A classic of the horror genre, Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out pits the powers of good against the forces of evil as the Duc de Richelieu wrestles for the soul of his friend with the charming but deadly Satanist, Mocata. Mocata has the power to summon the forces of darkness and - as the Duc and his friends will find - is willing to call upon ever-increasing horror until thundering hooves herald the arrival of the Devil Himself. The book was also made into a classic cult horror film in 1968, starring Christopher Lee and Charles Gray.
©2012 Dennis Wheatley (P)2012 Audible Ltd
I had long been aware of Dennis Wheatley's occult novels, but only recently decided to give one of them a try (I'd first read of them in an interview with Black Sabbath's bass player, Geezer Butler, on whom they exerted a big influence). For some reason I was under the impression that _The Devil Rides Out_ is a novel in the "occult horror" genre and that Wheatley is a horror writer, but I realized that I was mistaken by the time I was about a third of the way into the story. _The Devil Rides Out_ is not a horror novel, as I had expected. However, I wasn't at all disappointed. This is a solid, first-rate thriller that I found immensely enjoyable. Wheatley in the end is probably more Ian Fleming than Stephen King (although his prose style is a bit more lush than either of those writers), and I would be willing to bet that he influenced many authors in the first wave of modern thriller writing (Frederick Forsyth, Ken Follett, etc.).
The narrative is structured thus: A young man comes under the influence of a cult leader who gives off the appearance of a Crowleyesque charlatan and pretender but who nevertheless possesses considerable charisma and personal magnetism. He is clearly evil, but those who fall under his sway are unable to see it. The first part of the novel revolves around the attempt of this young man's friends to intervene on his behalf and get him out from under the influence of this black magician; to rescue him from the clutches of the cult. I won't say whether or not the attempt is successful, because I want this review to remain spoiler-free. But the second half of the novel is a wildly suspenseful race-against-time wherein the protagonists (good guys) attempt to thwart the above-mentioned "magician" from conducting a bloody human sacrifice to Satan. Again, keeping it spoiler-free, so I won't say anything more about the outcome. Suffice it say that Wheatley had very good commercial instincts and he really knew how to turn out a pulse-pounding, ripping good story. I you like a good thriller and don't mind the exotic element of Satanism (which Wheatley definitely does NOT put in a positive light) thrown in, then you will probably enjoy this story.
It is almost unbelievable that such a wild story about Satanism and human sacrifice would be published in the 1930s, and garner such a wide and enthusiastic readership!
Nick Mercer's voice is a perfect fit for this novel. No complaints on that score.
"A Good Listen"
This 1930`s horror story still has the power to chill. Dennis Wheatley is an excellent storyteller and despite careful explanations of occult practices, well researched by the author, one`s attention is always engaged and the adventure enjoyed. I first read this book in the late 40`s. It was a good read then and is a good listen now.
Gripping, Exciting, Occult
The night time in the library when the evil forces try to take Simon.
Brilliant reader. The characters were clearly defined by his reading and amazingly consistent.
I was fascinated by the period drama aspect of the story, the aspects of occult and the pace and clarity of the writing.
I usually prefer modern crime or Agatha Christie but fancied something a little different. This was superbly written and so well read as to be a tour de force. Some aspects are a little too far fetched but that in part is the joy of the occult.
"Stay with it as the pace picks up"
Initially I found the building up of the story a little ordinary, not bad but somewhat formulaic. At the same time I didn't initially feel sufficiently invested in the character who was in jeopardy to really feel the tension. However, once I got about a third of the way in there are some brilliant set pieces and the characters had grown on me enough that I cared about their plight. I had to listen to the last 2 hours or so in a solid block, so it had really picked up by the end. The conclusion was perhaps a little unsatisfactory, but I honestly can't think of a better way to do it, so I don't really think I can heavily criticise it for that.
The narration was a bit patchy at times, Nick Mercer sometimes seemed to be confused about which character was speaking and on at least one occasion read one of the characters names wrongly! Pretty solid overall though.
"Old Fashioned As Hell But I Loved It..."
Only 3 words... Moi... You are asking the impossible... My favourite tea as a child was "Alphabetti Spaghetti" on toast...
Being of the age when Dan Brown and Stephen King provide me with my type of books I am more than surprised at how much I loved listening to this book... To be honest I don't think I would have stuck with the printed version until the end but having it read so well for me meant I ended up listening for much longer periods than I planned, I like to sit with a coffee and a couple of biccies listening to thirty minutes at a time usually! This book absolutely reeks of the time when it was written by Dennis Wheatley, I had never heard of him before being told how good a writer he was by a lady neighbour who is in her 70's. At times the narrators version of an American accent brought a smile to my face but overall he did a very good job of the narration. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject around which it is written, and also who may want to experience how thriller writers wrote "back in the day"...
This is my first experience of a book written around the subject of the occult, so I cannot compare to any other book. I will definitely be buying the other book by Dennis Wheatley "To The Devil A Daughter which is also available from the brilliant Audible!
I could not find any real fault with this narrator except his slight inability to maintain an American accent throughout the passages where it was required.
Be very careful who you choose as your friends, if you aren't there may be the devil to pay...
Can't wait to hear "To The Devil A Daughter" also written by Dennis Wheatley.
"Good fun, but so dated"
I read this when I was in my teens and thought it brilliant. Looking for something to listen to on a long journey, I thought it would fill the bill, and it did. Dated, improbable...yes, but it's still good fun. I would recommend to anyone who likes the occasional 'ripping yarn'.
Its good stuff, slightly ridiculous upper class British people caught up in tussle with a fiendish Satanist.
Its very much of its time and needs to be listened to as such, but its a classic of British Horror and I enjoyed it.
"Rides in a clown car"
The devil rode out and ambled to a halt. I was reliably informed this was really scary and would freak me out! What went wrong? It was all, "Jolly good, tally ho, how now brown cow", fops getting into devil worship and realising that, wait....., it's bad! Pretty naff I'm afraid.
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