I think the author was inspired
to create the fictional Ralestone
family by the historic William
Ralston,confederate, who emigrated
to Brazil after the American Civil war....
Well, the author is hard on oriental
cultures, but that is a flaw of the times, specially on pulp fiction.
He is NOT as hard on the chinese as
R. Sabatini is on the Spanish.
Besides, considering how dumb the heroes, the police, and the british in general are portrayed, one might
say Sax Rohmer is hard on the british, too...
Also, Sax Rohmer has much more imagination and style than Sabatini.
Nice and thrilling.
I am firmly persuaded it was the inspiration for the Star Trek episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
At first, I just couldn't see how could anyone dislike this story.
The story is just the purest form of SF story, a story nicely depicting the Extra-ordinary intruding on the ordinary, and doing ir in a very natural way. There are people, however, that plainly dislike pure SF, they like military, or spy stories spiced with SF props and scenery, hospital stories with SF spice, but not pure SF at all.
It their close-mindedness, and their loss....