Sunday, 29 December 2019

The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss


The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss
First published in the UK by Simon and Schuster in November 2004.

How I got this book:
Bought a paperback copy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


An Extraordinary and Death-Defying Tour of Edwardian Low Life and High Society, accompanied by our host Lucifer Box Esq - artist, dandy, rake ... and lethal secret agent.

Lucifer Box is the darling of the Edwardian belle monde - society's most fashionable portrait painter is a wit, a dandy, a rake, the guest all hostesses (and not a few hosts) must have.

But few know that Lucifer Box is also His Majesty's most accomplished and daring secret agent. Beneath London's façade of Imperial grandeur and divine aesthetes seethes an underworld of crazed anarchists, murder, and despicable vice, and Box is at home in both.

And so of course when Britain's most prominent scientists begin turning up dead, there is only one man his country can turn to.

Lucifer Box ruthlessly deduces and seduces his way from his elegant townhouse at Number 9 Downing Street (all his father left him), to private stews of London and the seediest, most colourful back alleys of Italy, in search of the mighty secret society that may hold the fate of the world in its claw-like hands - the Vesuvius Club.


This review was first blogged on Stephanie Jane in May 2014.

I first read The Vesuvius Club seven years ago and it is still my favourite steampunk novel. Our hero, Lucifer Box, is wonderfully decadent and louche, his adventures as bizarre as the improbable names of his supporting cast. Allegedly set in early twentieth century London and Naples, I know other readers have criticised the writing for historical inaccuracies, but I think they've missed the point. The Vesuvius Club isn't a extensively researched historical novel, it's a fun, dark, fantasy sci-fi spy thriller or, as Mr Gatiss claims, A Bit Of Fluff. If you're into lightly depraved escapism, this is the book for you!


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