The Creation of Fu Manchu

The legend was not always a legend. Before the First World War, it was a fact that the warren of narrow streets and alleyways in the neighborhood of West India Dock Road, Pennyfields, and Limehouse Causeway formed a no-man's-land which honest citizens hesitated to penetrate after dark. It was a fact that the Metropolitan Police honored the area with double patrols. The precise toll of lives lost in that sombre labyrinth cannot be estimated. The region housed an Asiatic community, firmly entrenched and largely criminal, which lived by laws foreign to and older than the laws of England. This was the secret empire controlled by the fabulous, but fictitious, Dr. Fu Manchu.

Or was he entirely fictitious?

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-- Cay Van Ash and Elizabeth Sax Rohmer. Master of Villainy, A Biography of Sax Rohmer, ed. R. E. Briney. Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1972.

Sax Rohmer wrote four accounts of the creation of Fu Manchu. A fifth account, in Master of Villainy, was written by his wife, Elizabeth,  and his friend, Cay Van Ash. Their account is based on his notes.


Copyright 1997 - 1999 Lawrence Knapp. All rights reserved.