This time our evil villain, Dr. Fu-Manchu, is determined to get his hands on all the experts on the Far East that he can--and eliminate them. He's also picking up a few doctors and scientists along the way and sending them back to China where they will be forced to aid him in his quest for world domination. Nayland Smith, who has mysterious connections with Scotland Yard, is out to stop the doctor no matter what the cost. Smith enlists the help of his friend Dr. Petrie--and the two of them set out to warn and rescue as many people on the doctor's hit list as they can. With mixed results. The final showdown occurs in a cottage and ends in flames. But is it the end of the Doctor?
Once again, this story is not for those who want a nice sanitized view of the early 20th Century. Rohmer uses the period's conventional mistrust of the Far East and the Asian culture to create his super villains--members of the Yellow Peril, a group bent on dominating the world and, particularly, conquering Britain and America. It's good old fashioned fun--especially for those of us who are familiar with the cliff-hanger serial stories of yesteryear. Lots of hyperbole and exaggeration (I've given a few examples below)--either about Fu-Manchu or in his dialogue.
If you're looking for fast-moving, pulpy fun, then Rohmer is your man. Another fun romp through one thrilling adventure after another. A good solid three stars.
This is also my final read for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge. And I would have to say that of all the characters included in that graphic novel, Fu-Manchu was the most faithfully rendered. Maybe it's easier to get it right when you're already dealing with an over-the-top villain. I don't know. But Moore did a great job capturing Fu-Manchu's "I'm going to rule the world!!!!" madness. Don't remember straight off whether he got the Doctor's eyes piercingly green enough or not. But well done on Fu-Manchu over all.
And--this being one of the classic pulp thriller/detective novels, I'm counting it for the Classic Bribe Challenge as well.
There are few states, I suppose, which exact so severe a toll from one's nervous system as the anticipation of calamity. (p. 56)
I felt as one bound upon an Aztec altar, with the priest's obsidian knife raised above my breast! (p. 56)
"They die like flies!" screamed Fu-Manch, with a sudden febrile excitement; and I felt assured of something I had long suspected: that that magnificent, perverted brain was the brain of a homicidal maniac--though Smith would never accept that theory. "It is my fly-trap!" shrieked the Chinaman. "And I am the god of destruction!" (167)