Fu-Manchu: The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu Paperback – Feb 14 2012
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"Spooky and steeped in mystery." - Spooky Reads
"Undeniably entertaining." - Shadowlocked
"Everyone go out and do themselves a favor and pick up this book and give it a read and see just what inspired so many of the comic writer, film makers and current authors that you so admire!" - 8 Days A Geek
"...fun and thrilling... with a timeless vibe... a no-brainier addition to your collection." - Strange Amusements
"A gloriously tawdry, breathless, cheesy, addictive series." - Open Letters Monthly
"Easily the best companion book that I have ever seen. It is not only caters to fans of Whedon but all horror fans alike." - WizardWorld
About the Author
Sax Rohmer was the acclaimed author of the Fu Manchu series of novels. The first, The Mystery of Fu Manchu, was published in 1912 with many more following. Rohmer also wrote more traditional detective stories and supernatural horror. He died in London in 1959.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Personally, I am very much enjoying the Titan editions of the Fu Manchu series. The covers are nicely done, with their matching-yet-a-little-different-each-novel design. And I appreciate that the printed books are the slightly larger size, with easy to read type.
The novel is a classic for its era...however, it is not a particularly challenging book to read. While some people may make the argument regarding any racism inherent in this series, I don't find it any worse than any other "period novel" with similar racism. Unfortunately, that was just a generally acceptable perception of the society in which the books were written, ans should be taken as such.
An introductory page lists all the novels in the Fu Manchu series, stating that they will all be released by Titan Books. I certainly hope they will, as I plan on buying the entire series.
My knowledge of Sax Rohmer and his iconic villain, Dr. Fu-Manchu, has sadly been very limited until recently when I got my hands on a new edition of the hundred-year-old tales just released by Titan Books-The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu. This first volume is composed of a long series of action-packed mysteries that feature the first stories to contain the fiendish villain and the cat-and-mouse exploits he engages in with the heroes, Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie, two investigators cut from the cloth of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. And now that I've actually taken the time to go on these adventures, I'm left to wonder about why the hell haven't I read these before.
For the most part, the stories are arranged in such a way that the whole experience feels like a novel composed of short episodes. In each grouping of tales, Smith and Petrie are presented with a murder or an attempted murder or kidnapping that is somehow unexplainable to the traditional law enforcement of the time. Together, they follow the clues that always lead to the nefarious Fu-Manchu, a villain who also serves as a symbol of the "yellow peril," or Western fear of Chinese encroachment. All of the victims share a common thread--they are all educated and influential persons with ties to political or scientific advancements involving China. Fu-Manchu, it seems, is slowly trying to eliminate them so that the eastern empire can grow.
The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu is completely packed with action and horror from the first page to the last. At nearly every turn, Smith and Petrie find themselves in another terrifying predicament. There are tons of fantastic set pieces, like a foggy moor, a hidden castle, an opium den on the water, and there are all manner of strange things happening, such as people dying inside rooms locked from the inside or appearing dead but actually being in strange sedation. There are many things that will seem unreal, and there are plenty of things to chill your blood, including unearthly howls in the night. In the end, everything you love as a genre reader of horror, action, and mystery is here in excess supply.
This new edition is also nicely presented with a good biographical piece about the author and an essay that offers a foundation for the cultural significance of the work, especially in light of world politics and how the view of Chinese culture was shaped during the time in which these tales were composed. If you're looking for some fun and thrilling text written in an old-fashioned tone, but with a timeless vibe, The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu is a no-brainier addition to your collection.
From the Back Cover: "Imagine a person, tall, lean, and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan..."
London, 1913--the era of Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, and the Invisible Man. A time of shadows, secret societies, and dens filled with opium addicts. Into this world comes the most fantastic emissary of evil society has ever known... Dr. Fu-Manchu.
Denis Nayland Smith pursues his quarry across continents and through the back alleys of London. As victim after victim disappears at the hands of the Devil Doctor, Smith must unravel his murderous plot before it is too late.
Includes a special feature by Leslie S. Kilnger
Hollywood used to make what they call a Serial, a movie divided into twelve or fifteen chapters where the hero is thrown into a death trap at the end of each chapter and gets out, of course, at the beginning of the next chapter. "The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu" runs just like the old Serials used to, Nayland Smith and his partner, Dr. Petrie are on the hunt for Dr. Fu-Manchu and they come close to catching him however he always places them in some kind of peril and escapes. "The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu" is a thriller, no doubt about it. Smith and Petrie's lives are in great danger from page one and the danger grows with the body count. Just when you think you might know where the story is heading Mr. Rohmer tosses in another turn which you take at high-speed on two wheels. Mr. Rohmer writes in a breathless style that will keep you on the edge of your seat, flipping pages as fast as you can read them just trying to keep up with runaway roller coaster ride story. Yes, this book was originally written in 1913 and the characterization of Dr. Fu-Manchu is completely racist but fits perfectly with the atmosphere at the time they were written. If you can put that aside "The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu" is the perfect read to get your adrenalin going and root for the good guys to conquer a menace that is almost supremely evil. This is a wild ride read and I recommend it highly. This is a high-octane series and I am so glad that Titan Books is bringing the whole series back. I am really looking forward to reading the whole thirteen books.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Titan Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Thrilling and suspenseful from cover to cover. I highly recommend it!
Originally published in the magazines of the day (over a century ago, now) those origins are clear in the series of cliffhangers and crescendos, and the episodic nature of the adventures of Nayland Smith and Dr Petrie on the trail of Fu-Manchu. But as a true novel it works as well, with all those crescendos ever-building up to an explosive finale, with a final sad denoument left hanging (well, at least if you start the next book).
Its also clear that for all the racial prejudice of the day, Dr Fu-Manchu is a man of honour, in his own way, with political goals rather than mere mass-murder. He is also much, much more than a caricature: in the end this is about us and them, with us and them being pretty arbitrary lines at the end of the day (but then, drawing arbitrary lines to denote us from them is something humans have proven very, very good at over the years). Dr Fu Manchu is simply doing his best for his country, as Nayland Smith is for his own.
Lastly, well done to Titan Books for bringing the whole of the Fu Manchu series back into print: its nice to see the old stuff again and be reassured that the heart of a fun story can be timeless, and also that London around 1910 is a hell of an evocative setting. It may be that later volumes in the series are lesser than this - in a way, I'd be surprised if they weren't - but after reading the second volume also, that is every bit as good.