Conrad is one of those authors whose books I read years apart in order to make his oeuvre last the course of my lifetime, and because they are emotionally disturbing. This book is one that I would put in the same category as his book titled 'The Rover.' Although the themes of the two books are dissimilar, they pull upon the same heartstrings in their treatment of love, loyalty and duty.
'The Rescue' expands these themes beyond the merely personal and places them within the context of the clash of cultures; social, historical, and political.
Enough of pretentiousness. What happens is that a magnificent specimen of a man gets caught up in native intrigue in the Indonesian Archipelago as he seeks to make good on a promise made years ago to a native prince intent upon restoring his claim to the throne. Problems arise when the personal yacht of a British diplomat enroute from Manila to Singapore runs aground at precisely the spot where our hero's promise is to be kept.
Suffice it to say that the yacht and its contents become the objects of desire to all the parties involved for various conflicting reasons.
Resolution of these conflicts invariably ends in tragedy, as Conrad himself predicts numerous times in the course of his narration.
Anyone who has been smitten by love at first sight will find this story especially engaging and sad and wonderful.
I take especial pleasure in Conrad's wonderfully improbable sentence structure and eccentric word play. His are the only sentences that I can take pleasure from reading repeatedly to myself in order to fully appreciate or comprehend the thought being conveyed.
I call this novel prescient because it appears obvious to me that F. Scott Fitzgerald borrowed heavily from this book when writing 'The Great Gatsby,' as the underlying themes of the two books are too similar and non-universal for there not to be a connection. Read them both and see if you don't agree.