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The Ka of Gifford Hillary

(Black Magic #5)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  319 ratings  ·  23 reviews
I am in prison awaiting trial for the murder of my wife’s lover... My version of what occurred is so utterly fantastic that it is certain to be taken as an attempt by me to show that I am mad. But the doctors have already agreed that I am sane; so for myself I see no escape from the gallows. Nevertheless, I swear by Almighty God that all I am about to dictate into a record ...more
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published December 23rd 2013 by Bloomsbury Reader (first published 1956)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-gothic
Dennis Wheatley’s The Ka of Gifford Hillary, published in 1956, is one of the “black magic” novels for which he was most famous although in fact the majority of his very large literary output consisted of non-occult thrillers. While there is no black magic as such in this book there are certainly supernatural, or at least paranormal, forces at work here.

Sir Gifford Hillary is the chairman of a large shipbuilding firm. He is asked by the Minister for Defence to undertake on an unofficial task. Th
Alan Smith
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's sad that Dennis Wheatley is so neglected today. He was one of the most entertaining, lucid writers of his time. And as well as being able to write action thrillers that made "Sapper" (of Bulldog Drummond fame) or Dornford Yates run away and hide in shame, he had another gimmick to make his stories even more interesting.

You see, in Wheatly, his suave aristocratic clubland heroes aren't just taking on Russian spies or nasty Nazis. No, they're after bigger game - Satan and his earthly minions
Sarah Sammis
Jan 20, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ian Copsey
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being fascinated by spiritualism since a wee young lad who was dragged (thankfully) out of a Methodist Church and into a Christian Spiritualist church, I devoured this book. My approach and understanding of spiritual matters, shunning the traditional religious view which to me is absurd, has been the driver for me to learn more. The Ka of Gifford Hillary is a tale of a wealthy man, Sir Gifford, who finds that he has an 'out of body' experience in the most literal sense. His spirit, or 'ka', has ...more
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Big Dennis Wheatley fan here. In this book, he explores the concept of the "ka" or soul and what might happen if body and soul are separated. Brace yourself for lots of post world war II history, attitudes and lengthy descriptions at the get-go.
I have only read a few of his Black Magic books but intend to read as many of them as I can despite a wide streak of political incorrectness that permeates them all. Great adventures if one is a patient and tolerant reader.
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not Wheatley's best frankly, but interesting for the premise alone.
Gifford Hillary is murdered, yet his soul lives on in limbo, searching for a way to re-inhabit his (now buried) corpse.
This itself makes for a fairly engaging read, but Wheatley insists on peppering his novel with pretentious Daily Mail type politics, inserted like a literary version of the "pottery wheel" tv shorts that the BBC used to paper over the cracks in programming in the 70's
Christine Blake
Despite a problematic author ( though his views were not that unusual for his time and class, sadly) and a bit of a rushed ending, this was an exciting and enjoyable story.
Chris Hampshire
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sheer audaciousness in actually getting you to follow some of the more preposterous aspects of the plot mark this book out for comment.

This book is even more full than usual of Wheatleys howlingly amusing and refreshing "political incorrectness" and love of all things British.It only really gets a little bit long winded in the chapter where the board are discussing defence strategy (and boy is Dennis piling on the politics for us here)for me he could have chopped 10 or fifteen pages and the
Oct 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Well, indeed, another Wheatley. Like eating gum, quick, easy, and enjoyable. The story of a wealthy toff, murdered by his wife's lover, whose spirit (Ka) wonders the Earth for a week, collecting evidence, and then returns to his preserved (but buried) body. His wife suicides, he finds the truth about his family, and he is accused of murder, but, just in the nick of time, he is found innocent, and released.

Moderately compelling, entertaining, even creepy in parts.
Michael Madden
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: supernatural
A different departure for Mr Wheatley, building from his experience in the war. A different twist on the supernatural, as the tale explores what happens after death, and what really is your Ka. Wheatley's attention to detail brings the period and characters to life with his usual panache, and although not as suspenseful as some of his other novels this book still excels.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Dennis Wheatley. Outdated and corny. Wooden prose, clunky dialogue. Bunch of toffs getting themselves in the poo. A rather abrupt denouement. But meanwhile Wheatley has taken you on a whirlwind ride, and it's been a heap of fun. Nothing like a Wheatley for a bit of undemanding fun when you need a break from "Ulysses" or "À la Recherche du temps Perdu".
Chris The Story Reading Ape
This was my first inkling about how people may have out of body experiences, did I try? Of course I did, I was young and stupid then, now I;m older and probably just as dumb, but at least I don't try doing out of body anymore.
Joe Writeson
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book of the genre I ever read whilst still at school, I went on to seek out every book I could by the author.

An excellent book.

Sadly lot of his work is now 'dated' but well worth reading whilst wearing a 'sixties mindset'.
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Occult horror type of book by someone who knows what they are talking about.
(My mother has a set of these red leather bound volumes. Very nice and also quite rare.)
Read this book years ago and loved it.....well worth a read....
Garry Le Maistre
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: occult
This book is simply one of the best I have ever read. It propelled me into the world of Dennis Wheatley. Sadly, his work seems to be overlooked these days.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Reads more like a thriller than an occult novel, but the premise of a 'dead' person narrating a tale is an interesting one, and the plot twists and turns right to the end.
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good read. I have read several of Wheatley's books and enjoyed them.
One of many books from this book club and this author. Not sure when I finished this, but guessing 1973
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great book, read this book about twenty years ago and someday I will read it again.
Peter Jochinger
How grim would it be to be buried alive.
Mr Wheatley writes about this in the drama novel about Gifford Hillary.
Certainly very entertaining.
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
excellent book !!!
Reg Pellow
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Emilia Estall
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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

Other books in the series

Black Magic (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Devil Rides Out (Black Magic, #1)
  • 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 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)