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The Vesuvius Club: A Lucifer Box Novel Hardcover – 1 Nov 2004

3.7 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; 1st edition (1 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739463462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743257053
  • ASIN: 0743257057
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.3 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 688,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A perniciously addictive piece of escapism' -- GUARDIAN

'If you're going to have humorous pastiche, give me this any day, with its evocations of Edwardian melodrama and derring-do' -- TIMES

'The most delicious, depraved, inventive, macabre and hilarious literary debut I can think of. More, I want more!' -- Stephen Fry

About the Author

Mark Gatiss is the author of several succesful Dr Who novels. He is perhaps best known as one of the creators, writers and stars of the hit BBC television programme, The League of Gentlemen.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've declined to give this book 5 stars for one reason; it's not long enough! Having devoured it in one sitting (pausing only briefly for the necessities of life) I find myself wanting more of Lucifer Box's adventures and wanting them NOW. A grotesquerie of characters leaps fully-formed like Athena from the page: Delilah, the indispensable domestic, Tom Bowler, the inappropriately cheerful undertaker, and Joshua Reynolds, the head of the Secret Service whose choice of office gives new meaning to 'meeting at your convenience'. Lucifer himself is arrogantly irresistible (and is it really arrogance when it's justified?) There is, of course, a fiendish plot for world domination and Lucifer finds allies and enemies in unexpected places as he attempts to foil the dastards. Sherlock Holmes was never this much fun, Harry Flashman never bettered Lucifer's savoir-vivre and Bulldog Drummond was a mere amateur in comparison. There is excitement, romance, gentleman's tailoring and, best of all, Charlie Jackpot.
N.B. Should there NOT be a sequel (nay, several) to the Vesuvius Club, I shall be contacting my MP forthwith to complain.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up 'The Vesuvius Club' purely on the strength of the quotes from Stephen Fry and the newspaper reviews on the back cover. Oscar Wilde is my favourite author and so I thought, if this is thought to be good enough for Wilde, it's good enough for me. And I was absolutely thrilled with Gatiss' debut.
I am not a fan of 'The League of Gentleman' and had never heard of Gatiss before, so I came to this novel with no preconceived ideas about its themes, characters or sense of humour (a fact, I think, that has led to many of the negative reviews on this website) and simply took the book on face value.
The hero, Lucifer Box, has a deliciously decadent voice and Gatiss successfully maintains this throughout the novel's 240 pages. I frequently found myself laughing out loud at the absurdities, profanities and bawdiness on every page, relishing the scrapes that Box and his companion Charlie find themselves in. As far as spy novels go, the story isn't that original; a megalomaniac trying to destroy the world, but the way that Gatiss approaches his subject matter is what made the novel stand out for me. Box undertakes his secret service missions with gusto, diving headfirst into perilous situations and always with a pithy aside to put down his opponent. The twists and turns keep the reader on the edge of his seat, despite the somewhat predictable ending, but the novel doesn't lose anything for this; just like Bond, the intrigue is not whether he is going to escape and save the day, but how he is going to manage it.
I wholeheartedly disagree with those who have condemned this novel for being simply "A bit of Fluff" (Gatiss' words), in my opinion it is exactly this that is the novel's strength; "a bit of fluff", yes, and all the more entertaining for it!
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Format: Hardcover
Like some of the previous reviewers, I too bought this book on impulse because of its fabulous cover,the nostalgic layout and the promise of illustrations. Not a fan of "The League of Gentlemen", I didn't immediately recognise the author's name, but it was a hardback, and half price in the sale, so this didn't matter! In my view, I got exactly what I paid for, and to look as deeply into the inaccuracies of language and period as others have seems to me to be self-indulgent and somewhat pompous. Mark Gatiss does not pretend that this is a great literary work - it is however fun, witty and ridiculous, with a comic, world-weary flavour of Wilde minus the cruelty. Personally, I look forward to more of Lucifer Box and his cute little assistant especially if the publishers retain the gorgeous packaging - the illustrations may not be perfect, but thankfully, I am sufficiently uneducated not to regard this as a major flaw. Lose your pretensions if you want to enjoy this little romp, 'cos that's exactly what it is - get over yourselves!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I'm about half way through the Kindle edition of this book and am enjoying the colourful, bizarre & playful story immensely. Unfortunately, this enjoyment is continually interrupted with lines stating:

Images are removed here.

Why is this? Bowdlerisation? Copyright issues? Cheapskate production [although the Kindle edition is about the same price as the paperback]?

Unfortunately, I purchased all 3 books in the series at once, so am even less keen to repurchase as paperbacks.

I would suggest that Amazon is obliged to post a conspicuous warning to purchasers if a Kindle edition is compromised in this fashion.

[I should add that, having checked out a sample, the iBook version is similarly compromised]
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Originally I spotted this title in it's graphic novel form, enticed, I searched Amazon and came up with the book. I read the whole thing from start to finish in one sitting and I would read it again in a heartbeat. Mystery, Sex, death, humour, and violence all wrapped with Edwardian eligance and just a hint of the surreal. A seriously entertaining read, the characters are good, the story is excellent and the writing is brilliant. A little mystery, a little romance and salted with some genuinly good action scenes. First Class.
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