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A Bid for Fortune

Guy Newell Boothby

Book Overview: 

This book is the first in a series of five and introduces the good doctor himself. Dr Nikola Is a criminal mastermind with an occult twist and like much fiction of that era this book and the following are more about how others fall under his spell and into his web. Here we have an adventure and love story that sweeps us from Australia, the South Seas, the Middle East and rural Hampshire with our lovestruck hero constantly battling against Dr Nikola and his cohorts. The sense of mystery and the exotic settings are exceptionally well portrayed and give the book a nostalgic appeal for the days of imperialists and hardened empire builders.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .elieve they are called—holding shields in their claws, looked down on passers-by in ferocious grandeur. From behind the gates an avenue wound and disappeared into the wood.

Without consulting me, my old charioteer drove into the inn yard, and, having thrown the reins to an ostler, descended from the vehicle. I followed his example, and then inquired the name of the place inside the gates. My guide, philosopher, and friend looked at me rather queerly for a second or two, and then recollecting that I was a stranger to the place, said:—

"That be the Hall I was telling 'ee about. That's where Sir William lives!"

"Then that's where my father was born?"

He nodded his head, and as he did so I noticed that the ostler stopped his work of unharnessing the horse, and looked at me in rather a surprised fashion.

"Well, that being so," I said, taking my stick from the trap, and preparing to stroll off, "I'm just going to invest. . . Read More

Community Reviews

With a nod towards Conan-Doyle’s Moriarty, Boothby’s book presents Dr Nikola, a master villain with grand plans and the world in the palm of his hand. A mysterious and supernatural figure whose control over other men’s lives is spectacular.

The Preface seems to promise a book which places the villain

Boothby is no Edgar Wallace or Sax Rohmer but this story has enough resonance with them that I enjoyed it a lot. I'm looking forward to trying more of his books.

I never heard of Guy Boothby until randomly finding him on my Kindle (I liked the cover), but now consider me a fan. This is the first of five books concerning Dr. Nikola, evil mastermind. It was written shortly after Doyle's "Study in Scarlet" and you can see the influences. But this book is not a

In the style of a Boy’s Own Magazine story of colonial derring-do, this novel is replete with late-nineteenth century assumptions about race and gender. The novel is driven by the narrative rather than by character or social or political thought. Hatteras, the Australian pearler turned sleuth, is mo

Published in 1895, A Bid for Fortune (aka Dr Nikola's Vendetta) is a thriller featuring the first of many appearances by evil genius Dr Nikola. The convoluted plot is daft as a brush, with way too many coincidences in order to give the good guy some chance of winning I can't decide whether the good

I quote Crow T. Robot “Is it just me, or did nothing happen?”

This book has been described as a “Victorian forerunner to Fu Manchu” and to me that in itself was a recommendation. Say what you will, think what you like, but I think Sax Rohmer's stuff is a ton of fun. I had high hopes for Dr. Nikola t

About what I should have expected from 19th century Australian pulp fiction but, the idea of an erudite, cosmopolitan, amoral, criminal mastermind, who is never without his beloved cat, was hard to resist. I suppose, the narrator's continual casual racism shouldn't be surprising in a work of this pe

Awful pacing, awful resolution. I expected a conflict between the burly manly hero and the manipulative mesmerist, but all I got was a bunch of scenes where characters recap off-screen action to each other.

A romance/thriller/crime/adventure story. Our hero is a down to earth everyman australian who inexplicably switches to a Holmes level detective whenever the plot calls for it, and gets involved in the nefarious plans of Dr. Nikola through a sequence of badly plotted coincidences.
Our villain Dr. Niko

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