Alluring and Lethal - Livres de Mois
In September's Livres du Mois we explore the alluring and lethal, from two brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who try to play god, to the moral grey area occupied by an artist, dandy, rake... and deadly secret agent. Individuals who will draw you in with their alluring depth but with often lethal consequences.
We will start with a trilogy by Mark Gatiss which coincidently is the first LGBTQ novel I ever read and true to my early words it did indeed have "consequences" but luckily not lethal ones, on this occasion at least. The battering my finances take on maintaining the elegance instilled in me from the books however is a very different story.
The Vesuvius Club
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.
The Devil in Amber
Lucifer Box - the gorgeous butterfly of King Bertie's reign, portraitist, dandy 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 Olympus Mons searches for in his bid for world domination? And what has all this to do with a medieval prayer intended to summon the Devil?
From the glittering sophistication of Art Deco Manhattan to the eerie Norfolk coast and the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland The Devil in Amber takes us on a thrilling ride that pits Lucifer Box against the most lethal adversary of his career : the Prince of Darkness himself.
Knave. Joker. Queen. Lucifer Box is back! The hero of The Vesuvius Club and The Devil in Amber returns with an artistic licence to kill, and the deadliest mission of his career. A new Queen has been crowned, an old enemy has resurfaced and the world is about to be embraced by the lethal wings of the Black Butterfly. . . .
He's tall, he's dark and, like the shark, he looks for trouble. Or so he wishes. For, with Queen Elizabeth newly established on her throne, the now elderly secret agent is reaching the end of his scandalous career. Despite his fast-approaching retirement, however, queer events leave Box unable to resist investigating one last case . . . . "Why have pillars of the Establishment started dying in reckless accidents? Who are the deadly paymasters of enigmatic assassin Kingdom Kum? And who . . . or what . . . is the mysterious Black Butterfly?
From the seedy streets of Soho to the souks of Istanbul and the sun-drenched shores of Jamaica, Box must use his talents to confront and kill an enemy with its roots in his own notorious past. Can Lucifer Box save the day before the dying of the light?
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in one another. A shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death-experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. They become EOs, ExtraOrdinaries, leaving a body in their wake and turning on each other.
Ten years later Victor has escaped from prison and is determined to get his revenge on the man who put him there, aided by a young girl with the ability to raise the dead. Eli has spent the years hunting down and killing every EO he can find, convinced that they are a crime against God, all except his sidekick, a woman whose power is persuasion and whom he cannot defy. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the arch-nemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
A super-powered collision of extraordinary minds and vengeful intentions—V. E. Schwab returns with the thrilling follow-up to Vicious.
Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.
But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her newfound power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes to get revenge on her mobster husband and all those who wronged her, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.
“How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?”
Whether it was the dark and dangerous dandy or the mob wife with an inextinguishable desire for revenge, I hope someone lured you in. If not there are less lethal books in The Library where you may find something not quite as perilous and a little more civilised.