Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Devil in Amber - Mark Gatiss

Yes! That dashing artist/secret agent is back! Lucifer Box!

Alas...this story just doesn't hold a candle to The Vesuvius Club, which is a right shame. The first book was a great big wad of ridiculous fun. This book is in that murky region of ridiculous where it isn't quite good ridiculous, but very close to lame ridiculous.

Times are hard for Box; he's getting old, there are younger and nastier agents trying to usurp his position as The Best, and now his own agency is out to get him! What's a poor secret agent to do? Why, get the girl, uncover the secret devil-worshipping society, and save the world, of course.

Except it's not just devil worship. There's actual devil. Actual and active devil pouncing through the plot and inserting all sorts of infernal intervention when Box requires a Get Out Of Jail Free card, which shat me to tears. That's cheating. Chea. Ting. Having the devil as the great world-threatening menace also felt like cheating. No, it felt cheap.

This isn't to say the book wasn't fun. It was great rollicking promiscuous fun. It was just a bit dumb too.

Verdict: The first book is better. This one, not so better. Regardless, I won't hesitate to snap up the next when it comes. Lucifer Box is just good like that.

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