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The Devil Rides Out

(Black Magic #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,441 ratings  ·  136 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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 10th 2007 by Wordsworth Editions (first published 1934)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,441 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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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 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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." And now that I have finally read what is gene ...more
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Mar 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
An action packed thriller focusing on the practice of black magic. Good fun but some infuriatingly dense characters.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Kathy Davie
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, paranormal
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
Philip Boyes
Sep 08, 2015 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
Neil Davies
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Still the best Black Magic story I've read! Excellent.
God knows what I'd rate this now... As a teen I loved them. Bizarrely the one author my parents refused to let me read in those days - so of course I did.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ei olnud just kaasahaarav, võib-olla sellepärast, et temaatika on juba üsna äraleierdatud ja Wheatley jutuveeretamisvõimekus on vähemalt siin veel väga konarlik (üks ta varjasemaid romaane ka). Samas tõelistele pulpi-sõpradele oleks see ilmselt väga hea valik. Raamatust saame teada, et head (sinised) vibratsioonid võidavad kurja väe. Kuulake rohkem Beach Boys'i Good Vibrations'it. Muidugi on igast peatükist tunda, et Wheatley on hiljem teistele palju kobedamatele raamatutele-filmidele inspiratsi ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, horror
My awareness of this Dennis Wheatley occult classic comes from repeated viewings of the 1968 film version of the story, which as a huge Hammer Horror fan I have seen multiple times. I'd always wanted to find out how the novel ranked alongside the Christopher Lee starrer, and it turns out to be very nearly as good. I haven't encountered Wheatley previously and his writing style is a little bit dated in the long-winded passages of description every time the character enter a new setting, but other ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: esoteric-occult
Interesting and totally different for me. Wish I could find the movie now. 3.5 stars
Louise Sinclair
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 28, 2011 rated it liked it
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.....!!!!
Roy Kenagy
Rather as if H. P. Lovecraft scripted a Hallmark Channel Mystery of the Week, but without Cthulhu. Black magic adventure yarn, a bestseller back in the day: guilty fun, done in by casual racism, sexism, and classism. Not unusual for the time (1934), but jarring nonetheless. I did enjoy finding out about Hispanos.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A classic horror tale written in the mid-1930s. By today's standard it is almost satire and campy. There are long monologues as the characters lecture each other. It is about a Satanic cult active trying to find the powerful talisman of Seth. There are stereotypical characters: a French duke on the lam from France due to royalist views, a Jewish British financier, and an intrepid American who compensates for his naivete with an energetic demeanor.
The book was a hoot to read, but better more cont
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
George K.
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Benjamin Kahn
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Very dated book. Not scary, very hokey. Rex, the American, is a stereotype of perhaps how the English viewed Americans - a risk-taking, clean-limbed man of action. Some of my favourite corny Rex lines:

"Say, that sounds pretty grim!"
"Holy Smoke! You are bats or else I am."
Oh, nuts! I don't believe such things."
"Holy Smoke! Then we're in a proper jam!"

De Richleau is the knowledgeable ex-patriate nobleman, who understands exactly what's going on, and spends an afternoon in the library boning up on
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
First published in 1935, Dennis Wheatley's now classic story of Satanism and Black Magic has all the flaws of popular genre fiction of the period - two dimensional characters, wild coincidences, and dialogue that ranges from the merely clumsy to the surreally awful. The heroes have no flaws, (except for apparent stupidity at key moments), and are all wealthy, sophisticated, and Anglo-Saxon ( or Aryan, if you wish); the villains are all despicable and safely foreign. Wheatley, like his spiritual ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, horror
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 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was ok
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
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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)
  • 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)
“...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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