Quotes from The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer

Dr. Fu-Manchu

So, I recently finished reading The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer. I rather enjoyed this book. It was well written, and the character of Dr. Fu-Manchu is intriguing. It isn’t any wonder he has infiltrated our popular culture.

The chapters of the book were originally serialized short stories that were first published in The Story-Teller (1912-1913) and then in Collier’s Weekly (1913). Rohmer turned those stories into the first Fu-Manchu novel. Many more were to follow. They became wildly popular, and Rohmer was able to make a nice living off the sales of his books.

Dr. Fu-Manchu employs his deep, arcane knowledge of chemistry, plants, insects, and animals, and even hypnotism to assassinate key figures in the British government that are trying to undermine the growing power of China. In the book, he has found temporary residence in London, and two British men, Nayland Smith of the Scotland Yard, and his friend Dr. Petrie, are fast on his heels.

Sax Rohmer

At any rate, enjoy my favorite quotes from the book!


No one spoke for a moment, and in the silence I could hear the whispering of the Thames outside–of the Thames which had so many strange secrets to tell, and now was burdened with another.


“Love in the East,” he had said, “is like the conjurer’s mango-tree; it is born, grows and flowers at the touch of a hand.”


There are few states, I suppose, which exact so severe a toll from one’s nervous system as the anticipation of calamity.


There was a world, I learned, upon the confines of which I stood, a world whose very existence hitherto had been unsuspected. Not the least of the mysteries which peeped from the darkness was the mystery of the heart of Karamanèh. I sought to forget her. I sought to remember her. Indeed, in the latter task I found one more congenial, yet, in the direction and extent of the ideas which it engendered, one that led me to a precipice.


And I was a medical man, who sought to build up a family practice!—who, in short, a very little time ago, had thought himself past the hot follies of youth and entered upon that staid phase of life wherein the daily problems of the medical profession hold absolute sway and such seductive follies as dark eyes and red lips find no place—are excluded!


“Dr. Fu-Manchu,” replied the former, “was the ultimate expression of Chinese cunning; a phenomenon such as occurs but once in many generations. He was a superman of incredible genius, who, had he willed, could have revolutionized science. There is a superstition in some parts of China according to which, under certain peculiar conditions (one of which is proximity to a deserted burial-ground) an evil spirit of incredible age may enter into the body of a new-born infant. All my efforts thus far have not availed me to trace the genealogy of the man call Dr. Fu-Manchu. Even Karamanèh cannot help me in this. But I have sometimes thought that he was a member of a certain very old Kiangsu family—and that the peculiar conditions I have mentioned prevailed at his birth!”


That she valued human life but little was no matter for wonder. Her nationality—her history—furnished adequate excuse for an attitude not condonable in a European equally cultured.


Imagine a person, tall, lean, and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green: invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect . . .
Dr. Fu-Manchu! Fu-Manchu as Smith had described him to me on that night which now seemed so remotely distant—the night upon which I had learned of the existence of the wonderful and evil being born of that secret quickening which stirred in the womb of the yellow races.

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