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The Devil in Amber [Paperback]

Mark Gatiss

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Book Description

July 1 2007
At last! LUCIFER BOX, His Majesty's most daring - and depraved - secret agent returns in a mystery set some twenty years after the scandalous events of the bestselling THE VESUVIUS CLUB. This time he faces treachery within his own service and a fascist messiah with a peculiarly Satanic design.
Lucifer Box - the gorgeous butterfly of King Bertie's reign, portraitist, dandy and terribly good secret agent - is feeling his age. Assigned to observe the activities of fascist leader Olympus Mons and his fanatical Amber Shirts in a snow-bound 1920s New York, Box finds himself framed for a vicious murder.
Using all his native cunning, Box escapes aboard a vessel bound for England armed only with a Broadway midget's suitcase and a string of unanswered questions. What lies hidden in the bleak Norfolk convent of St Bede? What is 'the lamb' that Olympus Mons searches for in his bid for world domination? And what has all this to do with a medieval prayer intended to summon the Devil himself?
From the glittering sophistication of Art Deco Manhattan to the eerie Norfolk coast and the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland The Devil in Amber takes us on a thrilling ride that pits Lucifer Box against the most lethal adversary of his career : the Prince of Darkness himself.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; 1 edition (July 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743483804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743483803
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #166,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the 1920s, British author Gatiss's second novel (after The Vesuvius Club), an awkward mix of P.G. Wodehouse and Seabury Quinn, finds English spy Lucifer Box targeted both by his country's foes and by rivals within the British secret service. After an assignment in New York almost costs him his life, Box comes across a mysterious parchment that appears to be of interest to a megalomaniacal fascist leader, Olympus Mons, who heads an international band named F.A.U.S.T., an acronym for the Fascist Anglo-United States Trinity. Box's chance discovery that his sister, Pandora, has become part of Mons's inner circle provides him with an in, leading him back across the Atlantic, and in and out of a variety of sexual encounters. The light-hearted action sequences don't quite mesh with a supernatural element involving the devil.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"Darkly erudite and fiendishly unputdownable -- Lucifer Box is the most likable scoundrel since Flashman."-- Jasper Fforde, author of "The Big Over Easy" and "The Eyre Affair"

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Modesty is for amateurs"--Lucifer Box is back! July 6 2009
By Erika (Jawas Read, Too) - Published on
Clinging to the back of car with the wind whipping through his hair, Lucifer Box returns with relish in The Devil in Amber, the second Lucifer Box novel by British writer and producer Mark Gatiss. Never one to downplay his best features or feats of wonder and derring-do, Lucifer lunges into his latest tale years, a continent away, and an entire war after his last adventure. Things at the Royal Academy of Arts have changed--head of office Joshua Reynolds is long retired and expired, his nomenclature a title of position as much as a cover for his real identity; a new Joshua Reynolds has replaced the role of a much beloved boss and bathroom-stall-occupier. Gone are the quaint quirks of the pre-war RA, taken over by starcher standards and the fresh, young blood of Percy--Perce--Flarge. Everything is rubbing Lucifer the wrong way and for a man quite accustomed to his carnal and material luxuries, this simply cannot continue.

The newest incarnation of Joshua Reynolds is a no-nonsense type of man with little to no sense of humor, a penchant for the fast-paced post-war society and lifestyle, and an intense dislike for all things archaic and out-dated--Lucifer Box included. With this roadblock to navigate around, Lucifer finds himself faced with what could be--if JR has his way--his last (most secret) mission under His Majesty's Government. Fresh off his latest kill, Lucifer is sitting on what he believes to be a vital piece of evidence his young, upstart rival missed upon searching the body. With no intentions to make this public (i.e. tell JR and risk losing his trump card), Lucifer keeps the scrap to himself and listens as Joshua explains his latest job: an organization called F.A.U.S.T (Fascist Anglo-United States Tribune) spear-headed by Olympus Mons is rumored to be stirring up Fascist sympathizers on both sides of the pond. The RA needs an extra pair of eyes to investigate matters; JR grudgingly extends the position to Lucifer and passes on the scheduled meeting place of a disillusioned deserter willing to talk and share all information F.A.U.S.T.

Like The Vesuvius Club, Gatiss' second installment of the Lucifer Box trilogy is witty, elegant, mysterious, dark, and above all, entertaining like you wouldn't believe. It follows a formula similar to its predecessor with all roads inevitably leading to the thunderous and frightening climax rife with drugs, sex, cult followers, the supernatural, evil beyond measure, and communion wafers. The plot unfolds marvelously to reveal a lot of wicked double-crossings, unexpected encounters, surprising revelations, and an astounding array of puns. As we follow Lucifer, hot on the trail of an American drug cartel, there is yet another mysterious and irresistible damsel to pursue, a mountain to climb (mountain, volcano--same thing), and a bit more heart as Lucifer has more than just his reputation on the line. His sister, Pandora, plays a leading role opposite her brother and with this stroll into his past, the evasive Lucifer gains a bit more dimension.

I enjoyed The Devil in Amber more than The Vesuvius Club for a couple of reasons. Lucifer, in his middle age, has developed a bit of an emotional attachment to several people. The superficial (albeit lovable) rogue invites the reader into his psyche for some memorable (but brief), touching, and very human moments. Some of which are when we learn (through Lucifer) the fate of fellows like Christopher Miracle, the former Joshua Reynolds, and Charlie Jackpot. The added drama of Lucifer's threatened standing within the RA made me root for him and all his silliness against the roaring upstarts of Percy and the new JR.

This second installment seems to prepare us for what will be the third and last (unfortunately) Lucifer Box novel. The Devil in Amber is our warning shot with cautionary dramatic interludes that must inevitably prepare us to say goodbye to our well-dressed and well-groomed portraitist. Even portraiture is in danger of disappearing! But before I dissolve into a puddle of despair I need to remind myself that this isn't the end just yet. The Black Butterfly is still on my shelf and next in line to read. Lucifer is a constant performer, a lethal and handsome combination that I'm sure will make for an explosive finale--or at least, a devilishly good-looking one. I whole-heartedly recommend this one!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not quite great Aug. 28 2007
By Wyvernfriend - Published on
This sequel to the Vesuvius Club is almost a 4* book but not quite. And that seems to be the running theme with this book, it's almost a great read but not quite, the thrills are there but they're not quite thrilling.

Sometimes the laughs appear to be more forced than real but some moments shine through and are quite touching. Yes he's a cad and will do anything to get the job done or get his end away but at the same time the lonliness of his situation is quite touching.

Fun but nothing great.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent sequel Dec 11 2008
By J.G. Williams - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved the Vesuvius Club, however, I thought that objectively, the Devil in Amber was a much stronger piece of writing. The story held together well, the humor was still fresh, and I liked that Lucifer Box was given some human frailties.

However, I must strongly protest the treatment of Charlie Jackpot. I'll not spoil it for those who haven't read the book yet, but Mr. Gatiss, I'm ever so disappointed.

That being said, it really is a top notch story, and well worth the price of admission.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lucifer Box is a fast-paced gayblade. Jan. 6 2008
By Bachelier - Published on
"Devil in Amber" is a "boys own ripping tails" of a metro-sexual spy yarn. Lush with detail, the prose reminds you of a set dresser for the "Poirot" series on "Mystery!" with art deco detail in each paragraph.

And hero Lucifer Box does jump on every Page.

The aptly named Box is always probing while he slams into this meaty tail, heading off and rogering in on exotic danger as he leaves a trail of tears in pillows when he gives `em the bum's rush. There is pan-Atlantic conspiracy between the occult and Fascists, and there is so much aesthetic detail to describe we are almost left breathless sucking every drop in. But Box is is never one to Miss Adventure, and he sheathes his sword long enough to globe hop, but always manages to catch someBODY's violet or green eyes or notice their jawline.

Critic and author Stephen Fry cries for more, and while there are plenty of hard passages, nothing is boiled except boiling over passion. As in passion fruit.

I enjoyed it okay, but it the joke got tired after a while.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll Root For Lucifer Aug. 11 2007
By EddieLove - Published on
Enthusiastically bisexual British spy takes on fascists and Satan on two continents in the 20s. There's some amusing repartee and the author spends admirable detail on a number of thrilling action set pieces. Unfortunately, the excess of grotesque female characters does distract from some of the fun.

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