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Forbidden Territory is the first novel written by Dennis Wheatley written in 1933, in it we are introduced to one of Wheatleys main character Duc de Richleau. The Duc is a frenchman who is in his fifties, he's debonair, intelligent, independently wealthy and always on the side of the minority or the repressed.
Int his novel we are introduced to the Duc for the first time and the author uses a tactic of introducing the main characters in a book where the Duc is looking for one of his friends Rex Van Ryn, an American. He receives a coded letter from the American and soon breaks the code. The clues take him to Russia and on the way he meets another young friend Simon Aron. Here Wheatley establishes the clique of an older man and a group of younger more physically able accolytes, the Duc is the main man but he uses the strengths and skills of his young charges where intellect fails and force is required.
The Duc and Simon soon befriend a beautiful soprano, indeed Simon does more than befriend, through her we find out the location of Rex and why he's gone missing. This being the russia of the bolsheviks, the two men are constantly watched, they get a train but manage to evade their persuers before with a heavy heart the Duc realises that negotiation will mot work and force is necessary.
Of course this book was written in the thirties and the hostility to the Russian regime is apparent through out. Wheatley uses the intellect of the French Duc as a counterfoil to the suppression by the totalitarian Russian state. Everything is better in a land free and open to business, this is the general feel of the book, the Duc is a rather imperious character and without the counterpoint of the nasty Russian state he would come across as a rather upper class snob.
The two men rescue the young man of course, and through there actions have repecussions through Russia before they manage to escape and get back to rather suprisingly civilisation in Hitlers Germany. Though the Germans don't get off lightly but the repressing state isn't explored in this novel. Indeed the views of the Russians and the Germans will of course change in Wheatleys novels, but in this the first the Russians are clearly defined as the enemy.
Wheatleys novels are chocked full of daring doing, car chases, gun fights, fist flying seat on your pants adventure stories but he's of a better qualit than the modern writers such as Wilbur Smith or Clive Cussler without perhaps creating a great literary figure such as James Bond.
This novel introduces the Duc, Ryan and Simon and they continue in the Duc de Richleau books which include the famous devil worship novels.