This is a wretched, unpleasant, infuriating book, in part because of the missed opportunity. Richard Jaccoma is a talented writer, clearly capable of providing us with a modern (well, modern as of 1978) take on the Fu Manchu archetypes. Unfortunately he decided he'd rather give us a lecture and in the process provided us with a clinic on how NOT to write a pastiche.
The best pastiches (read, the most successful) are written out of affection for the source material and have a ready-made market in fellow fans. It is not impossible to produce a successful pastiche motivated by hatred, but it is an uphill fight. People who enjoyed the source material are unlikely to enjoy your attack upon it, and people who hated the original are unlikely to want to read your version.
Second, unless you are trying to be funny, it is a bit unfair to wildly exaggerate the alleged wrongs of the source material, and "wallowing in it" is going to make for an unpleasant read, far more unpleasant than the original source material. One of the hazards of reading old books is coming across offensively outdated ideas. If you read Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu books, you will find yourself cringing every few pages, but in reading this book, you will be cringing at almost every paragraph.
Third, it is rarely a good idea to commit the very sin you are condemning the original author for. As other critics have pointed out, Jaccoma seems to take a special, perverse pleasure in using and abusing his WASP characters. Of course they have all done something to deserve it, if only by expressing a more virulent racism than you'll find in anything Sax Rohmer ever wrote, but the result is to make the book that much more unpleasant.
A less excusable lapse is Jaccoma's attitude towards his female characters. No one who has read him can accuse Sax Rohmer of misogyny, but the same cannot said for Richard Jaccoma. One of the major themes of the Fu Manchu stories (done to death by repetition of course) is that True Love Triumphs Over Evil. Genius that he is, the male chauvinist Fu Manchu has a real blind spot when it comes to women. Invariably the women he compels by various threats to beguile our heroes end up falling in love with one of them and turning on him, and Fu Manchu who cannot imagine any of his slaves summoning the gumption to oppose him, invariably fails to recognize it. Contrast that admittedly naive, old fashioned romanticism with what takes place in here. Leaving aside the abuse Jaccoma heaps upon his Nazi female character (who enjoys it of course), Chou en Shu initiates all his female conscripts by brutally raping them, which they "naturally" enjoy immensely by the end, and the resulting sex slaves remain completely loyal to him even when they sincerely profess to have fallen in love with someone else. This is supposed to be an improvement? Yes, apparently, because these willing sex slaves of Chou en Shu repeatedly condemn our hero both for his stupidity in failing to figure out what is REALLY going on AND for his old fashioned ideas about sex, like being uncomfortable with rape.
In the end it is difficult to pose as the voice of moral outrage...
from the bottom of the sewer.
Sir John Weymouth-Smythe is the "unreliable narrator" who we are supposed to feel so smugly superior to, but Jaccoma never gives him a chance. After being mailed the heart and severed head of his fiance, a man can be forgiven for taking on questionable allies and failing to grasp the subtle intricacies of such a twisted plot. Father Dan, too, misunderstands, but given the way things are set up, how could he not? A foreshadowed from the beginning but nevertheless phony feeling tacked on happy ending rings false, and the Spear of Destiny turns out to be one of the most blatant MacGuffins in literary history. What is it? What does it do? What are the consequences if the bad guys get hold of it? No reader will ever know because the author never made up his mind. Maybe if you read the book referred to in the introduction, which the author obviously stole the idea from, you can figure it out: Spear of Destiny.
As political or historical commentary, the book is a mess as well. In the one Fu Manchu book I'm sure Mr. Jaccoma has read and gotten angry about, The Drums of Fu Manchu, Sax Rohmer comes dangerously close to expressing some esteem for his stand-in for Adolph Hitler, but that hardly justifies Jaccoma's assertion of direct British involvement in the rise of Adolph Hitler here. In a more general sense it is also silly to suggest that obsession with Sax Rohmer's imaginary "yellow peril" of the title distracted the British from the true fascist peril rising in Europe because there actually WAS a "yellow peril" rising in the East -- Sax just got the country wrong:
The Empire of Japan proceeded to outdo in real life the worst horrors that Rohmer or Jaccoma could imagine.
Jaccoma wrote two quasi-sequels: The Werewolf's Tale and The Werewolf's Revenge. Frankly I'd be more inclined to recommend the original Fu Manchu stories: The Fu Manchu Omnibus: Volume 1, The Fu Manchu Omnibus: Volume 2, The Fu Manchu Omnibus: Volume 3, The Fu Manchu Omnibus: Volume 4, and The Fu Manchu Omnibus, Volume 5 (Fu Manchu Omnibus), if you can find them.