"It is impossible to give any idea of the verve with which the story is told. The most original novel of the year!"--The Manchester Courier.
"Mr. Boothby never allows the interest of their doings to drop from first page to last; and he tells his tale in a pleasant, brisk fashion that carries the reader along, and is as convincing a vehicle as could be chosen for the relation of strange adventures such as befell the hero and his friends."--London Times.
p. (Three slow strokes down the centre of the back, and one round each ear.) When it first came into my mind I was at a loss who to trust in the matter. I thought of Vendon, but I found Vendon was dead. I thought of Brownlow, but Brownlow was no longer faithful. (Two strokes down the back and two on the throat.) Then bit by bit I remembered you. I was in Brazil at the time. So I sent for you. You came. So far so good."
He rose, and crossed over to the fireplace. As he went the cat crawled back to its original position on his shoulder. Then his voice changed once more to its former business-like tone.
"I am not going to tell you very much about it. But from what I do tell you, you will be able to gather a great deal and imagine the rest. To begin with, there is a man living in this world to-day who has done me a great and lasting injury. What that injury is is no concern of yours. You would not understand if I told you. So we'll leave that out of the question. He is immensely rich. His cheque for
While the romantic adventure lover gets some action in this book, the actors are still to stiff eh polite to each other, and curing this would have shortened the book by half. The mystery buff will find a somewhat flat and contrived plot that is clearly written to introduce Nikola. Definitely not five points.
Guy Boothby, Author is indeed deserving of greater recognition in this, the Twenty-First Century. His prose, while not immaculate [some clauses end in prepositions!], is nonetheless just the thing for a summer afternoon on the terrace.
This, the first in the Dr. Nikola series, gives a foretaste of the adventures yet to come, but begs the question -- what does Nikola WANT?
HEAVILYdosed with a romantic subplot, this story is quite typical for this A.C.Doyle contemporary. Doyle always regretted that his "historical" works were less popular than the Holmes canon and the reader can definitely see the author groping for mass-market popularity.
This said, Nikola has indeed entered the "Wold Newton" universe as a super-villain, and his heroes ought to do likewise.