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To the Devil a Daughter (Molly Fountain, #1) (Black Magic #4)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  422 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Feb 1952 - 6 Mar 1952
Christina seemed no different from any other young girl: polite, attractive and a little shy.

But each evening, as darkness fell, the demonic Power within her betrayed its presence. And a terrible pattern of Evil began to emerge.

Miles away, in the mist and rain of the Essex marshes, a satanic priest has created a hideous creature. Now it was waiting ben...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 10th 2007 by Wordsworth Editions Ltd (first published January 1953)
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Disappointing, as I remembered reading Wheatley when I was a kid & finding it scary fun. But it's awful writing, with lapses into reactionary ranting and dialogue which is truly risible.

The idea that a writer can simply put down as literally Satanic everything he finds dangerous or distasteful is worth thinking about, though. Wheatley is rightly afraid of totalitarianism, but foolishly sees no evil - in fact, sees the ultimate good - in the English class system. Nobody could take his raving...more
When I was at school, Dennis Wheatley books (the horror stories not the historical novels) were all the rage. I had thrown all my Dennis Wheatley novels away except this one and read it again out of curiosity to see how it would come across more than 40 years on. I gained much the same impression as I had had when I was 14. Firstly, as almost anyone who is honest with themselves and free of intellectual snobbery should admit, Dennis Wheatley's ability to keep a reader turning the page is hard to...more
The book started off well enough, but took a horrid downturn on page 72. This is where the main character leaps from surmising that the girl she is helping suffers from some sort of personality disorder to dispassionately concluding she is possessed by the devil. This would be fine if Wheatley brought the reader with her, but the suspicion seems laughable because it comes out of nowhere. Plus, it would have been more entertaining if he followed the Ann Radcliffe school of suspense and kept the m...more
To the Devil - a Daughter, written in 1953, is everything you could ask for in a Dennis Wheatley novel. It has wicked devil-worshippers, outrageous conspiracies, and some amusingly lurid descriptions of satanic rituals. A businessman makes a deal with a satanic clergymen, and has his daughter Christina baptised into Satan’s church. Twenty-one years later, provided she is still a virgin, she is destined to be the centrepiece of a hideous satanic ritual. As she has been dedicated to Lucifer she un...more
Nick Pemberton
Typical Dennis Wheatley satanism story, lots of details of satanic rituals, heroic good guys, evil satanists. Nice Riviera & Essex locations too. My problem with Wheatley's writing is that it always feels slightly padded out, there's an awful lot of dialogue with characters describing what they're going to do & what they've done & what's going on, lots of telling, not showing. There are some good set-pieces such as what the villain has hidden in a crypt & an exciting climax too,...more
Derek Baldwin
The version I read had an even more salacious cover pic than this one does - one of those ones with the crystal ball etc. Anyway: this is by the Dan Brown of his day, and really quite fantastic. At one level it's the most awful guff. Some of the authorial opinions - not least the disdain for "swarthy" people, as Mr Wheatley tended to put it (and it gets much worse) - are pretty reprehensible. But this IS a cracking good read! The denouement is characteristically impossibly tense until, suddenly,...more
Stephen Osborne
This may have been a thrilling page turner when it first came out, but the years have not been kind. A LOT of talking. And thinking about what to do. When the action does happen, it's well done and exciting, but getting there is a chore. First, this is listed as "Molly Fountain #1", which I guess it is, but Molly only shows up in the first few chapters and then disappears until the very end. Sort of like saying "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was "Hedwig the Owl #1". And Christina acts S...more
Titus Hjelm
This was plain awful, even by Wheatley standards. Not even the anachronistic sexism, racism and commie-baiting was remotely interesting this time. It was just bad and took me ages to finish. This must be one of the few instances where the later film adaptation was actually way better.
Michael Sterckx
Read as a teenager. Off it's head, completely mad and authored by someone with dodgy Right wing autocratic and aristocratic sympathies. What a ripping yarn though!
This book was great fun. It was a pulpy 1950s adventure but I really did enjoy it. There were a lot of interesting asides in the book, in particular the repetition that just because someone was a relatively successful writer of fiction did not mean that they earned very much money, (when compared with say barristers!). The plot itself was not quite as exciting as "The Devil Rides Out" but still enjoyable. One of my favourite parts was when the old spy sat in the house of the occultist discussing...more
Jan 06, 2012 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys horror
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
Christina seemed no different from any other young girl - polite, attractive and a little shy. But every evening, as darkness fell, Christina changed amazingly. Dark, demonic power rose inside her and threatened all around her. As that terrible power began to emerge, it called out to the mist and rain of the Essex marshes. Hidden away beneath the stones of Bentford Priory, a hideous monster created by a satanic priest awaited a virgin sacrifice to bring it to life.

I have to say that I requested...more
Russell Smith
There is no doubt that Mr Wheatley pretty much created the modern perception of Satanists & ritual magic for the general public. Hammer definitely used his template for their films, and filmed a pretty different version of "To the Devil: A Daughter" in 1976.

The original story rips along like a contemporary kidnapping thriller with a vague Satanic bent till well after half way through the book. Then the serious occult elements come into play.

All the tropes are found throughout - the damsel...more
There were parts of this that were interesting, but it took a long time for the ball to get rolling. The book is very talky and unfortunately much of that is in third person or os relayed by a person after the fact.
I can't say this is one of the best books that I have read, but I can certainly say it's one of my favourites. A damn fine novel.
Danger Kallisti
Feb 12, 2008 Danger Kallisti rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of cheesy horror movies
Recommended to Danger by: Liz & James
Shelves: halloween
I have just one word for this: pulp. It wasn't very well-edited, and it certainly wasn't well-written. This is definitely an example of lowest-common-denominator 1950s grocery store paperback trash. Still, it was a quick read, and I don't think it hurt me too much. It was at least somewhat amusing, and I did kinda like the neon-pentacle scene. I never would have read it, and I certainly wouldn't have finished it, had it not been for the fact it was lent to me. I'm just glad that it's done.
John Bruni
Eh . . . I didn't care much for it. It's one of the rare instances of the movie being better than the book (and I didn't think very much of the movie, aside from Christopher Lee's awesome performance). Maybe it's me. In my old age, I've ceased to care about all the devil stuff, unless you're going for comedy. I'm more REPOSSESSED than EXORCIST these days. The book is well written, but I just couldn't get into it.
Both more disturbing and more explicitly reactionary than "The Devil Rides Out", this semi-sequel shows us an older, more bitter Wheatley. That being said, the anti-socialist venom is comical as often as it is offensive, and the man still knows how to make a roaring plot. Some of the revelations in the latter part of the book are pretty disgusting and closer to modern horror than Wheatley tends to go.
Chris Hampshire
As DW is generally acknowledged as an astonishing page turner,I'll skip any accolades and just warn the potential reader that Wheatley gets a little bit bogged down and lumpen in describing the young girls behaviour in the "riviera" section of the book at the begining.If you can fight your way through this you've got a ripping yarn to match,if not surpass "The devil rides out".

Michael Madden
Another good read from Wheatley. He again dips into his favoured subject if the occult, but creates new, somewhat lightweight characters. This does not detract from a strong plot and Wheatley's attention to detail in scene setting once again comes to the fore. Probably a bit dated these days, but great for a bit of nostalgia.
Adele Geraghty
A horror classic from the days when only the upper classes were depicted to engage in activity of merit and excitement. This can only be read as a period piece and since I collect classic supernatural horror, it was on my reading list. Not recommended as a gripping read, but rather an historical legacy.
I was given this book from net gally to review. This book I remember reading when I was much younger and loved it and I am so glad that it has been re- released again. From beginning to end this book is a real page turner.. If you like a good horror story this is the one for you.
a long time since I read this - really enjoyed it at the time. I read all this series in a short time and scared myself silly
Deboshree Chatterjee
it seems to me very flimsy way of depicting alchemy rituals... good for casual reads.. ;)
Tina Cousins
The start of the book was too long-winded and boring, couldn't get into it.
A little bit silly, but fun if you enjoy Hammer Horror type works.
☆ Ruth ☆
Another scary novel from Dennis Wheatley.
Alan Cragg
Dated but fun read, edge of a chintzy seat stuff
Great thriller!
Mike marked it as to-read
Oct 24, 2014
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Dennis Yates Wheatley (8 January 1897 – 10 November 1977) [Born: Dennis Yeats Wheatley] was an English author. His prolific output of stylish thrillers and occult novels made him one of the world's best-selling authors in the 1950s and 1960s.

His first book, Three Inquisitive People, was not immediately published; but his first published novel, The Forbidden Territory, was an immediate success when...more
More about Dennis Wheatley...
The Devil Rides Out (Duke de Richleau, #6) (Black Magic, #1) The Haunting of Toby Jugg (Black Magic, #3) The Satanist (Molly Fountain, #2; Black Magic, #6) The Ka of Gifford Hillary (Black Magic, #5) Strange Conflict (Duke de Richleau, #9) (Black Magic, #2)

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