jacobus and his irritable brother. One a respectable businessman with a considerable reputation, the other a confessed chancer and entrepreneur with no reputation left to lose, the Captain is at a loss to determine which he should befriend. Yet as events unfold, he becomes increasingly in thrall to the less scrupulous of the two and finds himself the unwilling partner in a deeply unorthodox transaction.