Wheatley's best book/short story/series

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Wayne
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Wheatley's best book/short story/series

Post by Wayne » Sat 1 Apr, 2006 02:43:52

OK. it's been a while since I contributed to the library, so I thought a variation on my previous topic might be in order. Instead of Wheatley's worst book, how about members giving their opion on his best book,short story, and/or series? Some might nominate one of the dark magic books or one of the crime dossiers as their favourite. Perhaps the Duc, Brook, or Sallust series could fight it out between them for the best series. I must admit all three series are very difficult for me to choose from. They cover the eras in history in which I am most interested. The Duc series is especially good as it covers before, during and after the two World Wars. However, I must admit a sentimental leaning towards Roger Brook as a series favourite. How about other members.
Thanks,
Wayne

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Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 1 Apr, 2006 10:52:22

Riiight, let's go! The favourite series has to be the 'Duc de Richleau' books. The first DW that I ever read was 'The Forbidden Territory' and after that the sight of the names of de Richleau, Aaron etc on the back cover was enough for me to grab it without having to read the rest of the synopsis. Quite why the characters earned my affection in such a way, I don't know. They just did!
As to individual books, I have to split these up into straight thriller and black magic novels. My favourite of the supernatural thrillers has got to be 'Strange Conflict'. I re-read it recently and it was just as good as I remembered it. It is an enormously imaginative book, and DW's matter of fact prose manages to convey a bizarre premise with total believability. This is a major fantasy novel, and deserves to be much more widely known.
The best straight thriller has got to be 'The Golden Spaniard'. Gripping, moving and surprisingly even handed politically.
I have mentioned my favourite short story elsewhere on these pages. I think that it is called 'The Pick Up'.

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A very boring selection

Post by gloomysundae » Sat 1 Apr, 2006 19:37:29

I've only ever read the 'black magic' ones, but I certainly prefer the Duke and his entourage to 'Conkey Bill' and the curtain-twitchers. I'd go for "The Devil Rides Out" as being the one I enjoyed most, with '"Strange Conflict" not far behind - both were exciting and he created some marvellous set-pieces. I find the others all have their moments to greater or lesser degrees: Giff's struggles to get out of his coffin in The Ka Of Gifford Hillary are extremely well handled. Still haven't read The Irish Witch or Haunting Of Toby Jugg yet, so perhaps either of them will usurp "The Devil Rides Out."

Short stories: I've only read Gunmen, Gallants And Ghosts.. I guess I'd pick The Snake, but I must admit, I think he's more suited to novels.

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Post by Frank Linmarsh » Mon 3 Apr, 2006 12:25:27

I'm also a The Devil Rides Out fan - and have only read the Occult novels - and most of Uncharted Seas. Recently reread TDRO, To The Devil - A Daughter and The Satanist. TDRO wins hands down.
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Post by Alan » Thu 6 Apr, 2006 08:58:35

For me, it's

(1) The Devil Rides Out

(2) Strange Conflict

(3) They Used Dark Forces

(4) The Satanist

(5) Traitor's Gate

Note the strong bias towards Sallust and Le Duc here, and total absence of Roger B - this is NOT a coincidence!

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Post by Jim » Sun 9 Apr, 2006 02:51:33

My favorite series is the Modern Musketeers, the Duke and his friends. I think THE DEVIL RIDES OUT was my first Wheatley, followed closely by THE FORBIDDEN TERRITORY. I didn't read THREE INQUISITIVE PEOPLE until much later, as DW books were harder to come by in the U.S. THE GOLDEN SPANIARD is tied with TDRO as my favorite in the entire sequence.

Of all DW's series, this is the only one, to date, where I've read every book. I've only read a few of the Roger Brooks, and I still need to read the two post-war Sallusts...something to look forward to.

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Fri 14 Apr, 2006 15:37:01

Strange, isn't it? but I keep saying to myself, I'm going to be different and desperately try to think of a reason why I would choose another series/title: but I have to be honest and admit that whenever I pick up a de Richleau novel, I feel as if I'm really picking up a DW classic. I do have strong contenders in the Roger Brook series and some of the short stories, but I can't in all truth put them at the top.

So, predictably:
  1. The Devil Rides Out - this is where it all started for me as a teenager looking for truths.
  2. Strange Conflict
  3. They Used Dark Forces
  4. ..onwards The Roger Brook Saga

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Post by Diamondhairdan » Sun 16 Apr, 2006 22:09:30

I would nominate Man Who Killed the King, Strange Conflict and The Golden Spaniard, but from what others have told me, and from what Mr Wheatley said himself when asked this question, his best work by a mile was The Second Seal - it has everything you could possibly want in a novel

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Sun 16 Apr, 2006 23:27:44

Welcome dh and 3 out of 4 titles that have nothing to do with the occult, very impressive! Also notice from this posting that you also appreciate Roger Brook. May I ask — as I have great difficulty picking out a single one of his titles as a favourite — what makes The Man who Killed the King so special to you?

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Post by Diamondhairdan » Mon 17 Apr, 2006 10:47:29

Well I should confess that as of yet Ive only read the first 6 RB volumes, and Ive heard that both Evil in a Mask and the Irish Witch are excellent in their own right... but The Man Who Killed the King seems to have everything that DW held dear - an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, an excellent re-telling of the height of the revolution (that I actually think unlike some of his works is relatively unbiased), a heart wrenching love story, and an unbelievably imaginative and gripping ending. It manages to deal with what is unquestionably a harrowing and often immensely depressing period of history with dignity, and allows each person of significance their own window of description - from the King to the Queen, to the Royalists, the Girodins, the Jacobins, the bloodthirsty mob, and those dignified people who were merely caught up in events without having even contributed to the chain of events. Its certainly the best of the series that I have encountered thus far, though special mention should also go the first volume, and the brilliant final chapter of Rising Storm, where Prime Minister Pitt threatens to have him deported back to Spain..

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Post by Hoyo de Monterrey » Tue 6 Jun, 2006 00:04:09

Well, as a newcomer to this site I think it's no bad thing to resurrect this thread.

As far as I am concerned, DW's best book was unquestionably The Devil Rides Out. An absolute classic.

Close behind is The Golden Spaniard - a superb page-turner of an adventure story, with an authentic historical background. My copy has disintegrated from over-reading - enough said.*

Third - The Second Seal - an excellent story woven around a gripping and factual account of the advent of World War I.

Best of the Rest - Uncharted Seas (apart from the poetry) - just great fun! "Same again, Hansie".


*PS - Has anyone got a replacement? I'm not interested in first editions, immaculate dust covers etc - I just want a hardback copy in readable condition.
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Post by Bob Rothwell » Wed 7 Jun, 2006 22:47:47

Hoyo de Monterrey - Welcome and glad to see you're not afraid to resurrect a good subject!

Do I get the impression that the Duke and his companions rate OK? Sorry to see from another of your postings that you don't rate RB, though. Is it the character or the setting that puts you off?

Re your request for for another copy of The Golden Spaniard, my database says I have a spare of the 1952 reprint in readable condition with a poor dustjacket. Drop me a PM if you're interested.

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Post by Hoyo de Monterrey » Sat 8 Jul, 2006 00:31:48

Bob Rothwell wrote: Do I get the impression that the Duke and his companions rate OK? Sorry to see from another of your postings that you don't rate RB, though. Is it the character or the setting that puts you off?
IMO Those Modern Musketeers are Wheatley's finest creation by a long way, and they feature in most of his best stories. My own impression, incidentally, is that DW saw himself as Richard Eaton - does anyone else share that view?

As for Roger Brook, I'm quite happy with the setting/period (I'm a great fan of Patrick O'Brian) - it's just the character I can't stand.

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Post by Cibator » Sat 11 Apr, 2009 12:34:10

Hoyo: I'm curious as to why you're so "down" on Roger Brook. I have to admit he can be a bit high-handed at times (e.g. his treatment of the haughty footman in - what was it? - The Dark Secret of Josephine?), but no more so than many of his contemporaries.

Personally I find Gregory Sallust the least appealing of DW's major heroes. Certainly not someone you'd want as an enemy, and I'm not sure I'd want him as a friend either! Even the loyal Rudd has cause at one point to regret his association with the guy. And didn't he as good as blackmail Sir Pellinore in Traitors' Gate? (I don't have access to a copy, so can't check.)
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