Dennis Wheatley’s first published novel, introducing his modern trinity of musketeers in the epicurean Duc de Richleau, financier Simon Aron, and the wealthy young American, Rex Van Ryn.
The Duc receives a coded message from his missing friend Van Ryn who, while hunting for treasure lost during the Soviet takeover of Russia, is now in prison somewhere in that vast country. Along with the Duc, good friends Simon Aron and Richard Eaton set off on a secret mission to secure his escape. Without official papers they lead a thrilling caper, hunted by the Secret Police, through Siberia and across the plains of Soviet Russia.
Dennis Yates Wheatley (1897 - 1977) was an English author whose prolific output of stylish thrillers and occult novels made him one of the world's best-selling writers from the 1930s through the 1960s. His Gregory Sallust series was one of the main inspirations for Ian Fleming's James Bond stories.
Born in South London, he was the eldest of three children of an upper-middle-class family, the owners of Wheatley & Son of Mayfair, a wine business. He admitted to little aptitude for schooling, and was expelled from Dulwich College. Soon after his expulsion Wheatley became a British Merchant Navy officer cadet on the training ship HMS Worcester. During the Second World War, Wheatley was a member of the London Controlling Section, which secretly coordinated strategic military deception and cover plans. His literary talents gained him employment with planning staffs for the War Office. He wrote numerous papers for the War Office, including suggestions for dealing with a German invasion of Britain. Dennis Wheatley died on 11th November 1977. During his life he wrote over 70 books and sold over 50 million copies.
Fun time capsule of 1930's adventure set in the Soviet Union prior to WW2. Being 80 years old, the style is a bit dated, and many parts were a tad predictable (although Wheatley did throw me for a few loops) but at the same time it's fascinating to read the opinions of Communism, Stalin, Imperialism, and the political predictions for the world before anyone could know what the future would hold just a few short years after the book was written. Modern books set in this era have author and reader hindsight to influence them.
This book was inspirational for authors like Ian Flemming that came along later to dominate the Spy-Fi genre in the 50's and 60's.
Having read several of Wheatley's later books featuring the same quartet of characters, it was fun to see the original tale (which unlike Devil Rides Out and the other Black Magic books, has absolutely zero supernatural elements). As usual, the Duke de Richleau was a spectacular character and stole the show when ever he was in a scene.
While I enjoyed it, I wouldn't recommend Forbidden Territory to anyone unless they enjoyed Wheatley's Black Magic books or enjoyed classic espionage/thriller stories. It's definitely not for everyone.
What made the experience of listening to The Forbidden Territory the most enjoyable?
It is enjoyable as it is another tale with the Duc De Richlou, Rex Van Rim and Young Simon,
it is another fight against Evil and Good conquers all .
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Forbidden Territory?
I love the chapters when the Trio get together to fight back.
Which character – as performed by Nick Mercer – was your favourite?
The Duc De Richlou
Any additional comments?
Another great Wheatley Tale
Would you listen to The Forbidden Territory again? Why?
Yes, like the story
What other book might you compare The Forbidden Territory to, and why?
Other Dennis Wheatley's. he is the master of this sort of fiction
Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Nick Mercer?
Just about anybody. Christopher Lee,
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Disappointment with reading
Any additional comments?
When I was a young man in the forces I read lots of Dennis Wheatley and would like to revisit more of this author. Voice characterisation really spoiled this reading I could not recognise the hero's I know well. Spoilt but still fairly enjoyable