1817, England. Chief Superintendent Gregory Temple of Scotland Yard is mystified by the actions of a faceless crime leader who calls himself "John Devil" and is also known on the continent as Jean Diable and Hans Teufel. Can the world's first scientific detective use his prodigious abilities to discover the secret identity of the elusive John Devil and capture him before the madman rescues Napoleon from Saint-Helens?
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 5.8" Height: 1.5" Weight: 1.95 lbs.
Release Date Feb 28, 2005
Publisher Hollywood Comics
ISBN 1932983155 ISBN13 9781932983159
Availability 50 units. Availability accurate as of May 22, 2017 07:41.
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Reviews - What do customers think about John Devil?
A Devil of a Good Read Jun 18, 2008
John Devil is the masterpiece of 19th century French novelis Paul Feval, a contemporary and rival of Dumas and Hugo. This sprawling tale of mystery and adventure is an important historical link in the history of the detective novel and modern popular literature that introduces the first Scotland Yard detective in literature (Gregory Temple) and pits him against a criminal superman leading a vast conspiracy that would be the envy of Holmes enemy Professor Moriarity or James Bond's Ernst Stavro Blofield and SPECTRE.
The story unfolds against the background of Gregory Temple's obcession with uncovering and foiling the criminal mastermind known variously as John Devil, Jean Diable, and Hans Teufel, while this criminal genius plots to free Napolean from exile on St. Helena with a fleet of steam powered battleships which he then hopes the Emperor will command in an invasion of British India.
While John Devil is not a detective story or formal mystery, it is a crime novel and a grand adventure born out of the popular newspaper serials that gave birth to The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, Eugene Sue's The Mysteries of Paris, and Feval's oft filmed swashbuckling classic Le Bossu. John Devil anticipates many of the themes of the modern detective story such as the police procedural, the crime family, the conspiracy, the battle of the super sleuth against a super criminal, and even anticipates R. Austin Freeman's creation of the inverted detective story (a form best exploited by television's Columbo)
Most readers will willingly forgive Feval's anachronisms and at times bizarre Anglicisms -- a sort of reverse Peter Cheyney --- for this broad romantic adventure from another time with its plethora of plots, counter-plots, coincidence, mystery, terror, adventure, and sheer exuberance as it explore themes Feval himself would expand in his Black Coats novels (the first three also available from Black Coats Press, the publishers of John Devil), and which would become the foundations of not only the detective novel, but much of modern popular literature from the comics to todays best seller list.
The Black Coats edition is an attractive trade paperback adapted and translated by noted British science fiction and horror novelist and literary historian Brian Stableford, with an informative introduction, dramatis peronae, and detailed chapter to chapter annotations of his notes on the historical and other precedents of the novel. Genre historians should take note, though primarily this should appeal to readers who simply love to get lost in a book.
Whether a scholar or a reader looking for a thumping good read this is a classic deserving to be better known to English language readers; a wild untamed tale echoing The Count of Monte Cristo, Sherlock Holmes, Wilkie Collins, Dickens, The Godfather,the pulps, and Ian Fleming's James Bond. What more can a reader ask for than a thoroughgoing romp of diabolic plots, dastardly villains, and heady atmospherics, a grand once in a lifetime read worth enjoying again and again? Read John Devil by Paul Feval fils and discover what generations of readers on the continent have always known --- a lost masterpiece of popular literature.