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The Devil in Amber Paperback – Jul 1 2007

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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: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,951 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"Modesty is for amateurs"--Lucifer Box is back! July 6 2009
By Erika (Jawas Read, Too) - Published on
Format: Paperback
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
Not bad but not quite great Aug. 28 2007
By Wyvernfriend - Published on
Format: Paperback
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
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
James Bond with a limp wrist and a lacerating wit - most enjoyable. July 24 2007
By I. Sondel - Published on
Format: Paperback
Welcome to the wonderfully twisted world of bi-sexual secret agent Lucifer Box, who we first met in the deliciously droll "The Vesuvius Club."

Mark Gatiss starts his books off in the established fashion of the murder mystery. However, they soon drift into Ian Fleming territory, with the villains and situations becoming increasingly preposterous as the stories progress, sliding headlong into the supernatural, science fiction or the down-right bizarre. In this new book fascists have found a way to unbind the devil in the misguided belief that he'll grant them dominion over the Earth. Box must save the day.

What differentiates these novels is the uniquely absurd sensibility of their author (a frequent contributor to the world of "Dr. Who" - writing both series episodes and novels). Lucifer Box is a marvelous creation, and Gatiss obviously revels in his characters adventures and exploits, which are detailed and punctuated with wry, often sexual humor. Additionally, the author delights us with a cast of supporting players with names such as Jocelyn Poop, Everard Supple, Bella Pok, Pandora Box, Sal Volatile, Olympus Mons and Charlie Jackpot. However, as full of fun as both books are, they are models of suspense and mystery.

If I liked the first book more, it is for one reason only - I love that it was set in the Edwardian era. This second book is set in the late 1920's, and the third book, "Clawhammer" (which is to be published in February), is set in the 1950's - I can't wait!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lucifer Box is a fast-paced gayblade. Jan. 6 2008
By Bachelier - Published on
Format: Paperback
"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.