Conrad's famous examination of colonialism is a richly-allusive work of terrible beauty. Newly-employed in an ivory trading company, Marlow travels down-river into the depths of the African jungle. As he goes, he witnesses the shocking subjection of the natives, and his faith in the imperialist mission weakens. The enigmatic chief of the trading camp - Kurtz - becomes the focus of this ambivalence. Reports of rapacious and violent deeds seemingly contradict his reputation as an idealistic and admirable leader, and the suspense mounts in the lead up to the appearance of this shifting, unknowable figure.