Dr. Fu Manchu, a respected Chinese physician, is awarded custody of Lia Elthram, a young Caucasian girl. Shortly after, during the Boxer Rebellion, his wife and son are inadvertently killed by Jack Petrie, a British officer. The doctor, who is unable to properly adjust to the situation, becomes deranged and vows to avenge the death of his family by destroying the Petrie family and the entire white race. He raises and teaches the young girl to share his hatred.
Retreating to Tibet, the doctor establishes Subtly, his sinister organization of evil through which he provokes tensions between East and West. Stories depict his attempts to achieve vengeance; and the efforts of Scotland Yard Inspector Sir Dennis Nayland Smith to thwart his plans. Based on the character created by Sax Rohmer.