- Paperback: 152 pages
- Publisher: Echo Library (March 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1406840068
- ISBN-13: 978-1406840063
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,180,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hand Of Fu-Manchu Paperback – March 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
My copy contained quite a few typographical errors. I contacted Echo Library regarding these, as well as plans to print more of the Fu Manchu series, but it sounds like there are none. As most of the remaining books are out of print, I truly felt like I was losing a friend when I finished this book.
In Rohmer's third book in the series, The Hand of Fu Manchu, the Chinese villain is up to his old tricks. As the story opens, Fu Manchu is assumed dead, but as is typical in these sorts of stories, you should never make such a presumption without a body. Soon enough, the heroes Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie (who bear more than a passing resemblance to Holmes and Watson) learn that Fu Manchu is alive though seriously wounded.
The book is actually an episodic series of adventures where the heroes and villains play cat-and-mouse in London. As with Rohmer's other books, this book is filled with demeaning language about the Chinese (and other non-whites), all of whom are considered sinister and duplicitous. An adult reader, wise to Rohmer's quaint views, might still enjoy the story if it is written well, like the Tarzan books (with their own antiquated views on race). Unfortunately, Rohmer is not really a good writer.
The principal flaw is that Smith and Petrie are dull characters. Smith is without flaws and seems to have no life outside of his mission to stop the "Yellow Peril". Petrie, at least, is able to notice women: he is, at the beginning of the book, engaged to the beautiful Karamaneh, though it is clearly a superficial love, as she seems to have no personality and really only exists to be constantly kidnapped and enslaved by Fu Manchu. Compared to such bland heroes, one has to almost cheer for Fu Manchu despite Rohmer's intentions; Fu Manchu is the more interesting character.
Even with Fu Manchu, though, we rarely get truly get great villainy. It is sort of like a Road Runner cartoon; you actually root for the coyote even if his schemes are doomed to fail. Actually, it's hard to fathom how Fu Manchu became one of the great villains in literature as Rohmer's writing is rather stiff and rarely exciting. I somehow made it through three Fu Manchu books, always hoping for something better. My constant disappointment, however, makes it unlikely that I will attempt a fourth. If you want to experience fun writing from this era, try the other writers I've mentioned.