Sir Henry Rider Haggard was an English writer of adventure novels set mostly in Africa, and a founder of the Lost World literary genre. The Way of the Spirit is a story of a young man named Rupert Ullershaw who falls in a love with the wife of his much older cousin, Lord Devene. The woman commits suicide, and Rupert promises his mother to henceforward "follow The Way of the Spirit, not that of the Flesh". After 11 years of soldiering in India and Egypt, Rupert returns to England, where he marries his cousin Edith, a woman who is repelled by him but agrees to matrimony only because of Rupert's career prospects. Edith is actually in love with another of her cousins, the dastardly Dick, who arranges for Rupert to be sent back to Egypt, for a highly dangerous mission.