Titan Books, Jun 2 2015, $9.95
In London Peter Wellington hires American Brian Merrick to work under Sir Denis Nayland Smith who is away on a dangerous overseas mission. Ebullient Merrick looks forward to the job having met Nayland Smith at his father the US Senator’s home two years ago.
In a much lesser of two evils Hobson’s choice, Nayland Smith’s current objective is to prevent the apparently resurfaced after years in hiding Fu-Manchu from achieving his first step to world domination: gaining control of China from the Communists. As the trail leads to Egypt and Manhattan; Wellington, Merrick and their American allies fear Nayland Smith has been out in the cold too long in his obsessive pursuit to stop Fu-Manchu or has been diabolically replaced by their fiendish adversary.
Though over the top (as usual for this series), this Fu-Manchu early Cold War thriller (see The Shadow of Fu Manchu) is an exciting pulp fiction that provides an intense glimpse of a world on the cusp of nuclear winter. Fast-paced from the moment Merrick obtains the job, the story line never slows down until after the final confrontation. Series fans will appreciate this entertaining entry as Fu-Manchu’s foes abandon the official Kennan’s containment policy while fearing their field leader is an enemy replacement.