Monday, September 30, 2013
Sax Rohmer’s The Drums of Fu Manchu was first serialized in Collier’s from April 1 to June 3, 1939. It was published in book form later that year by Cassel in the UK and Doubleday in the US. The last quarter of the book picks up with Sir Denis Nayland Smith and Bart Kerrigan having witnessed Dr. Fu Manchu’s meeting with German dictator Rudolf Adlon. Der Fuhrer receives his final warning from the Si-Fan and is given one hour to leave Venice or else he will be assassinated. Smith and Kerrigan make their way through the villa and come upon the lotus room with the trap floor once more. Inside the room is Ardatha with a set of keys on a mission of mercy to save them from their fates. She leads both men out of the house giving Smith a key to lock the door behind him, but refuses to flee with them. Sir Denis quickly raises the Venetian police to raid the villa in the hopes of rescuing Rudolf Adlon who disappeared the previous night and has still not returned. The raid fails as the villa is deserted except for the steward who denies all knowledge of any Asian visitors and informs them the villa is the property of James Brownlow Wilton, an American newspaper tycoon, munitions manufacturer, and Nazi sympathizer (and a fairly transparent analogue of William Randolph Hearst). Mr. Wilton has just left his villa for his yacht, Silver Heels. To Continue Reading This Article, Please Visit The Black Gate on Friday, October 11.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Sax Rohmer’s The Drums of Fu Manchu was first serialized in Collier’s from April 1 to June 3, 1939. It was published in book form later that year by Cassel in the UK and Doubleday in the US. The third quarter of the book picks up with Ardatha having risked her life to warn Bart Kerrigan to leave Venice immediately. The beautiful Eurasian climbs through the startled Englishman’s window in his canal-side hotel room and pleads with him to cease interfering in the Si-Fan’s plans to assassinate German dictator Rudolf Adlon. While Kerrigan’s mind reels at the thought that Ardatha shares the same feelings for him as he does for her, the two are interrupted by the sound of footsteps outside. They fall silent fearing she has been followed, but when the footsteps pass, the two fall into one another’s arms and make love in their desperation. After Ardatha departs into the night, Kerrigan first fears for her safety and then is overcome with guilt at the thought that she acted the part of a decoy who kept him from his duty of watching over Sir Denis. He rushes to his room and finds Smith has disappeared. Kerrigan is forced to realize that while he made love with Ardatha, Sir Denis fell into the hands of the Si-Fan and their efforts to protect Rudolf Adlon from assassination have been compromised as a result. TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE NEXT FRIDAY.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Sax Rohmer’s The Drums of Fu Manchu was first serialized in Collier’s from April 1 to June 3, 1939. It was published in book form later that year by Cassel in the UK and Doubleday in the US. The second quarter of the book picks up with a weary Sir Denis Nayland Smith contemplating whether he is too old to continue warring with Dr. Fu Manchu and the Si-Fan. Their conflict has stretched for nearly thirty years and the Si-Fan is growing in strength while Nayland Smith is growing old. Chief Inspector Gallaho of Scotland Yard brings news that galvanizes Smith back into action. Dr. Martin Jasper, research director of Caxton armament factory, has received his final notice from the Si-Fan. Smith, Bart Kerrigan, and Gallaho immediately depart for Jasper’s Suffolk estate, Great Oaks. Naturally, they arrive too late. The staff of the great house is in an uproar as their master has barricaded himself in his laboratory and is believed to be dead. Breaking through the barricade, they discover the latest victim of the Green Death is not Dr. Jasper, but his Japanese employer, Mr. Osaki. While interviewing the staff, Smith learns Dr. Jasper had a frequent Eurasian visitor - a woman whose description does not match Ardatha, to Kerrigan’s relief, but rather Fah lo Suee, the now deceased daughter of Fu Manchu. TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE ON FRIDAY.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Sax Rohmer’s The Drums of Fu Manchu was first serialized in Collier’s from April 1 to June 3, 1939. It was published in book form later that year by Cassel in the UK and Doubleday in the US. The book marked a welcome return to the first person narrative voice in the tradition of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmesmysteries and constituted a return to the series’ roots with a close re-creation of the very first Fu Manchu episode, “The Zayat Kiss” in the opening chapters of the new novel. The narrator is Fleet Street journalist Bart Kerrigan, a Dr. Petrie substitute who is an old friend of Sir Denis Nayland Smith from his days as a colonial administrator. As in the first book, our narrator is disturbed one night by the unexpected arrival of Nayland Smith seeking shelter from the Si-Fan agents on his tail. Smith has once again returned to London to save the life of a man marked for death by the Si-Fan. Smith and Kerrigan rush to the home of Sir Malcolm Locke. Sir Malcolm’s house guest, General Quinto is Italian dictator Pietro Monaghani’s right hand man. Quinto has foolishly disregarded his three written warnings from the Si-Fan. Upon Smith and Kerrigan’s arrival, they learn the General has mysteriously died from what Smith calls “the Green Death.” TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE ON FRIDAY.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Last year Skyhorse Publishing commemorated the centennial of Bram Stoker’s death by collecting his three lesser known horror novels in one massive volume edited by Stephen Jones and published under the title, The Lost Novels of Bram Stoker. The title is a bit of a misnomer since none of these books can really claim to have been lost. Although having recently read all three in sequence, one may be able to make a convincing argument that at least a couple of them deserve to be buried. The Jewel of the Seven Stars (1903) opens the collection and is far and away the best of the three titles. Often referred to as Stoker’s Mummy novel, it concerns reincarnation, possession, obsession, and even a Biblical damning of those who dare too much. This well-written novel recalls Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing style far more than Stoker’s early triumph with Dracula, but that is hardly a fault. The style is more modern and the pacing and characterization are excellent until the stilted finale which falls surprisingly flat. This opinion appeared to have been universal for Stoker’s publisher later deleted a lengthy chapter with background information (which was published separately as a short story) and had the author rewrite the ending. Regrettably, this only made matters worse for the revised chapter is an unconvincing happy ending that convinces no one. Stoker seemed to be building toward a sense of doom with the Divine Hand of Justice smiting the participants in this sacrilegious rite with the same sense of inevitability as befell Lot’s wife and the wayward citizens of Sodom in the Old Testament. Yet somehow he seemed unable to carry it off convincingly. Rather strange coming from the author who created the defining vampire story with its juxtaposition of Old World religion and superstition outstripping the Modern World’s rationalism and science. TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE ON FRIDAY.