Meet Lucifer Box: Equal parts James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, with a twist of Monty Python and a dash of Austin Powers, Lucifer has a charming countenance and rapier wit that make him the guest all hostesses must have. And most do. But few of his conquests know that Lucifer is also His Majesty's most daring secret agent, at home in both London's Imperial grandeur and in its underworld of despicable vice. So when Britain's most prominent scientists begin turning up dead, there is only one man his country can turn to for help. Following a dinnertime assassination, Lucifer is dispatched to uncover the whereabouts of missing agent Jocelyn Poop. Along the way he will give art lessons, be attacked by a poisonous centipede, bed a few choice specimens, and travel to Italy on business and pleasure. Aided by his henchwoman Delilah; the beautiful, mysterious, and Dutch Miss Bella Pok; his boss, a dwarf who takes meetings in a lavatory; grizzled vulcanologist Emmanuel Quibble; and the impertinent, delicious, right-hand-boy Charlie Jackpot, Lucifer Box deduces and seduces his way from his elegant townhouse at Number 9 Downing Street (somebody has to live there) to the ruined city of Pompeii, to infiltrate a highly dangerous secret society that may hold the fate of the world in its clawlike grip--the Vesuvius Club.
Mark Gatiss writes for the multiaward-winning British television comedy The League of Gentlemen, on which he portrays a debt collector, a cursed veterinarian, a dog cinema owner who has recently branched out into VHS and DVD rentals, and a Knight Rider fan, among many other characters. He also stars in the feature film The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse and has written episodes for the rejuvenated Doctor Who television series. He lives in a laboratory with a stuffed cat.
"Darkly erudite and fiendishly unputdownable -- Lucifer Box is the most likeable scoundrel since Flashman." -- Jasper Fforde, author of The Big Over Easy and The Eyre Affair
"With its quaint dust jacket and Beardsely-inspired illustrations, the book feels like a visitor from a more elegant era; it has the smell of fin de siecle about it....[Lucifer Box] belongs to a lineage which stretches from Sherlock Holmes to the indestructible James Bond, via the queasy phantasmagoria of Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu stories...But Gatiss is more than a pasticheur; he has ambitions beyond literary ventriloquism. Midway through the story, Box is revealed to be bisexual, and we feel that this is a novel which Doyle, Stevenson, and Rider Haggard would not have been allowed to write. Giddily inventive and packed with delirious incident, it suggests a post-modern project comparable to Michael Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White." -- The Times Literary Supplement (London)
"Gatiss mixes in The League of Gentlemen's penchant for horror with large doses of arch wit and louche laying about. It's Oscar Wilde crossed with H.P. Lovecraft....this could be the bit of fluff you've been looking for." -- The Telegraph (London)
"It's Gatiss's impeccable lightness of touch and huge delight in wordplay that makes this a joy. Studded with epigrams, asides, such wonderful names as Strangeways Pugg and Everard Supple, this is a wickedly written romp to put a smile on the face of anyone amused by the strange alchemy of the words 'a peculiar horror of artichokes'" -- SFX magazine (UK)
"Plenty of sly comic detail (Box lives at Number 9 Downing Street 'because someone has to') and a surrealist narrative that fans of The League of Gentlemen will recognize...kidnapped scientists, poisonous centipedes, foggy chases through London by hackney cab, and a fiendish volcano-based conspiracy that provides the big SFX climax. It's all great fun." -- Time Out (London)
"The preposterous Lucifer is an entertaining hero and The Vesuvius Club is a hugely enjoyable romp." -- Image magazine (UK)
"Self-deprecatingly subtitled A bit of Fluff...Gatiss' prose is upholstered in a rather superior grade of fluff: redolent of soft leather chairs in fine gentlemen's establishments, and the cracking of whips in the basements beneath them....Set amid the decadent fleshpots of the Edwardian demi-monde, the novel introduces the raffish toast of London society, Lucifer Box, leading portraitist of the age and undercover agent on behalf of His Majesty's government....Box works his way dandyishly through a sequence of adventures which leads him to penetrate a secret Neapolitan crime ring, plus the willing rinfs of several secretive Neapolitans....perniciously addictive piece of escapism." -- The Guardian (London)
"Lucifer Box, society darling and spy, investigates the secret Vesuvius Club. Brilliant stuff." -- Heat magazine (UK)
"In the appallingly appealing Lucifer Box, Mark Gatiss has created an anti-hero for the ages. Watching the number of chapters, then pages, dwindle, was heart-rending. No one has ever combined the seedy, the stylish, the rumbustious, the raffish, the egregious, the outrageous, the high and the low with such wit and grace." -- Stephen Fry, author of Revenge and The Liar
"Mark Gatiss has brought his customary wit and outlandish style to the page...sharp, witty and shocking." -- Derby Evening Telegraph (UK)