"Tono-Bungay (1909), by H. G. Wells, is a realist semi-autobiographical novel. It is narrated by George Ponderevo, a science student who is drafted in to help with the promotion of Tono-Bungay, a harmful stimulant disguised as a miraculous cure-all, the creation of his ambitious uncle Edward. As the tonic prospers, George experiences a swift rise in social status, elevating him to riches and opportunities that he had never imagined, nor indeed desired."
Novel by H.G. Wells, serialized in the English Review and published in book form in New York in 1908. Considered one of his most successful attempts at a social novel in the vein of Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray, Wells' tale is a panoramic view of an unravelling society. It is narrated by young George Ponderevo, who leaves college to help his Uncle Edward market Tono-Bungay, a worthless medicine. The medicine becomes a huge commercial success, causing George to reflect on the sickness at the heart of a society that lets itself be so easily duped. He begins to search for a new order to replace the old one, a quest that leads him to dangerous aeronautical experiments. At the end of the novel, George sails down the Thames to the open sea, toward the hopeful new world that awaits him. - The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Tono-Bungay (1909) is widely regarded as Wells's finest novel, combining futuristic science fiction and contemporary social satire. In it, George Ponderovo is apprenticed to his Uncle Edward, a dynamic chemist who invents a bogus medicine, Tono-Bungay, and earns a vast fortune. But as he witnesses Edward's spectacular rise, he also contemplates the corrupt English society that allows his uncle to wield so much power. No other writer has the breadth of Wells to encompass both George's personal breakdown and the full panorama of a degenerate imperial society.