57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
a classic back in print !,
This review is from: The Devil Rides Out (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural) (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 !