THYRA: A Romance of the Polar Pit
Next to the impenetrable jungles of Africa and South America, the Poles provided the most popular location for lost race adventures around the turn of the century. For many years, THYRA, Bennet's first novel, has remained a true classic in the field, scarce and highly sought-after by collectors, both for its action-packed narrative of strange peoples and fantastic adventures and for the striking illustrations which accompany them. A party of explorers seeking the North Pole commandeer a stray balloon that takes them to a warm sub-surface land which has survived unchanged for millions of years. It is inhabited by a mixture of prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs, a bestial, ape-like race, and civilization of lusty Norsemen, descendants of Viking who had discovered the land centuries before. Using their rifles, the explorers save a young Norse girl, Thyra, and her brother, Rolf, from a giant cave bear and a group of unfriendly Norsemen who call themselves "Thorlings." Thyra's people, the Runefolk, grateful accept the outsiders among them, particularly the human Thord Borson, an Icelander who feels a natural kinship with this lost civilization. At the invitation of the treacherous king of the Thorlings, Hoding Grimeye, the explorers and a number of their Norse friends undertake a journey to visit his kingdom, where a gigantic idol of a prehistoric sea monster is worshipped jointly with the hideous beast-men. When they learn that they are to be sacrificed to the idol, the explorers destroy it, thereby precipitating a furious battle between the Norsemen and the enraged ape-men. The Norsemen are victorious, the living counterpart of the idol is faced and destroyed, and the Norsemen are freed from its terrible influence forever.