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Editorial Reviews

"A thrilling story of espionage, murder and the creation of the Secret Service." (Charles Cumming, author of A Colder War)
"H.B. Lyle has found the golden thread between Bond and Holmes in a thriller which engages on every page." (Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland)
"A fine first entry in what promises to be a great new series. Wiggins is a captivating hero, and Lyle draws his Edwardian backstreets in convincing colour. The game is most definitely afoot." (Mick Herron)

Publisher's Summary

As a boy, he spied for Sherlock Holmes. As a man, he must save the empire.

London, 1909: the British Empire seems invulnerable. But Captain Vernon Kell, head of counterintelligence at the War Office, knows better.

In Russia, revolution; in Germany, an arms race; in London, the streets are alive with foreign terrorists. Kell wants to set up a Secret Service, but to convince his political masters, he needs proof of a threat - and to find that, he needs an agent he can trust. The playing fields of Eton may produce good officers but not men who can work undercover in a munitions factory that appears to be leaking secrets to the Germans. Kell needs Wiggins.

Trained as a child by Kell's old friend Sherlock Holmes - he led a gang of urchin investigators known as the Baker Street Irregulars - Wiggins is an ex-soldier with an expert line in deduction and the cunning of a born street fighter. 'The best,' says Holmes. Wiggins turns down the job - he 'don't do official'. But when his best friend is killed by Russian anarchists, Wiggins sees that the role of secret agent could take him towards his sworn revenge.

Tracking the Russian gang, Wiggins meets a mysterious beauty called Bela, who saves his life. Working for Kell, he begins to unravel a conspiracy that reaches far beyond the munitions factory.

Fast paced, action packed, full of twists and violent, sometimes poignant shocks, The Irregular: A Different Class of Spy marks the arrival of a brilliant new writer.

©2017 H. B. Lyle (P)2017 Hodder & Stoughton

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  • Overall
  • Samie
  • 09-10-17

Old friends and new

A newspaper recommendation lead me to a most enjoyable few hours. A short but interesting story with friends, old and new, splashed through. I sincerely hope that this is not the last I've heard of Wiggins. Great narration helped bring things to life.

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  • Anony Mouse
  • 09-05-17

Mediocre - didn't grip me

The story had promise but I didn't find it held my attention. The ending was predictable and the denouement stretched for too long.

Performance was ok but not special. Rather more of a book narrator than a character actor.

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  • ickledixie
  • 06-29-17

Best detective novel I've read in a long time

This novel was so well written, it was a pacey and multi layered story that kept my interest the whole way through. The link to Sherlock Holmes was really well done and I also loved the descriptions on London in the early 1900's. My only criticism was that I wished Bella was voiced by a woman but other than that fantastic narration, will be recommending to everyone I know