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The Devil Rides Out (Black Magic #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  1,180 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
29 Apr 1935 - 4 May 1935
Black Magic is still practised in all the great cities of the world. This novel tells with macabre detail of a beautiful woman caught in a web of Satanists, of a young man brought to the verge of madness through his dabbling with the powers of evil.

As in Dennis Wheatley's The Forbidden Territory we meet the Duke de Richleau, Simon Aron, the Princess
Mass Market Paperback
Published by Arrow Books (first published 1934)
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Bill  Kerwin

A tale of upper-class Satanists who, while pursuing their decorous mischief, make the mistake of targeting one of the three good friends of the esteemed occultist and adventurer, the Duc de Richleau.

Although the tale is old fashioned, and the novel is marred by casual English public school snobbery and xenophobia, it cannot be denied that Wheatley really knows how to tell a story, and that the elegant Duc de Richleau, touring the rural roads of England in his Hispano-Suiza, is a memorable aristo
Nov 10, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up a set of Dennis Wheatley paperbacks recently a car boot sale for a few pounds. They were sixties editions, bashed about a bit, pages yellowing, with faded covers depicting pistol-toting Tom Jones-type men and scantily-clad women clutching bed-sheets to their bosoms, wrapped in a thick elastic band (the books, not the bosoms). A sudden wave of pure pleasure swept over me as the floodgates of memory opened, drowning present cares with images of happy school holidays spent in the compan ...more
Apr 07, 2008 Dfordoom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-gothic
Dennis Wheatley is one of those authors who has gone from topping bestseller lists to complete oblivion in the space of less than 30 years. As recently as the 1970s he was one of the most widely read authors in the world, with total sales exceeding 50 million copies. He has a reputation for jingoism, racism, sexism and insanely reactionary political views, and for his unswerving belief that Satanism is a major force in the modern world and that we should have nothing to do with it because it’s r ...more

Description: 29 Apr 1935 - 4 May 1935: Black Magic is still practised in all the great cities of the world. This novel tells with macabre detail of a beautiful woman caught in a web of Satanists, of a young man brought to the verge of madness through his dabbling with the powers of evil.

As in Dennis Wheatley's The Forbidden Territory we meet the Duke de Richleau, Simon Aron, the Princess Marie Lou, and other characters. From London to the West Country, from the slums of Paris to a Christian mon
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first saw the 1968 horror film "The Devil Rides Out" several years back at one of NYC's numerous revival theatres, I thought it was one of the best Hammer films that I'd ever seen, and made a mental note to check out Dennis Wheatley's 1934 source novel one day. That resolve was further strengthened when I read a very laudatory article by Stephen Volk on the book in Newman & Jones' excellent overview volume "Horror: Another 100 Best Books." Now that I have finally read what is generall ...more
The Reading Bibliophile
I got this book for 10 pence at a thrift shop in Belfast (yellow pages, cover wearing out) - I could not afford anything else, being in dire straits at the time -, I started reading it just for the sake of reading something and I loved it! The narrative is very good and I was quite frightened by the story's atmosphere. Living in Belfast at that time was somehow frightening as well.
While Dennis Wheatley may have been quite a sensation in his day, I certainly hadn't heard of him until I came across the Hammer Productions film based on this novel. I've owned the film for years now and frankly love it, and because it's indellibly imprinted on my psyche, I'm going to talk about the movie more than I normally would in a book review. Normally, I feel that the two artistic media are of equal merit and should generally be kept apart and considered as separate entities even when th ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Mel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Literary equivalent of Hammer Horror. It struck me early on that this would make a classic Hammer Horror Movie, with the emphasis on 'ham'. And if fact, it did, with Christopher Lee playing the hero for a change, as Duke de Richleau. That is pretty much all you need to know. However, I will make a few personal observations. Its a group of upper class rich stereotypes from a bygone era that I am not sure ever even existed. They go charging about the English country side and dashing off in conveni ...more
Mar 05, 2015 L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wheatley - człowiek o ponoć podłym charakterze i okropnych poglądach - był swojego czasu bardzo poczytnym autorem. Zupełnie się temu nie dziwię! Sprytnie prowadzi narrację, kończąc rozdziały w takich momentach, że serce wali z ekscytacji i należy wręcz czytać dalej. Kibicujemy dobrym i mądrym głównym bohaterom, którzy podążają za satanistami, poszukującymi fallusa, a ów ma sprowadzić na ten świat kolejne wojny i klęski urodzaju. Drodzy, jeśli potrzebujecie lekkiej lektury, wspaniałej rozrywki i ...more
An action packed thriller focusing on the practice of black magic. Good fun but some infuriatingly dense characters.
Dec 10, 2012 Mel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because I am very fond of the Hammer film, and wondered how the book compared. I have to say I enjoyed it tremendously. It was a very fast read, it was written quite simply, but there were very effective passages of action as well as lots of interesting discussion between the characters on the nature of magic and good and evil. . I was amused by the introduction which mentioned how in order to do research he met with both Crowley and Montague Summers, and that it was Montague ...more
Jan 28, 2011 Craigb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Erm...I read this because my Dad said Dennis Wheatley was one of the masters of horror. Yes Dad....maybe before the 1970s. But I decided to placate him and read at least one of Wheatley's novels. Well this book will NOT scare you. Maybe because we've become familiar to more psychological horrors since the Exorcist. That said this book is extremley well written and Wheatley does have a gift for narrative prose. It will not scare though and read at your peril.....!!!!
Neil Davies
Sep 30, 2010 Neil Davies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still the best Black Magic story I've read! Excellent.
Kathy Davie
Apr 29, 2016 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal, horror
First in the Black Magic series and sixth in the Duke de Richleau series revolving around best friends: the Duke de Richleau, Simon Aron, the Princess Marie Lou and Richard Eaton, and Rex Van Wyn.

This ARC was sent to me by NetGalley for an honest review.

My Take
This is a very religious book, but more along the lines of Light versus Dark, Good versus Evil, and the Powers of Good.

I should think Simon has an “inkling” that he’s dabbling in wrong things when he tries so hard to keep de Richleau out o
Given the author's dire warnings in the foreword, I have to wonder why he would continue to write in such detail about abhorrent and dangerous practices. If you believe in God, you'll notice from some statements made throughout that Wheatley did not - a strangeness, for a writer of an occult thriller about Satanists and black magic, though possibly not quite as strange as one denying the existence of the Devil. (He posits "earthbound spirits" and "elementals" instead.) And there's a lot of the b ...more
Jul 18, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Ενδιαφέρον και ευκολοδιάβαστο μυθιστόρημα τρόμου παλαιάς κοπής, ό,τι πρέπει για να περάσει ευχάριστα η ώρα. Η αλήθεια είναι ότι δεν τρόμαξα ιδιαίτερα ούτε ένιωσα κάποιο άγχος για την κατάληξη των πρωταγωνιστών, σίγουρα όμως ευχαριστήθηκα την σκοτεινή περιπέτεια στην οποία έμπλεξαν και όλες τις αναφορές γύρω από τον σατανισμό και την μαγεία που υπήρχαν στο βιβλίο. Φαίνεται ότι ο συγγραφέας μελέτησε πολύ πριν κάτσει να γράψει την ιστορία αυτή.

Ο Δούκας Ντε Ρισλώ και ο νταβραντισμένος και θερμόαιμο
Philip Boyes
Sep 08, 2015 Philip Boyes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
A group of very self-righteous, incredibly rich people swan around in a desperate race against time to stop some Satanists doing - well, it's never entirely clear what - while taking frequent breaks to sample the finer things in life, lecture each other condescendingly, patronise women and complain about the bourgeois, poor, socialists... Maybe those pesky Satanists intended to vote for Jeremy Corbyn? The hysterical tone of the ultra-privileged heroes comes straight out of Tory central casting. ...more
Louise Sinclair
Mar 07, 2016 Louise Sinclair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly detailed book for those interested in Satanism. First read this aged 14 and was captivated.
A set of wealthy people set out to rescue a friend wno has fallen into the clutches of a powerful satanist.
Mocata will stop at nothing to obtain The Talisman of Set and unleash the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on the world.
To locate the talisman he needs the unwilling assistance of Simon Aaron and hypnotises him into becoming a satanist.
Led by the Duc de Richleau, his friends begin a race agains
Aug 31, 2014 Justin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, first-reads
I won a copy of the book from a First Reads giveaway.
I didn't realize how dated this book is (1934), but I was interested in the occult elements. That said, the writing is old fashioned, but not as dense as I thought. The basic plot is Duke de Richleau and his buddy Rex try to rescue their friend Simon from Satanists. It sets up a fast paced thriller with a fun situation in some areas, but the whole believabilty of it was a stretch, particulary when the Duke must convince Rex, Richard, and the r
Sep 27, 2012 Wilson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Occult, Qabalah, Devil-worshipping, Astronomy, Astrology, Christianity, Black Magic, Yoga, Mysticism among many other areas of thought get mixed together in this famous adeventure thriller from Dennis Wheatley. All of the various modes of thoughts are given equal validity within the narrative and Wheatley basically seems to treat them all as existing within his created world. This gives the novel a dichotomous appearance, on one hand it is a stiff upper lip English adventure yarn, but between th ...more
Jul 16, 2010 Fungii rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Modern day (well, 1930's) Satanists in London, England manage to draw a young man into their fold and it is up to his friends, Rex and the Duke, to save him from their wily clutches. Had Dennis Wheatly stuck to this basic premise, he probably would have had a cracking good story. Unfortunately, he had to throw in some astrology, numerology, hypnotism, astral projection, vampires, Egyptian mythology, Catholic dogma and who knows what else into the mix and it doesn't quite come together. Some of i ...more
Sep 06, 2016 CQM rated it really liked it
This book rattles along at a fair old pace. There's not an ounce of fat on this, no unnecessary sub plots or digressions, it's good guys racing against the clock to save their chum from the grip of some dastardly satanists.
Hammer made it into an excellent film starring Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Patrick Mower and Paul Eddington among others and you can see why they would have chosen this as a likely movie.
Thrills aplenty if you can quiet that part of your mind that pipes up with comments su
Dom Mcintyre
I found things to love and things to hate about this one.
It's a good old-school ripping yarn, with a square-jawed hero caught up in devilish goings-on. Intriguingly, Wheatley uses names coined by William Hope Hodgson for his Carnacki stories.
Stylistically, it has dated horribly; the Good Guys are white, wealthy and sound of body (and the resolution of almost every problem along the way depends on their wealth, connections, collection of vehicles that would make Bruce Wayne blush...); the Bad Guy
Brian Steed
Wheatley is turning into a guilty pleasure. Hokey, occult-based action, with liberal helpings of Wheatley’s infamous jingoism scattered throughout. Wheatley’s obvious belief in the superiority of the British people in particular (and the Caucasian race generally) is an interesting archival record of the time in which he wrote, and it’s hard to be offended by a dead writer whose viewpoints are so obviously dated. Just sit back and laugh at the throw-away paranoid racist lines!
Jan 29, 2015 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is special. It's one of a handful about which I said upon finishing: The movie was better.

The movie was one of the best Hammer films ever, so there's that.

The book is bigoted, rambly, and much like one of SS Van Dine's Philo Vance books, obsessed with impressing the reader with how smart the author is.

All that being said, I still recommend it. Like so many classics, now that I've read it I understand so many other literary and cinema references.
I really only have one thing to say about this novel

These Satanist went through an awful lot of trouble for one dehydrated Egyptian penis on a string.

I think that says it all.
Äsruþr Cyneaþsson
The story is well written and Wheatley had clearly performed a great depth of research. The descriptions of various elements of the occult are reasonably accurate -- far more than many modern depictions. Yes, there is a gloss over for the creation of a compelling narrative, but otherwise the tale only seems mundane because it is so well grounded in the reality of the occult arts.
Fiza Pathan
Nov 24, 2012 Fiza Pathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book : The Devil Rides Out
Author: Dennis Wheatley

This was the first time I came across a book by Dennis Wheatley & I am glad to say i was not disappointed.
The novel is intense & the plot is intriguing as well as a revelation. The book is a classic where it comes to the Thriller/Horror genre. The author has done full justice to the main theme of the novel which is, 'Black magic' or as a more informed person would put it, the dangers of the 'Left Hand'. The novel narrates in a very educat
Oct 17, 2016 jjonas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, horror
An entertaining occult adventure.

Quite frankly I expected this to be a trash novel and kind of just decided to check it out for laughs. However, in my opinion it was competently written, entertaining, in a word, a lot better than some Bram Stoker's Dracula (which was super boring).

The occult theme was obviously the main topic here, and it worked for me, even though I can't say whether from the point of view of someone who knows something about the occult it's just a hotch-potch of confused mum
Chris Fielding
An enjoyable, well-written novel that managed to weave the ideas regarding witchcraft in the 1950's into a simple mystery.
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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 about Dennis Wheatley...

Other Books in the Series

Black Magic (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Strange Conflict (Duke de Richleau, #9) (Black Magic, #2)
  • The Haunting of Toby Jugg (Black Magic, #3)
  • To the Devil a Daughter (Molly Fountain, #1) (Black Magic, #4)
  • The Ka of Gifford Hillary (Black Magic, #5)
  • The Satanist (Molly Fountain, #2; Black Magic, #6)
  • They Used Dark Forces (Gregory Sallust, #8) (Black Magic, #7)
  • Unholy Crusade (Black Magic, #8)
  • The White Witch of the South Seas (Gregory Sallust, #11) (Black Magic, #9)
  • Gateway to Hell (Duke de Richleau, #10) (Black Magic, #10)
  • The Devil and All His Works (Black Magic, #11)

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“...age-old evil, tireless and vigilant, cloaked from the masses by modern skepticism, yet still a potent force stalking the dark ways of the night.” 8 likes
“Take that absurd fool Elipas Levi who was supposed to be the Grand High Whatnot in Victorian times. Did you ever read his book, The Doctrine and Ritual of Magic? In his introduction he professes that he is going to tell you all about the game and that he’s written a really practical book, by the aid of which anybody who likes can raise the devil, and perform all sorts of monkey tricks. He drools on for hundreds of pages about fiery swords and tetragrams and the terrible aqua poffana, but does he tell you anything? Not a blessed thing. Once it comes to a showdown he hedges like the crook he was and tells you that such mysteries are far too terrible and dangerous to be entrusted to the profane. Mysterious balderdash my friend. I’m going to have a good strong nightcap and go to bed.” 0 likes
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