To have dedicated this book to Alexandre Dumas Pere was no major surprise. DW was one of his favourite author’s. As a result he modelled many of his own heroes on Dumas heroes.
The Satanist was based on one of Dumas’ short stories (The Corsican Brothers) which gave him the idea of using identical twins as two of the principal character’s in the book.
Colonel Verney & Inspector Thompson of the special branch were discussing the details of a photograph that had come into their possession. The photograph was of a dead man. His name was Teddy Morden.
His throat had been slit from ear to ear.
“The Devil’s behind this” said Colonel Verney. “I’m convinced of it”! “Several devil’s, if you ask me sir” replied Inspector Thompson of the Special Branch.
Teddy Morden had been one of Colonel Verney’s young special branch men.
“I didn’t say, “a devil” but “the Devil” – Lucifer, Satan, or whatever term you wish to use.
Thompson had just handed Colonel Verney the report on the case. No obvious clues to the murder had been found so far, but the thought’s were that Morden had been watching a group of Communist saboteurs and that they had rumbled him and “knocked him off”. (As used to be said in those days).
How that fitted in with the Devil he really wasn’t sure (and now he probably never would).
At that point Colonel Verney’s new man (Barney Sullivan) had arrived to replace the deceased Morden.
Barney, who was 28 years old and carried the title of Lord Larne would now directly report to Colonel Verney, who was affectionately known as Conky Bill or CB due to a rather large nose.
CB also had a slight stoop.
CB had gained experience of secret societies that practiced Black Magic, which is what he believed he had here. (See – To the Devil, a daughter). In fact in his own mind he was sure that Morden had been the victim of a ritual murder. He had been crucified upside down.
Barney was also tasked with finding out as much as he could regarding the hold that communism still had on the Labour government. This would include finding out the methods used by the communists to become officials in the union’s, about rigged elections and where the money comes from to finance unofficial strikes.
Tom Ruddy was the senior unionist man soon to be up for the role of the Secretary General role. He was one of the quality men in the organisation and anti communist.
Mary Morden, (Teddy’s widow), pays a visit to CB’s Chelsea flat. She is 23, very pretty and wants to join forces with CB to find out what had really happened to her husband.
She is aware that he was gaining an interest in Spiritulism and believed that he had got involved with a Black Magic Circle.
She is prepared to find Teddy’s killers and tells CB that she will adopt a new name and address in the process.
CB wonders if he should tell Barney of what she is proposing to do. He decides not to and as time goes on he seriously regrets his decision.
Squadron Leader Dick Forsby and CB were old friends .
Dick was telling CB that one of his scientists had gone a little ‘off the rails’
His name is Otto Khune (He is of German extraction but was born in Chicago). His specialty is fuels.
His colleagues have been worried about his mental state. They say that for short periods he talks and behaves as though he were a totally different person.
Forsby asks CB if he has read the book, “The three faces of Eve”. It’s a story of ‘Split personality’
Forsby shows CB a document written by’ Khune’
It states, that he (Otto) and Lothar were identical twins (both physically and mentally). There was also a highly developed psychic link between them. During the war, Otto sided with the USA and Lothar had become very pro-German.
CB tells Forsby to keep an eye on them.
Barney’s subsequent investigations led him to a local parson that Mary Morden knew. The parson told Barney that Teddy Morden had become something of a Theosophist. The parson also gave the name of the woman that ran the group . It was a Mrs Wardeel who resides at 204, Barkston Gardens, London, S.W.5.
Mary, from this point decided to use the pseudonym of Margot Mauriac whilst she was investigating Teddy’s death.
Barney similarly decided to use his other legitimate but rarely used title of Lord Larne.
Margot made the first trip to Mrs Wardeels and managed to make a useful contact by the name of Ratnadatta, an Indian man. He suggested that she had the abilities to progress to another circle of much higher powered occultists.
Margot and Barney also meet each other at the house and they agree to meet for dinner at the Hungaria restaurant. The meal goes reasonably well but Barney believes that Ratnadatta is trying to seduce her using the Occult as a cover.
Ratnadatta asks her officially to join his Black Magic Circle. She knows what this may entail but she is so prepared to find out the truth of Teddy’s death that she is prepared to do virtually anything!!
At her first visit to Ratnadatta’s lodge, she is driven there whilst blindfolded. Once inside she is shown through the lavish fittings which were lit by a sparkling crystal chandelier that hung from the centre of its ceiling, the cornices were gilded, the furniture was the finest Chippendale.
Down in the hall some twenty people were already assembled and were being joined by others.
They were coming in by a door that Mary could not see, as it was below the balcony in which they were sitting. Everyone present was wearing a small black satin mask, a narrow black velvet garter below the left knee and silver sandals, but little else. They had on only long cloaks of transparent veiling, sparsely decorated with silver suns, moons or signs of the zodiac.
The congregation below was spread about upon the divans in front of the altar with an air of expectancy. The curtains opened and before them was a unusual looking man. He was tall and Slim. His body was encased in black tights from shoulder to wrists and ankles. Around his waist, he wore a loose, narrow belt which was encrusted with precious stones. He wore a necklace of large pearls and rubies; on his left knee was a garter of shimmering priceless emeralds. He wore a mask with slit eyes and the great curling horns of a Ram.
The ‘Great Ram’ as he was known amongst his followers was available to grant their wishes. “Tell me your desires” he said.
They all launched themselves at him at the same time.
“Stop, remain still”. He pointed a finger at an elderly woman. “What do you want?” My sight, master, it is almost gone and the specialists can do nothing for me. The Great Ram restores her sight!! Many others have their wishes granted which include various ailments including lung and heart complaints, and so, it went on, cures and favours being given to all. (if only the NHS could utilise him!!)
Lothar, who was now in London had started to send messages to Otto. They meet up with each other and Lothar does all in his power to get Otto to join him in Russia. Otto refuses as he dislikes the communist way of life. Lothar is furious and impersonates his brother and ends up sleeping with his brother’s wife purely out of spite. There was such a furore at what has happened that Otto’s wife divorces him. Otto is convinced that if he met Lothar again, he would kill him.
Mary (alias Margot) proceeds to go through with her ordeal. She is now a Neophyte and on the first rungs of Satanism.
Barney (Lord Larne) tells CB that he has in the meantime managed to locate the venue at which Ratnadatta took Mary. He followed her by car and taxi and then waited in Cremorne Gardens to see who arrives.
CB tells Barney that he has received a report from Squadron leader Forsby from the Long Range Rocket experimental Station in Wales.
It said that Otto appeared to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown . He had been having terrible nightmares and so they installed a tape recorder in the Scientists bedroom. It emerged that Lothar was proposing a clandestine exchange of secret information about the latest rocket fuels at a house with relevant directions.
Barney realised immediately that this house was the Georgian mansion in Cremorne Gardens.
Barney tries to convince Mary not to go to any more meetings. However, Mary needs to go to find out what happened to Teddy.
When Ratnadatta comes to call for her for the next meeting she realises that Ratnadatta was wearing a pair of unique hand-made shoes with a scratch on the toe. They had belonged to Teddy.
When they get to the next meeting, Mary prepares herself to become initiated to the Satanists....In the temple she will be known as Circe.
She is helped into her garments by other female members of the Temple.
One of the uninvited brethren enters her bedroom – his Temple name is Abaddon. He tells Mary that this night is Walpurgis night, the greatest Satanic feast in the whole year. He becomes infatuated by her looks and instead of waiting for the official ceremony tries to ‘initiate’ her himself and tries to “initiate” her himself before the ceremony has even started!!
After a fight she manages to fend him off.
Another (female) member of the Temple who takes the name of ‘Pope Honorius’ then tries to explain what will occur during the forthcoming ceremony. (The name Pope Honorius in real life was the author of the ‘The Clavicule of Solomon’ and Le Grimoire, the most profound works of the secret art ever produced”. ) http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Complete-Grimoire-Pope-Honorius/dp/1905297661
Then, if things weren’t bad enough, in comes Ratnadatta who also tries it on with her prior to the ceremony. She, however is fortunate that one of the other members had heard the noise of the fight from outside the door.
It was an American Air Force man (another member of the Temple) who also instantly takes a liking to Mary. He flattens Ratnadatta and takes Mary away from the temple and to his Air force base near Cambridge.
Otto informs Forsby, CB & Barney that Lothar is the’Big Ram’.
Lothar has in the meantime made off with the drums of fuel he needs to fulfil his plan of setting off a massive nuclear bomb.
Tom Ruddy has also been found to be with the Black Magic group and as such is forced to stand down from the elections. A photograph also appears of Tom in bed with Mary Morden!! Faked!!?
CB then lets Barney know that she was a prostitute in an earlier life so he should not be quite so adamant of her purity. CB backs up the story line of her need to earn money on the streets but her situation has now changed. Barney still thinks far too much of her to let her go.....but could an ex prostitute really become the next Countess of Larne??
Barney intercepts Ratnadatta at Cremorne and he tells him that an American Colonel has taken her to his air force base at Fulgoham, Cambridgeshire. His name is Henrik George Washington (or Wash for short). Barney heads to the Air force base and after looking through one of the windows manages to get himself knocked out by one of Wash’s men.
Wash and Mary are now living in a reasonably comfortable accommodation. Mary has agreed to go along with being his woman as she can’t do much else. She tried to escape on one occasion and was severely punished by ‘Wash! .
Wash also tells her how easy it is to pick up fresh human blood to be used at any Sabbat He tells her that he can pick someone up from a poor black family for . Mary is astonished at the ease at which it can be done, but she has to go along with him to maintain her position in the temple.
Wash goes onto say that the last sacrifice was of a guy who turned out to be a police spy. He was found out to be taking photo’s of the Temple. The date tallied perfectly with the description. He was talking of Teddy.
Wash continues to tell her more of what the initiation would entail unaware that Mary had set the tape on record.
At that point one of Wash’s men rushes in to tell him that they had found a ‘snooper’ in the grounds. Barney explains that he is a friend of Marys and as she had disappeared suddenly tried to find her.
Mary steps in to tell Wash that Barney had adopted the Satanic name of ‘Dr Dee’.
The Great Ram appears at the scene and he agrees to initiate both Mary and Barney.
They all head off to the Esbat. (What’s the difference between an Esbat and a Sabbat??? I hear you all ask!!!) - ‘See Snippets below’
Wash tells Mary that the Great Ram has discovered that ‘Doctor Dee’
(Barney) is a police spy. The plan now is to use Barney as the sacrifice for the ceremony. It will also provide the blood sacrifice to baptise Mary.
The ceremony begins in the abbey and Mary, in a last ditch effort to save Barney pulls out a crucifix from her bag and throws it with all her might at the Great Ram. It strikes him in the arm. There is a blinding flash and he falls back against the altar. The abbey collapses and it is plunged into darkness.
During the furore Mary throws a packet to Barney and tells him to get it back to the Police as soon as possible. It is vitally important.
When the lights went out, The Great Ram, Wash and Mary head back to the Air force Base and immediately head off in their plane complete with the rocket fuel. Wash tells Mary that they are not coming back.
Barney meanwhile had been staggering around blindly following the cross throwing incident. He had been knocking on doors asking to use a phone and eventually knocks on the door of the local vicar to contact the police. The Police arrive and drive him to the Abbey and then to CB’s office in London the next morning.
It was soon discovered that Wash & the great Ram had fled the country with a nuclear war head as well as the fuel.
Otto is certain that they are heading to a cave in Switzerland.
Barney does as Mary requests and delivers the tape spool.
All the necessary personnel are flown over to Geneva and then onto Police headquarters in Berne including CB, Verney, Colonel Richter from the USAF as well as high ranking police chiefs.
Otto was sure it was a mountain but which one. He then came up with the idea of drawing the picture from his thoughts and circulating it to as many police stations as possible. The plan worked as somebody recognised it. They believed it was the ‘The Finsteraarhorn. http://www.swissrockguides.com/finsteraarhorn.htm
The relevant forces were ready to start getting men to the high ledge of the mountain. Firstly they headed for the cable car but as soon as the cable car door shuts it detonates the explosive device. All occupants are killed.
This was a terrible blow all round, as apart from the deaths of the troops and the cable car being out of action there was only a relatively short amount of time until the warhead was due to be launched at midday. It was beginning to look impossible.
The Grand Ram begins to realise that Mary was trying to manipulate Wash into changing his ideas of setting off the bomb.
To prevent any further treachery he imprisons them both in their cabins with an Occult barrier so that they can’t escape. Mary, however, wonders whether or not the barrier extends beyond the doorway of the cabin or the wooden roof. Using a bread knife they managed to cut a small hole in one of the planks. They were then able to break the plank and get through the gap. (Apparently the Great Ram wasn’t able to hear the noise made by this procedure.!!!)
Wash creeps up on the Ram but the Ram was able to drop to his knee’s just before the shot was fired. The Great Ram’s body then becomes obscured by black smoke. Within seconds the smoke solidifies into a Black Imp. In two bound’s the creature was upon him. It seemed to dissolve and streak into Wash’s mouth. He was on fire inside, he emitted one long drawn scream and then crashed face downward on the floor.
The Ram then commands Mary to step to the edge of the cave.....below her was a one thousand foot drop. She flexes her knees, throws up her arms and with a wild cry falls forward into space.
By this time Verney’s team had been climbing upwards at a rapid rate and were getting close to the mountains ledge. The men looked up to the ledge and they saw Mary throw herself forward.
Mary fell but at a sideways lurch and fell at the base of a steel pylon. The piled up snow by the pylon prevented her death. As it was, she escaped with a broken arm and broken ribs.
Barney then takes a huge risk by swinging across a gaping chasm in order to get to Mary. Despite the real danger he manages to get to her and secure her whilst the remaining team carry on to stop the rocket launch.
Otto Khune died a hero’s death.
In order to stop his brother Lothar detonating the bomb Otto shot himself in the heart and by his death he caused Lothar to have a heart attack.
Lord and Lady Larne lived happily ever after. (I made that bit up!!!!)
The Sleeve notes of the book state,
“For originality and ingenuity of plot, scene after scene of tense excitement, and it’s brilliant climax, The Satanist
Would prove hard to equal. In our view (Hutchinson) it surpasses even The Devil Rides Out and, like it, will become a classic of occult fiction.
Page 10 Arrow Paperback - The ‘Stoop’ as mentioned earlier has appeared in five books of DW’s so far. (Bearing in mind that I have only reviewed up to 1960 so far!!)
The most famous ‘stooper’ would have to be Simon Aaron named many times including,
The Devil Rides Out.
To the Devil a Daughter
Curtain of Fear
Codeword – Golden Fleece
And probably more.
The person who was based on this character was attributed to Sir Reginald Hoare KCMG .
In fact DW dedicated his book, ‘Codeword – Golden Fleece to Sir Reginald; the dedcation read;
With my most grateful memories of those days when, as our dear “Ambassador” in a nameless State, he lightened many difficult hours for myself and my colleagues by his imperturbable good humour and most enchanting wit.
And finally, did you know that another gothic book with the same title, The Satanist, was published by a Mrs Hugh Fraser (1864-1925).
It not only had the same book title but was also published by Hutchinson in 1912. Some 48 years before the Wheatley book.
“Mrs Fraser, along with several other stories of the same period set the standards for today's occult fiction and can be seen mirrored in the tales of August Derleth, & Dennis Wheatley.”
Page 10 - CB had grey eyes.
Page 180 - The only Cremorne shown in the London A-Z is Cremorne Road or Cremorne Estate in SW10. This is the location of the Georgian mansion in which Mary was initiated.
Barkston Gardens is the location of Mrs Wardeels house.
The distance between the two houses is just over one mile in a straight line. What was special to DW in this area?
Page 363 – 368 - Wash and Mary discuss the likelihood of a Third World War. (Some things never change!!)
Page – 387 They all head off to the Esbat.
Esbat’s are the celebration of the 13 full moons that occur every year. The Esbats are lunar and represent the Goddess at her height of power. Therefore full moon is considered the most potent/powerful time of the month.
There are 8 Sabbat’s that make up the Wheel of the Year. The Sabbats are solar, seasonal and represent the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth of the God. The Sabbats are Samhain(Oct 31st), Yule (Dec 21), Imbolc (Feb 2nd), Ostara (March 21st or around that time), Beltain (May 1st), Litha (June 21st), Lughnasadh (August 1st), and Mabon ( Sep 21st)
So if you have a full moon on a Sabbat I assume it is an Esbat AND a Sabbat.