Frank Chandler (Béla Lugosi in a rare heroic role): a powerful but kind man who has spent most of his life in the Orient, where he is renowned under the name of “Chandu the Magician” for his tremendous skill with White Magic. He is in love with the Princess Nadji of Egypt, who has lately escaped to America and is now staying with the Chandler family at their home in Beverly Hills, California. Princess Nadji believes she has left her troubles behind in Egypt, but when the Chandlers hold a party in her honor, she learns that her life is still in jeopardy, as are the lives of her friends. Chandu, presently arriving home from Egypt himself, is pursued by enemies at the airport, and escapes only by using his magic ring. At the party, some shady guests conspire to poison Princess Nadji, and Chandu arrives just in time to snatch the glass of deadly wine out of her hand.
Chandu explains to Nadji what has happened, and why she is in danger. A cult of Black Magic sorcerers, the Sect of Ubasti, have recently recovered the perfectly preserved body of their last high priestess, Ossana. Legend tells that Ossana will one day be resurrected and will rule the “lost continent” of Lemuria again; however, in order to resurrect her, the Ubasti must make a human sacrifice, and the sacrifice must be an Egyptian princess of royal blood. “Princess Nadji is the only living Egyptian princess,” says Chandu, “and the Ubasti will stop at nothing.” The cult are determined to capture Nadji and sacrifice her to their god.
The twelve chapters of The Return of Chandu follow Chandu and his family (his sister, his nephew, and his niece) on various adventures while they struggle, by both magical and not-so-magical means, to rescue and protect Princess Nadji from the Sect of Ubasti. Their journey brings them finally to the land of Lemuria itself, where Chandu must decide whether he can renounce his love for Nadji in order to save her life.
Ray Taylor [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons