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The Return of the Occult: Bloomsbury Re-publishes Dennis Wheatley’s Novels

dennis wheatley

Back in the 1950s, Dennis Wheatley was a big name in the pulp market. His first novel — The Forbidden Territory — was an immediate success. It was reprinted seven times in seven weeks, translated in multiple languages, and the film rights were brought by none other than Alfred Hitchcock himself. Thereafter, Wheatley wrote numerous bestselling novels. His most famous work is the celebrated black magic potboiler — The Devil Rides Out.

Outselling Agatha Christie, Wheatley was one of the most popular thriller and occult writer of his time. But like Edgar Wallace, he faded into oblivion soon after his death. His distinctive world of jumbled pulp and esoteric was forgotten. No doubt, that was largely undeserved. James Bond is still widely popular, but few readers are aware that Wheatley’s Gregory Sallust Series had substantial influence on Ian Fleming. As The Guardian rightly points out, Fleming borrowed three major elements from Wheatley — sex, snobbery and sadism.

Dennis Wheatley fans will be delighted to know that Bloomsbury Reader, which offers a large selection of out-of-print ebooks, is re-publishing his books in print and ebook format. They have published 20 ebooks and three paperbacks (The Forbidden Territory, The Devil Rides Out, and To the Devil a Daughter) in the first lot and more will follow. Click here to get the complete list of Wheatley books available from Bloomsbury.

dennis wheatleyThis is the first time Wheatley’s books are available in digital format. For those of you who love e-books, this is great news. Also, a lot of old pulp books are hard to find these days, like those written by Seabury Quinn. I do hope that Bloomsbury re-publishes them too.

Dennis Wheatley’s titles are published by Bloomsbury Reader on 10th October 2013; eBook GBP RRP: £6.99, Paperback RRP: £7.99;

With the retro trends getting popular again, Wheatley’s second innings should be a successful one. Moreover, his novels are tailor made for Hollywood. Hammer Films made some fine movies based on his books (The Devil Rides Out is a cult classic), but special effects were hardly the strong points of those films. With the highly developed modern CGI, remake of The Devil Rides Out and other Wheatley movies can yield phenomenal box office results. Wheatley’s novels — replete with satanic rituals, diabolic corruptions and political machinations — can make incredibly dramatic scripts.

Welcome back ‘The prince of thriller writers”. Thanks again Bloomsbury.

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Horror / Fantasy / SF / Reviews

Book Review: The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley

The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley Being the Author of The Devil Rides Out

Dennis Wheatley, who wrote more than sixty novels (horror/black magic, thriller, SF), is mainly remembered for one spooky bestselling horror extravaganza — The Devil Rides Out. Now, that’s rather disappointing for someone who was pretty much a Stephen King of his time. Wheatley wrote a lot of first rate thrillers and black magic novels (The Shadow of Tyburn Tree and Gateway to Hell are among his bests), but the Devil Rides Out simply overshadowed the rest of his works.

A Grand Story of Light and Darkness

A young man (Simon) and a beautiful woman (Tanith) get entangled in the web of evil Satanists. As they move towards damnation, Duke de Richleau fights a compelling war against diabolic forces to save their lives. The Duke takes on the suave Devil worshipper Mocata and gets involved in a high stake, perilous game that can destroy his soul. This powerful, action packed occult thriller moves with great speed, and intriguing twists. Wheatley’s brand of Satanism is a bit over-the -top thing, but it makes a great read. The author uses pentagrams, old panelled libraries, satanic orgies, and bull’s blood to scare the shit out of you. And yes, the Devil himself rides out on the back of his steed. It’s pure and refined hokum, but splendid entertainment.

The book has some highly innovative episodes like three people being subjected to a night of demonic attacks by Mocata. You don’t get to read stuff like that anymore. Also, be prepared for a decent dose of racism, sexism, and hopelessly reactionary political views.

All About Editions

Avoid new editions like hell if you want to get a feel of things Wheatley wanted to convey. Search Amazon for a bashed, yellowish edition printed in the sixties. This old school classic is a true reflection of Wheatley’s medieval mind; the Manichaean struggle he depicts can best be enjoyed between worn out covers.

The Hammer Hit

The Hammer film of the same name has reinforced the book’s reputation. Christopher Lee as Duke de Richleau and Charles Gray as Mocata delivered grand performances as the movie went on to become one of Hammer’s most successful ventures.

If you like Duke de Richleau, check out other books in this series:

The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley

The Prisoner In The Mask
Vendetta In Spain
The Second Seal
Three Inquisitive People
The Forbidden Territory
The Devil Rides Out
The Golden Spaniard
Codeword – Golden Fleece
Strange Conflict
Gateway To Hell
Dangerous Inheritance

Also, check Gregory Sallust series for black magic novels.

Download The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley ebook:
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Horror / Fantasy / SF / Reviews

Book Review: Uncanny Tales (The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult)

Uncanny Tales The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult

In the 1960s and 70s, Hutchinson were selling a million copies of Dennis Wheatley books every year. Wheatley’s occult books (including the classic The Devil Rides Out) were also made into films by Hammer. To bank on the author’s popularity, Sphere Books came up with a series called The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult. There were total 45 books in the series; Wheatley edited and wrote introductions for each one. The titles included occult themed novels as well as non-fiction works on the subject. Among the notable works in the series were three creepy volumes — Uncanny Tales 1, 2, and 3.

Most of the stories in The Uncanny Tales series are from the first half of the 20th century. Along with some short masterpieces, it offers a few little know yet delightfully spooky stories. Here are some pieces worth mentioning:

  • Clarimonde by Théophile Gautier: Romuald, a priest, falls for a beautiful and sensual woman who turns out to be a vampire.
  • Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu: A gothic novella about a female vampire. It’s somewhat marked by lesbian tones.
  • Ligeia by Edgar Allen Poe: A woman comes back from the realms of the dead and is transformed into her husband’s former wife.
  • The Snake by Dennis Wheatley: An eerie piece on black magic and voodoo set in Africa.
  • The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs: Needs no introduction.
  • Witch’s Vengeance by W. B. Seabrook: A cool story about witchcraft.
  • A Life for a Life by Dennis Wheatley: The author deals with Egyptian mummies and nightmares in his own signature style.

Uncanny Tales books are truly remarkable and worth hunting for.


Uncanny Tales 1

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
The Dream Woman by Wilkie Collins
The Tapestried Chamber by Sir Walter Scott
The Open Door by Mrs Oliphant
The Spectre Bridegroom by Washington Irving
Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe
Clarimonde by Theophile Gautier.

Uncanny Tales 2

Great God Pan by Arthur Machen
Witch’s Vengeance by W B Seabrook
Gavon’s Eve by E F Benson
Feet Foremost by L P Hartley
All Hallows by Walter de la Mare
Smee by Ex-Private X (A. M. Burrage)
The Angelus by William Younger
A Life for a Life by Dennis Wheatley.

Uncanny Tales 3

Afterward by Edith Wharton
The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs
The Miracle of Stigmata by Frank Harris
Playing with Fire by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Snake by Dennis Wheatley
The Trod by Algernon Blackwood
The Canary by F. Tennyson Jesse
The Hand by Theodore Dreiser
The Call of the Hand by Louis Golding
The Snow by Hugh Walpole
Lucky’s Grove by H. R. Wakefield. Continue reading