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To the Devil, a Daughter (Black Magic) Paperback – August 26, 2014
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“One of the most popular storytellers of the century.” ―The Daily Telegraph
“The greatest adventure writer of his time.” ―The Daily Mail
“He forcibly abducts the imagination.” ―Howard Spring, Evening Standard
“The word thriller has never been more aptly bestowed.” ―Lionel Hale, The News Chronicle
About the Author
Dennis 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.
Top customer reviews
And the author maligns Crowley terribly and unfairly in the story, but that was certainly nothing Crowley wasn't used to in his own time and nothing he, himself, didn't do to others such as Waite. So what can one say but that the magics one sets in motion ever returns to its source.
It should be noted that the setting is a bit outdated culturally and perhaps is best approached in the same way one would read or watch some other "period piece". That, in itself, holds a certain amount of sociological interest for us although it may not appeal to others. Still, we really quite enjoyed it.
The Silver Elves authors of Elven Silver: The Irreverent Faery Tales of Zardoa Silverstar
This novel begins with Molly Fountain, a writer of mysteries and spy thrillers and believed by some to be the beautiful spy Molly Polloffski, living in the French Rivierra where she encounters the young girl who goes by the name Christina (whose real name is Ellen Beddows). Christina has been sent to live there to hide from some men who want to get her by her father. In addition, Christina exhibits certain strange behaviors in that during the night-time she becomes someone other than herself and animals shy away from her. Molly's son John decides to take Christina out and learns of her strange behaviors while out gambling one night. While there they encounter the Canon Copley-Syle who Christina knew from her home in England. Christina is subsequently kidnapped by the Marquis de Grasse and his son Count Jules, smugglers who seek to send her back to England. Together with Colonel Verney (known as "C.B."), a friend of Molly, John seeks to re-capture Christina. In order to escape the grasp of the Marquis, John must give Christina a ring in order to pretend that they are engaged and in that manner helps prevent the demonic forces from overtaking her. Meanwhile, in England it turns out that Christina's father Mr. Beddows is a very wealthy man who has made a vile pact with the Canon to obtain his riches. C.B. visits the Canon and encounters his diabolical laboratory, featuring the dread humonculous, as it is revealed that Copley-Syle is a practitioner of Satanism. Ultimately it is revealed that he seeks Christina to sacrifice as a virgin on her twenty-first birthday. Together with C.B. and Beddows (who has been a life-long Satanist but recently has a change of heart), John must rescue Christina from a "cave of bats" where she is to be sacrificed by Canon Copley-Syle, the chief Satanist, and his band of Satanists.
This novel is extremely enjoyable for all those who enjoy the novels of Dennis Wheatley. Throughout the novel, Wheatley offers an interplay of the forces of light and darkness played out through action scenes. Wheatley further reveals much occult knowledge in the doings of Copley-Syle. Further, this novel offers a warning to those who would dabble in Satanism against the forces of light.
For modern audiences, this reads a bit dully: mother and son don't so much talk *at* each other as throw hefty paragraphs of exposition at one another's heads. Sometimes the dialogue almost seems normal, but those are normally the 'charming and witty' phases of interaction--some friendly joking between mom and son or between mother and former coworker.
Plotwise, think satanism combined with spy thriller. There's kidnapping, and dark conspiracies and druggings and drubbings and everything you could possibly want--including the three-pages-from-the-end climax. Everything possible goes wrong for our heros, which means a decent amount of suspense.
Wheatley seems to preach at you about Satanism, and this is forgiveable only because he's done his homework, so if nothing else you feel like you learned a lot about WWII and their beliefs in occult practices.
It's a cute read; the love story is kind of thin, and meddling Molly Fountain gets a bit ditzy at the end, but it's got an unpredictable plot, a suitably creepy bad guy, scary--without excessive grossness--rituals, and no sex at all. If you like Stephen King (what I call 'New Horror') you will not care for this book at all--it's not disgusting enough or weird enough. If you like a good adventure with a bit of occult--think Buchan's _Dancing Floor_--this is a solid and fun read.