On his death, Austin Tappan Wright left the world a wholly unsuspected legacy. Among this distinguished legal scholar's papers were thousands of pages devoted to a staggering feat of literary creation - a detailed history of an imagined country complete with geography, genealogy, representations from its literature, language and culture. In a monumental labor of love Wright's wife and daughter culled from this material a thousand page novel, as detailed as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Islandia has similarly become a classic touchstone for those concerned with the creation of imaginary worlds.
Islandia occupies the southern portion of the Karain Continent, which lies in the Southern Hemisphere. Its civilization is an ancient one, protected from outside intervention by a natural fortress of towering mountains. To this isolated country - this alien, compelling and totally fascinating world - comes John Lang, the American consul. As the reader lives with Lang in Islandia, as he comes to know this magnetic land, its unique people, its strange customs, he may find himself experiencing a feeling of envy, a wish that he, like Lang, be permitted, at the book's end, to return once more and spend the rest of his days in Islandia.