The creation of fin-de-siècle pulp fiction author Guy Boothby, Dr Nikola was one of the iconic characters who loomed large over the literary landscape in this heady, creative period. Though he survives essentially as a cult character now, in his own time he was as well-known to the reading public as Arthur Conan Doyle’s enduring character, Sherlock Holmes, and connections between the two were frequently made at the time. But what distinguished Boothby’s character was that rather than adhering to the heroic conventions of the standard Victorian protagonist, Nikola was one of the first anti-heroes to capture the public imagination. A distinctive combination of melodramatic villain and mad scientist encapsulated in a refined, debonair and disconcertingly foreign exterior, Nikola was the archetype of the international master criminal, and the prototype for the antagonists of Ian Fleming’s well-known Bond character. Accompanied by his familiar, a fiendish black cat named Apollyon, Nikola graced the pages of a series of five novels which turned upon the machinations of the devilish doctor against a breath-taking backdrop of exotic, international locations. Written by the Anglo-Australian Boothby who was the epitome of the fin-de-siècle celebrity author, the Nikola novels were hugely popular in their own day and are highly representative of the then-new phenomenon of the best-seller, but are now hard to come by. This new edition is the first to include all five of them, together with original illustrations from the magazine and first novel publications.