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    Fu Manchu vs. the Axis

    This is not Rohmer's best or even his best Fu Manchu, but it is in a way the most bizarre. Fu Manchu threatens various Axis figures, in particular Rudolf Adlon, a thinly disguised Adolf Hitler. Nayland Smith, Fu Manchu's adversary, attempts to protect Adlon/Hitler, rather to the reader's exasperation, prompting a wish that Fu Manchu would just get on with it and kill the monster. But this was written before the war, when it was not quite possible for most people to see what a monster Hitler was. As a thriller the story thrills quite competently, but one can't help but read it through a layer of knowledge which perhaps reverses the sympathies Rohmer intended.

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