A Bid for Fortune; Or, Dr Nikola's Vendetta is the first of Guy Boothby’s novels about the mysterious Dr Nikola, an occultist anti-hero seeking immortality and world domination.
This book is the first novel, in a series of five, about the mysterious Dr Nikola 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.
Hosting a small dinner at a fine London restaurant, Dr Nikola as the host explains why he called them together -- to execute his plans of revenge against a very wealthy someone who did him great harm. He offers each of them a large sum of money if they perform as he asks: ”I demand from you your whole and entire labour. While you are serving me, you are mine body and soul. I know you are trustworthy. I have had good proof that you are--pardon the expression--unscrupulous, and I flatter myself you are silent. What is more, I shall tell you nothing beyond what is necessary for the carrying out of my scheme, so that you could not betray me if you would. Now for my plans!”
A Bid for Fortune; Or, Dr Nikola's Vendetta was first published in 1895. 89.000 words, reading time approximately 7 hours, 25 min. Also available as audiobook, read by Peter John Keeble, running time: 7 hours, 38 min.
Guy Newell Boothby (1867–1905) was a prolific Australian novelist and writer, noted for sensational fiction in variety magazines around the end of the nineteenth century. He lived mainly in England. He is best known for such works as the Dr Nikola series, about an occultist criminal mastermind who is a Victorian forerunner to Fu Manchu, and Pharos, the Egyptian, a tale of Gothic Egypt, mummies' curses and supernatural revenge.