Thursday, March 11, 2010

Premature Book Review: The Devil Rides Out

Another by Dennis Wheatley, The Devil Rides Out is the predecessor of To the Devil a Daughter, though the two are virtually unrelated.

This one oddly enough, I have not seen the movie of, so it is fresh and new to me, or so I thought. Much of the story is similar to "Daughter" and several times I felt I was rereading. This one, however, gets right down to business. The problem is a Satanic cult, and before you get through ten pages, you know the deal.

One of the fun things about this one is similar to a comment Yoo-Hoo Tom made on the movie review of To the Devil a Daughter a few weeks back. It is very Call of Chthulhu-like, in that the protagonists are normal people. One, the Duc de Richelieu, is an educated former adventurer with a smattering of occult knowledge and skill. Rex van Ryn is an American friend of the Duc. He is the tank of the story. De Richelieu even, in true Lovecraftian hero style, goes to the library to refamiliarize himself with rites and symbols that might lead them to solving the mystery.

Thus far, the book is superior to "Daughter" in many ways. The supernatural is less common knowledge, and far less believable to the uninitiated. Even after witnessing The Art at work, Rex is hesitant to believe just anything. Also, this book takes on a less Christian tone, and de Richelieu expounds on how there are numerous world religions that have similar tenants, and all are just different explanations of the same powers of good and evil. Also, The Devil Rides Out is less spy novel than To the Devil a Daughter. Wheatley was, primarily, a spy novelist, and World War II came between these two books. It is natural that "Daughter" would be more spy oriented. Don't get me wrong. "Daughter" turned out to be a lot of fun, but this one is proving to be more horrific already. If you want to read about devil worshipers and the people out to stop them, this is your book. If you are perhaps more GURPS-minded, you might prefer To the Devil a Daughter.

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