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The Devil Rides Out Unknown Binding – 1961

113 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (1961)
  • ASIN: B001OPFNEI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,006,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Charles B on 21 April 2007
Format: Paperback
James Hilton (Goodbye Mr Chips, Lost Horizon) described "The Devil Rides Out" as "The best tale of its kind since Dracula" and I don't think he was far wrong. Many believe it to be Wheatley's finest work and it's a classic of its kind. I first read the book many years ago and on reading it again, it has lost none of its power to grip.

The book is the second, in published terms, to feature DW's hero the Duke de Richleau, and was his first ever black magic novel. It was a huge bestseller in the 1930s when it first came out, and continued to be a bestseller until he went out of fashion in the 1980s/1990s. Fortunately DW is now experiencing something of a resurgence, and well done Wordsworth for bringing this out in a cheap but elegant reprint (a good first edition would cost you several thousands of pounds !).

It's full of 1930s atmosphere, skilfully written and well researched too - although Wheatley never practiced magic himself, he met with many of the most famous occultists of his day (Aleister Crowley, Rollo Ahmed etc) in his endeavour to make the book as authentic as possible.

In The Devil Rides Out, the Duke and a friend find that one of their number (Simon) is missing from a reunion, and it turns out that he has fallen under the influence of a black magic sect. At first disbelieving the Duke, his friends soon discover that he is right when he says that magic still exists and that the powers of darkness are still alive and very real, as they fight a series of terrific earthly and occult battles to save their friend's soul.

The book was filmed in the 1960s with Christopher Lee taking the lead role as the Duke in one of his few appearances as a `goodie', and while Lee was first rate, for my money the book is superior to the film.

If you're grey haired and read it in your youth, it's worth reading again. If you're about to read it for the first time, I envy you. You're in for a treat !
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. A. Cure VINE VOICE on 9 May 2006
Format: Paperback
Widely regarded as one of the finest occult thrillers ever written, and almost certainly his most famous work, the Devil Rides Out is a rollercoaster of an adventure, set in post WW1 England, and chronologically the third in sequence to feature "Those Modern Musketeers", De Richleau, Simon, Richard and Rex.

Concerned with their friend's absence, The Duc and Rex pay a visit to Simon's house in North London, where they come across a bizarre gathering of strangers. Suspecting foul play, the Duc ignores Simon's claims that he has joined an astrological society, and quickly discovers that he has in fact, joined a satanic sect, led by the powerful Mocata. What follows is a game of cat and mouse as Simon is pulled between the powers of light and darkness in a battle of the astral plane. Dinner at the Ritz, fine wines, brandy, cigars and vintage sports cars are all part of a rich backdrop in what amounts to a phenomenally well researched and gripping thriller. Stand out scenes include the sacrifice to Satan on Salisbury Plain, the car chase, the mesmeric words of De Richleau and of course, the infamous night in the Pentangle, where the friends encounter the Angel of Death himself.

The book was to inspire the sixties Hammer version, and though the film was not quite up to the quality of the original, it did feature a great performance from Christopher Lee, and of course, the most chilling line captured on film by the powerful Charles Gray: "I won't be back, but something will."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G. D. Busby on 14 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It must be close to forty years since I last read one of Wheatley's novels and cannot now remember if this was one. Certainly, 'They Used Dark Forces', 'The Satanist' and several Roger Brook novels come to mind but not this one. Therefore, it was a good reintroduction to the author. The writing really does seem dated now but then it was published three-quarters of a century ago and, on that premise, is still entertaining. The locations have to be seen in the context of a country without motorways; indeed, with remarkably few motor-cars on the road and it, therefore, useful in conjuring an image (no pun intended) of what the Home Counties and Wiltshire was like in the early thirties.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Bentley VINE VOICE on 3 July 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being under 30, I had heard of the Devil Rides Out and Dennis Wheatley without really knowing what it was all about, so finding that such an inexpensive edition of the work was now available from Wordsworth's excellent line of supernatural stories, well I had to buy it, didn't I?

What surprised me is that once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down. The tale is of the Duc de Richleau's battle for the soul of his friend Simon Aron, the fate of a young girl, and ultimately the fate of the world, as he takes on satanist Mocata and his entourage. Having read a biography of Aleister Crowley, we can see that he was the touchstone for Mocata, although it is only a surface representation as Mocata is presented as a villain, rather than as a human being. As far as I know, the representations of magic are well researched, with Wheatley representing both white and black magic and the will to power.

Because of the era it was written in, there are no shades of grey in the story, just as the magic used in the tale is black or white, so is the morality and Wheatley is clearly from the same stable as the other great British adventure writers like Buchan, Sapper and Ian Fleming. It also reminds me of the excellent Carnacki stories by Hodgson. As such you may feel that some of the views are a little dated. I didn't notice anything that I thought was necessarily objectionable as I do with Fleming. But the story is written at such a rollicking pace that it is impossible not to get swept up.
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