Fu Manchu

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Dr. Fu Manchu is a fictional character introduced in a series of novels by British author Sax Rohmer during the first half of the 20th century. The character was also featured extensively in cinema, television, radio, comic strips and comic books for over 90 years, and has become an archetype of the evil criminal genius while lending the name to the Fu Manchu moustache.

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Characters

Fu Manchu

A master criminal, Fu Manchu's murderous plots are marked by the extensive use of arcane methods; he disdains guns or explosives, preferring dacoits, Thuggee, and members of other secret societies as his agents armed with knives, or using "pythons and hamadryads... fungi and my tiny allies, the bacilli... my black spiders" and other peculiar animals or natural chemical weapons.

In the 1933 novel, The Bride of Fu Manchu, Fu Manchu claims to hold doctorates from four Western universities. In the 1959 novel, Emperor Fu Manchu, he reveals he attended Heidelberg, the Sorbonne, and Edinburgh. In the early books, Dr. Petrie, believed that Fu Manchu was around 70 years old in 1911 at the time of their first encounter. This would have placed Fu Manchu in the West studying for his first doctorate in the 1870s.

According to Cay Van Ash, Rohmer's biographer and former assistant who became the first author to continue the series after Rohmer's death, "Fu Manchu" was a title of honor, which meant "the Warlike Manchu." Van Ash speculates that Fu Manchu had been a member of the Imperial family who backed the losing side in the Boxer Rebellion. In the earliest books, Fu Manchu is an agent of the secret society, the Si-Fan and acts as the mastermind behind a wave of assassinations targetting Western imperialists. In later books, he vies for control of the Si-Fan which is more concerned with routing Fascist dictators and halting the spread of Communism. The Si-Fan is largely funded through criminal activities, particularly the drug trade and white slavery. Dr. Fu Manchu has extended his already considerable lifespan by use of the elixir vitae, a formula he spent decades trying to perfect.

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