Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blogging Sax Rohmer’s Daughter of Fu Manchu, Part Two

Sax Rohmer’s Daughter of Fu Manchu was originally serialized as Fu Manchu’s Daughter in twelve weekly installments of Collier’s from March 8 to May 24, 1930. It was published in book form the following year by Cassell in the UK and Doubleday in the US. Rohmer divides the novel into four sections comprising three chapters each. This week we examine the second part.

Rohmer slows his pace to take time to develop the character of Rima Barton at the outset of the second part. The reader begins to understand her as one of Rohmer’s typically strong female characters in contrast with the shrinking violets one is accustomed to in fiction of the day. The strained relationship between Rima and Shan Greville is revealed to be jealousy over his attraction to Madame Ingomar, the exotic foreign woman who had likewise stirred Sir Lionel’s passions.

The choice of Greville as narrator is refreshing and allows the reader to view Dr. Petrie’s resurrection of Sir Lionel from the dead with a genuine sense of wonder. The Arabs among the team at the dig view Barton’s revivification as black magic while Greville begins to appreciate the genius of Dr. Fu Manchu once he sees proof that Barton was not dead, but only subjected to a drug-induced cataleptic state until he was injected with the antidote.


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