Homer Lea (November 17, 1876 - November 1, 1912), was an American adventurer, author and geopolitical strategist, best known for his involvement with Chinese reform and revolutionary movements in the early twentieth century and for his writings about China and geopolitics. Lea is less well known for his first major effort at writing a novel entitled, The Vermilion Pencil, A Romance of China (1908). After going to China (1900-1901), he used his experiences there to craft his novel. In it he depicted a colorful picture of Chinese rural life with a fast moving plot centering on the relationship and romance of a French missionary and the young wife of a Chinese viceroy. Lea subsequently adopted the novel into an unproduced drama in 1909 entitled "The Crimson Spider." He selected the drama's title in reference to introducing a crimson spider into his narrative, which he never mentioned in The Vermilion Pencil. A crimson spider weaving a web to strangle and devour its victims symbolized his main characters becoming ensnared in a web of deceit and greed. This version of "The Crimson Spider" is a revised edition, edited by Lawrence M. Kaplan, which also includes commentary about Homer Lea and his writings.