A brawny coolie from the filthy waterfront of Hong Kong was Emperor of Asia and master of the vast reaches of Russia. Armed with mysterious new weapons which made the bravest man craven, he marched ruthlessly to conquer the world, and to win the proud daughter of the Muscovite nobility who scorned his amorous advances… Jimmy Christopher—Operator 5 of the United States Intelligence—had given America more than enough warning to prepare for the barbaric, invading yellow hosts. And when all seemed lost—when great cities were razed and countless thousands butchered—Operator 5 finally ignored restraining bureaucracy and pitted himself in a single-handed battle to wrest our nation from the Coolie Emperor’s bloody grasp!
“War-Masters from the Orient” is the twenty-fourth Operator 5 novel, originally published in March 1936. This novel would appear to be Tepperman’s fourth contribution to the Operator 5 magazine.
At the beginning of the novel, the US is engaged in its seventh month as a participant in the “Second World War”… and it is only 1936. The war is part of the League of Nations sanctions. Although this country is not named, it is probably Etoria (i.e. Italy) from “War-Dog of the Green Destroyer,” Tepperman’s novel published in the magazine two months before this one.
The enemy, though, this time is the Union of Asiatic States under the command of its dictator, the Leopard. This dictator was apparently a “Hong Kong coolie,” using the dated language of the magazine, who mysteriously rose to power. Frederick Davis used the “Yellow Empire” as the attacker of the US in several issues, although the extent of the empire was not defined; in this one, there is no mention of the Yellow Empire. In any case, the Leopard is now in charge and has also conquered much of the Soviet Union too.
He has also set his eyes set on conquering the US. Strangely he attacks the east coast. (Note: another article in the original magazine noted that 60% of the US’s wealth and 70% of its manufacturing was on the east coast. Perhaps this was included to help justify an east-coast attack.) In the first-ever foreword in an operator 5 novel, another motivation for attacking at this time is to intercept a woman courier who is bring a message of warning to Operator 5 of the dangers of the Leopard. The woman has become the unfortunate love interest of the dictator.
The Asians attack the east coast with twelve ships; the US attack with 109 vessels, plus lots of air support. The victory is lopsided as the Asian destroy most of the American ships and planes without the Americans firing a shot. The Leopard leads his forces into New York City, again, without the armed forces putting up any fight from their impregnable defenses lining the harbor. It almost seems to the Americans that the Asians are using sorcery to win.
With the American army routed, Operator 5 forms the Minute Men of 1936 who will play a major part in the Purple invasion. They use guerilla warfare which seems to stymie the Leopard’s magic. Meanwhile, Operator 5 has discovered the Leopard and his crew are using a gas that destroys the will of men. He procures a vial of it, analyzes, and finds a counteragent (strychnine and caffeine). He equips the Minute Men with his remedy; they charge the Asians who have won battle after battle without resistance and cause them to flee in terror.