The Satanist (Wheatley novel)

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The Satanist
The Satanist (Wheatley novel).jpg
British first edition cover
AuthorDennis Wheatley
Cover artistSax
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreHorror fiction, Spy fiction
Published1960, Hutchinson & Co.

The Satanist is a black magic/horror novel by Dennis Wheatley. Published in 1960, it is characterized by an anti-communist spy theme.[1] The novel was one of the popular novels of the 1960s popularizing the tabloid notion of a black mass.[2][3]

The novel follows on from To the Devil – a Daughter, a successful occult novel from January 1953, later filmed in 1976 and features from the earlier novel Colonel Verney, an anti-Soviet anti-black magic British spymaster. The plot concerns Mary Morden, a young widow, and Verney's special agent Barney Sullivan who infiltrate a satanic cult.[4] In doing so they foil a communist plot to conquer the world.

The novel presents conservative political and social views,[5] and a conservative picture of the hero's masculinity.[6]

The novel was published by Hutchinson & Co. who coincidentally had published the gothic novel of the same name by Mrs Hugh Fraser in 1912.[7]


  1. ^ Frank Northen Magill Survey of modern fantasy literature Volume 3 - 1983 p.1358 "THE SATANIST Author: Dennis Wheatley (1897-1977) First book publication: 1960 Type of work: Novel Time: The 1960's Locale: London and environs, the Swiss Alps In order to find and expose the murderers of her husband, a courageous young woman joins a satanic cult. Principal characters: Mary Morden, a young widow Barney Sullivan, a government agent "
  2. ^ Melvyn J. Willin Music, Witchcraft and the Paranormal 2005 p.146 "Montague Summers and Dennis Wheatley conveyed similar false impressions in their books such as Witchcraft and Black Magic (Summers, 1965) and The Satanist (Wheatley, 1960) ..."
  3. ^ Marshall B. Tymn Horror literature: a core collection and reference guide 1981 p.345 "Wheatley, Dennis (U.K.). The Satanist. Hutchinson, 1960; Ballantine, 1972. This novel is the story of Barney Sullivan, who indulges in satanic rites in order to penetrate a group of satanists. He is actually a secret agent who attempts to penetrate the cult after the horrifying death of one of his colleagues."
  4. ^ Neil Wilson Shadows in the attic: a guide to British supernatural Fiction, 1820-1950 Boston Spa and London, 2000 p.491 "The Satanist [by] Dennis Wheatley. London: Hutchinson of London, 1960. 447p BL: NNN.15624 A black magic spy story concerning a communist plot to conquer the world. The work is a partial sequel to Wheatley 's popular novel, To the Devil a Daughter..."
  5. ^ Neil Barron, R. Reginald Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review 2009 p.47 "I initially encountered Wheatley 's work with his 1960 novel, The Satanist, a particularly rancid blend of conservative politics and racism, and had avoided him ever since until receiving this book for review. Perhaps that was a mistake."
  6. ^ Scott McCracken Pulp: Reading Popular Fiction 1998 - Page 131 "The world-view to which it subscribes now appears laughably dated. The following passage, from the point of view of Wheatley's daring young hero, Barney Sullivan, is typical: But now? Could one possibly love a girl who had been a prostitute ...In fact, in The Satanist (where the representation of masculinity is actually more conservative than classic nineteenth century- "
  7. ^ Peter Haining A circle of witches: an anthology of Victorian witchcraft 1971 p220 "THE SATANIST Mrs Hugh Fraser Mrs Hugh Fraser (1864-1925). ... 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 and, ..."