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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Title: A Bid for Fortune

Author and Title: Guy Boothby. A Bid for Fortune: or, Dr. Nikola's Vendetta

First Edition: London: Ward and Lock, 1895. 1 volume, cr. 8vo., 5s.


Summary: The first of Boothby's many thrilliers. The novel opens with a meeting in London between the mysterious Dr. Nikola and three men: he secures their cooperation in a plot which he does not divulge. In Sydney, Richard Hatteras, a rich young pearler, decides to spend his fortune back in England. He sells out and takes a steamer to London: on board he meets the colonial secretary Wetherell and his daughter Phyllis. Hatteras and Phyllis (predictably) fall in love, but her father forbids the match. Wetherell's stay in London gets cut short after a disturbing sighting of Nikola. Meantime, Hatteras coincidently meets Nikola in a restaurant, visits his baronet uncle's decaying estate, and rents a yacht at Bournemouth. He chances to rescue the young Marquis of Beckenham and the two become friends. Hatteras suspects the man's tutor, Mr. Baxter, is not who he seems. Back in London he sees Baxter and Nikola meets, thereby justifying his suspicions. Hatteras plans to return to Australia accompanied with the Marquis and Baxter. On the way to the boat, Nikola drugs Hatteras. He catches up with the ship in Italy but Hatteras and the Marquis are held captive in Port Said for weeks. Finally freed, they race to Australia where they find an impostor Marquis unsuccessfully wooing Phyllis. Hatteras exposes Baxter and the fraud. Soon after, Phyllis is kidnapped. Nikola wants a Chinese relic in return. Hatteras and Wetherell track Nikola to an isolated island where they rescue Phyllis but lose the relic. Back in Australia, a grateful Westerell allows Hatteras—now Sir Richard due to the death of his uncle—to wed his daughter. Nikola escapes. (TJB)

References: BL; EC


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