Just as with many successful Darkest Africa VSF stories, mine takes place on a mythical island.
This island is called Bossa Nova (Yes. I am aware that this is a Brazilian phrase and I’m thinking that the island is actually in the pacific, but get off my case already).
Bossa Nova was only recently discovered and is subject to the race for colonies just like everywhere else. This explains the European presence. Since it is in the Pacific somewhere near Easter island this also explains why there are Chilean, Peruvian and Bolivian troops present. Worked gold has been found in considerable quantities, but the source has proven illusive. Expeditions into the interior have had high mortality rates. The search for this El Dorado continues, however.
Bossa Nova is of considerable size, at least as big as Madagascar, and it is a scientific mystery as to how it could have remained undiscovered for so long. The massive anomalous magnetic effects have not yet been explained, and the counterintuitive sea currents have both worked to allow people, plants and animals to get to Bossa Nova, but then to never leave. It has only been with the recent advent of steam powered shipping that these ‘natural’ effects can be overcome and modern intercourse with the outside could begin. It has been suggested that Bossa Nova is one and the same with Skull Island of King Kong fame.
Being large, the island has a wide range of terrain and biome types, to the nitrate fields of the desert to the dense Amazon like jungles of the interior. The remains of a once great ancient civilisation litter the interior. These vast stepped pyramid structures with broad boulevards are similar to the Incan civilisation on the mainland.
The natives of Bossa Nova are primitive and have reverted to a level of savagery that appals the modern man. Whatever fate befell these people, causing them to abandon their mighty cities, was complete and sudden. In their degenerated state they can tell the explorer little of value. They are predominantly hostile and often display cannibalistic tendencies. A few stout adventurers manage to find the key to their atrophied and black hearts and forge some kind of respectful friendship (or at least survive the encounter) but these tales are rare.
Modern architecture is of the Spanish Colonial style, as is the governing style. Peru, Chile and Bolivia vie for dominance on the island and have set up rival enclaves and governing structures. The European influence there is limited to embassies of the governments and companies. These provide support for adventuring expeditions and maintain their own security with just a very few companies of regular troops. Britain, naturally, has a presence, as does France, Germany and Italy. As with Africa, European colonial rivalry is repeated on Bossa Nova.
On the mainland, the Guerra del Pacifico is raging on the West coast and on the East the Paraguayan war is still going on, but is probably in its stuttering final phases. Such mainland conflicts are probably being echoed on Bossa Nova and we can expect battles between the Chileans and Peruvians, along with the amphibious landings typical of the main event. However, since the forces on the island are even smaller than the mainland, these actions will be raid-strength.
The date is sometime around the 1870’s to 1880’s.