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The Devil in Amber (Lucifer Box #2)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,698 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
The fabulous Lucifer Box returns for another round of spirited, pun-heavy sleuthing in this devilishly decadent sequel to the acclaimed The Vesuvius Club.

Lucifer Box -- portraitist, dandy and terribly good secret agent -- is feeling his age. He's also more than a little anxious about an ambitious younger agent, Percy Flarge, who's snapping at his heels. Assigned to observ

Paperback, 245 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Scribner (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 21, 2010 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hugely disappointed with this book. I enjoyed its predecessor 'The Vesuvius Club' so much that I raced through it in a day and went straight onto the second in the series. Unfortunately it suffers by comparison. A lot.

What made the first book such a good read was the dry humour of the narrative style and the characterisation of the delightfully bad Lucifer Box, but both of these key features were decidedly patchy in 'The Devil in Amber'. It has moments of brilliance (who could fail to be d
James Barnard
Ah, Lucifer Box. Here, the Edwardian anti-hero who seemed so at home in the first decade of the 20th century is forced to contend with the far harsher world of the 1930s, as well as the more pressing concerns of the rise of pan-global fascism and being accused of a murder which – for once – he did not commit.

I don’t think it’s really a spoiler to say he acquits himself very well, and proves more than a match for the genuine villains of the piece. Nor should it surprise people to realise that Gat
Aug 27, 2011 Xenopheles rated it it was amazing
The second book was a long wait for me, and when we got it, I had to wait to read it! Wait through long days of my husband's exclaimations of 'You bastard!', his gasps, his laughter...and then, finally, he woke me up one afternoon and BEHOLD! It was my turn! I curled up and devoured it in a matter of days, and did the same thing.

I adore writers that can make me audibly react to their writing--Mark Gatiss joins Plum in the very short list of authors that have achieved this honour. He writes the
Oct 25, 2011 Jeffrey rated it liked it
Mark Gatiss' second go at the Lucifer Box character isn't as entertaining as the first, but provides an amusing distraction nonetheless.

Abandoning the dawn of the 20th century Edwardian trappings of Empire from The Vesuvius Club, this book finds Box in a post Great War funk. Down on his luck, art has moved on, beginning to feel his age, and challenged by a younger rival, Box is tasked by his superiors to investigate the fascist agitator Olympus Mons. But Mons has greater ambitions than the stand
Rebecca Tayles
Mar 20, 2011 Rebecca Tayles rated it liked it
Oops, didn't review this one. Perhaps because I'm still a little traumatised. Why does every side character I like end up dead??

That's not as much a spoiler as it sounds, I swear.

The second of the Lucifer Box novels is set post-Great War, making for a rather large shift in mental imagery from the last book. Lucifer, while still a marvelous dandy about town, has aged and survived a war that left many scars on him and those around him. He's also now in the US, away from his home soil of London, an
Dec 30, 2013 Mel rated it it was amazing
I came across this while looking for titles by Mark Gatiss on the library catalogue. I'd never heard of it before but I thought it sounded quite fun. It was totally Amazing! Imagine if instead of being a bit of a stuffy misogynist Dennis Wheatley had actually been a fabulous homosexual and you begin to imagine what this book is like. It is charming 20s style of pulp fighting fascists who are really occultists who want to summon the devil. The main protagonist is perfectly naturally queer, ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Alberte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh Lor'. The second book in the trilogy of Lucifer Box is mind-bogglingly fabulous. It is a perfect successor to the introductory "Vesuvius Club" and lures the reader further into the world of depraved sophisticality and superiority while making it impossible not to adore old Lucy and his sassiness.
Mark Gatiss is an incredibly talented writer and once you open the book, consider yourself a prisoner, because Lucifer will never let you go. Especially not if your behind looks fantastic in a pair o
Oct 20, 2014 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fan of Mark Gatiss since The League of Gentlemen and more recently writing/starring in Sherlock, so when I saw a book by him in a charity shop I knew I should read it. It was a good book, full of his usual witty/humurous style. Kind of like a James Bond escapade with even more double entendre (if you can imagine such a thing). It all got a bit crazy plot wise near the end which I enjoyed less but it was a good read nevertheless.
Nov 12, 2015 Apoorva rated it really liked it
Perhaps my favorite thing about the Lucifer Box series is finding Gatiss-isms, turns of phrase like 'strawberry jam on the pavement' and 'all the nice girls like a solider', which have turned up in Sherlock.
That apart, all the bisexuality is yet another reason I strongly feel John will be bi and Johnlock will be canon. Gatiss hasn't been shy about writing his Holmes-Bond character as bi, there's no reason he'd be shy about doing it on the big screen.
Steve Archer
Nov 07, 2015 Steve Archer rated it really liked it
I can't believe how long it took me to read this as it's quite short in comparison to my usual reads. However I thoroughly enjoy the writing style and the somewhat "Tiger near death" approach Box uses throughout the story.
Mi ero divertita tanto con " Il club Vesuvio" che questo mi ha un po' deluso.
L'ho trovato in alcuni tratti lento, nel complesso piuttosto banale.
Considerando la scrittura di Gatiss, non certo uno dei momenti più felici.
Mar 16, 2016 Sam rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge2016
Another brilliant book from Mark Gatiss. Very enjoyable. It seemed to go on and lacked the finesse of his first Lucifer Box novel, but was still a damned good laugh!
3,5 étoiles.
Beaucoup aimé retrouver l'écriture et le style. Pour l'intrigue en revanche, j'ai été moins séduite.
Frank Jacobs
Nov 02, 2016 Frank Jacobs rated it liked it
The missing link between the depraved slapstick of The League of Gentlemen and the successfully rejuvenated Sherlock is called Mark Gatiss – actor in and writer of both tv series.

This book by him, the second in a trilogy of retro detective novels – a thrillogy – occupies the same strange territory between low comedy and high concept.

With some success: as a pastiche of genres, characters, plots and phrases too passé to be taken seriously nowadays, it is a delightful reminder of the joys of B li
Stevyn Colgan
Nov 30, 2016 Stevyn Colgan rated it liked it
Not quite as sharply witty as the first book in the series (The Vesuvius Club) but a very fine read nonetheless. A very enjoyable romp. I'm genuinely amazed that there isn't a Lucifer Box TV series or film yet. I assume Gatiss is too busy with Sherlock and his other projects. But can't complain as I love those too :)
Maureen Hetzel
Oct 19, 2016 Maureen Hetzel rated it it was ok
Technically I finished the book in the sense I stopped reading it after many fits and starts. It just wasn't holding my attention....neither the plot nor the characters. I made it to page 120 and tossed in the towel.
May 06, 2009 Erika rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neil Cake
You'd have to call this a "romp", I think. It's pure entertainment - by which I mean there's nothing highbrow or intellectual about it, it simply is what it is; an adventure story, think Raiders of the Lost Ark meets James Bond, except James Bond is a slightly camp bisexual and Indiana Jones is the same slightly camp bisexual.

It has everything the above implies: spies, nazis, the devil, guns, kidnapping, sex, crossings and double-crossings, giant henchmen, framings, multiple escapes... even cab
Jun 02, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
The Devil in Amber by Mark Gatiss (writer and or star/co-star of “On the Town with the League of Gentlemen”, “Doctor Who”, “Psychoville”, “A History of Horror”, “Horror Europa”, “Sherlock”, “The Crimson Petal and the White”, and “Wolfhall”) is a terrific novel that continues the adventures of the decadent Edwardian dandy, artist, raconteur, wit, bon vivant and spy Lucifer Box, resident and owner of No. 9 Downing Street, who first appeared in The Vesuvius Club.

The book begins in the 1920s with a
Feb 18, 2011 Anthony rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, mystery
This is actually the second book in Gatiss' Lucifer Box series. I picked it up on the sale shelf at a Borders Express the night I saw "Stardust" and started reading it over dinner, then put it aside long enough to finish the Woolrich book reviewed above. Thankfully, like a James Bond or Dirk Pitt book, you can read the Box stories out of order (considerably easier since there are only two Box books at the moment).

Lucifer Box, "portraitist, dandy, and terribly good secret agent," narrates this st
Erin McVitty
Aug 22, 2013 Erin McVitty rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Having read 'The Vesuvius Club' I couldn't wait to get my teeth into the second installment of Lucifer Box and his thrilling adventures. Having been busy this book took me an embarrassingly long time to read, but it kept me coming back for more as any good book should. As the previous book was set in the Edwardian era (Mark was never very clear it could have been anything from 1901-1910) a different time period was an interesting change that gave way to new parts of history. 1920's New York ...more
May 17, 2007 Simon rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of pulp adventure novels, Dennis Wheatly, John Buchan
Inconsequential fluff, but fun nevertheless.

Mark Gatiss really does wear his influences on his sleeve in this one, moreso than 'the Vesuvius Club', to the point where it definitely sits more comfortably as pastiche than novel. The breathless 'man on the run' segments are lifted straight from 'The Thirty-Nine Steps' (along with the incredible volume of coincidences that power it along) and the evil cult and their ceremonies come courtesy of Dennis Wheatley. Add to that the slightly (but enderaing
Calliope Strange
Oct 30, 2011 Calliope Strange rated it it was amazing
Copied from my blog:
The Devil in Amber is the second book in the "Lucifer Box" series, but author Gatiss is deft enough with description that there's no need at all to have read the first book (it will certainly deepen the experience, though). The setting is the 1920s in New York City and the English countryside, and the plot is pure adventure spy novel with tongue very, very firmly in cheek. The main character, Lucifer Box (all the characters have similarly fantastic names) is a secret agent a
Jan 15, 2014 paul rated it it was amazing
A ripping yarn by long-time DW stalwart and (obviously, having just read the first three pages) literary renaissance man, Mark Gatiss ~ have a feeling I'll enjoy this.
In reality (and despite what Goodreads might lead you to believe to the contrary) I finished this book almost two years ago. Gobbled it up, as a matter of fact. One of the first titles I borrowed from the Keynsham branch library and plucked off the shelves solely by dint of 'author recognition', it was one of those "why not
Apr 28, 2013 Astrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 11, 2015 Anna rated it it was ok
I quite enjoyed the first installment in the Lucifer Box series, but I could not warm up to this. Maybe the novelty has worn off, maybe I was just not in the right mood.

The language was once more very engaging, but there was little to enamor me to the protagonist. He's self-absorbed (nothing new there) and incompetent, strutting through the world fancying himself a super-spy (er, THE super-spy) without, however, ever bothering to come up with a strategy or (dare I be so bold as to suggest?) payi
Dec 07, 2015 Kathleeen rated it liked it
I rarely find that I'm so torn with a rating. If a book is awful in my opinion, it is truly awful, and if it's brilliant I usually love it with a passion of a 1,000 burning suns, but The Devil in Amber as torn me in such a way. I feel like the writing from word to word was beautiful. It flowed like pure liquid poetry, but in the end (right at the last page I have to say) the writing let the book down.
It got to the point where it had built up too much too be resolved in the 4 pages that where le
May 12, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing
Fast, cheeky, engrossing, and just as amusing as the original. Lucifer Box does it again, tangled up in another supernatural mystery that requires him to save the world, with the help of some very stalwart companions.

If you're looking for a deep, complicated mystery that keeps you guessing until the last moment, the Lucifer Box novels aren't for you. If you're looking for a cheeky, witty, fast-paced thriller set between the world wars and incorporating a whole lot of British wit and wisdom (alon
Oct 04, 2010 Monika rated it it was amazing
Lucifer Box in his second, big case. He's still seducing men and women left and right, despite being in his forties now. He has changed a little, still rushing about, mind you, but the times have taken their toll on him. Not as much as his old friend Christopher Miracle has, but they've had loses in the great war and they're not the same dandies of the naughty nineties and the Edwardian era anymore.

The case itself is of a more supernatural kind and takes on a rather "Indiana Jones" like characte
Erik Moloney
Mar 15, 2014 Erik Moloney rated it really liked it
Lucifer Box - portraitist, 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 ...more
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Mark Gatiss (born 17 October 1966) is an English actor, screenwriter and novelist. He is best known as a member of the comedy team The League of Gentlemen, and has both written for and acted in the TV series Doctor Who and Sherlock.

Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Gatiss has written three episodes for the 2005-revived BBC television series Doctor Who. His first, "The Unquiet Dead", aired on 9 April 20
More about Mark Gatiss...

Other Books in the Series

Lucifer Box (3 books)
  • The Vesuvius Club (Lucifer Box, #1)
  • Black Butterfly (Lucifer Box, #3)

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“I've heard of such a legend!' I gasped. 'A child descended from a union between Christ and Mary Magdalene!'
'Don't be so fucking stupid,' snorted Mons. 'There's hundreds of those!”
“He was an American, so it seemed only fair to shoot him.” 5 likes
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