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Incidentally Pussy, which Sallust novels would you recommend for first-timers?
A terrific series!
De Richleau and his crew of stalwart friends tangle with the likes of Spanish anarchists, Serbian terrorists, the Soviet NKVD, fascists and Marxists (Spanish Civil War), the German Abwehr and Gestapo, etc.
PussyNoMore would go with ‘Contraband’ because it’s fun to see the marked similarities with ‘Casino Royale’.
Second up would be ‘The Scarlet Imposter’ because apart from being a great book (it’s the novel that gives Sallust his number - Secret Agent No.1) it also serves as an important work from a historical perspective. Published on January 7 1940 it is probably the first spy novel to be set during the Second World War.
Having reflected on Dun’s work, The Pussy is firmly of the opinion that the two biggest influences on Fleming and his creation of Bond were undoubtedly Wheatley with Sallust and Jean Bruce with OSS117 and it is deeply ironic that neither get a mention from either of Fleming’s official biographers.
CraterGuns speaks wise words !
The de Richleau series represent a smorgasbord of swashbuckling stories.
Albeit, the good Duke was much more involved in the occult than in espionage and probably had no influence on Bond.
PussyNoMore salutes CraterGuns’ good taste.
In all of them, however, there is quite a good deal of (interesting) travelogue info, and frequent passages about what the characters are drinking, smoking, and eating for breakfast/dinner in the various locales...
Mais oui some of the Duke’s adventures can certainly be classed as straight thrillers but the most famous, ‘The Devil Rides Out’, along with ‘Gateway To Hell’ and ‘Strange Conflict’ are very much occult tales.
Moreover, the makeup of the Duke’s character - down to his eyebrows - had something of the occultist about him. Certainly he was no model for Bond.
Your comments about locations and lifestyle details are spot on.
I've only read The Devil Rides Out, To The Devil a Daughter and The Ka of Gifford Hillary
I will definitely seek out the Gregory Sallust books now though.
I have just ordered A Spy Is Born from Amazon. Thanks for the recommendation.
Apparently, the 11-book series breaks down thusly:
Adventure/Espionage - 7
Occult/Supernatural - 3
Mystery/Crime - 1
The similarities between Wheatley and Fleming are marked albeit Pussy agrees completely with Duns’ appreciation that Fleming was the better writer whilst Wheatley was the superior plotter.
They were certainly two great storytellers and it’s sad that Wheatley is all but forgotten.
Just writing this provokes a desire to revisit Sallust. PussyNoMore thinks he’ll revisit ‘The Scarlet Imposter’ .
I've just ordered 'The White Witch Of The South Seas' off of a used book website.
I know it's the last Sallust book but it's the best price i could find out of the series.
The Wheatley e-books I’ve purchased for my Kindle are published by Bloomsbury Reader and cost around $5.
Pussy uses them a lot and can heartily recommend their services.
If anyone is interested I started a discussion thread here on Dennis Wheatley's books over five years ago. Feel free to contribute reviews, recommendations or just general discussion there:
That's where I got it from @PussyNoMore !!!!
I use Abebooks a lot and have got some real bargains. I recommend them as well.
The Pussy particularly likes the ‘Arrow’ paperback Wheatley editions. The cover art was exceptional and the ‘Luger’ motif was great branding.
And a few years earlier, in the 1964 novel They Used Dark Forces, Wheatley pretty much pulls out all the stops, roping in some of his Black Magic tropes for good measure. Sallust ends up infiltrating Hitler’s bunker during the final days of the Reich, and the result is like sticking 007 into Downfall.
Great analogy about ‘They Used Dark Forces’
“Like sticking 007 in Downfall “ indeed !
Literary aficionados, Revelator brings important news.
Duns’ essay is fascinating and is compulsory reading for any self respecting Fleming aficionado.
The Pussy thinks it deserves its own post but doesn’t want to steal the Revelator’s thunder.
The same applies to Wheatley and even poor old Captain WE Johns, who as writers certainly have their faults, but also considerable virtues. As Wheatley himself acknowledged, his prose may not have been too hot, but he knew how to spin a yarn. And it does Johns a disservice to dismiss his Biggles books as cringe-inducingly dated odes to “Tally-ho, chaps!” jingoism.
PussyNoMore couldn’t agree with you more and we must all act to prevent the arts becoming the home of homogeneous righteousness!